Q: Gear shifting problems

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I got this car about 3 years ago with 90,000 miles on it from a one time owner(older woman). The car hasn't really had any major issues, especially transmission issues. At the most, just replacing the starter and the usual brake changes and spark plug changes and stuff. I will also add that after about the 2nd year, the car has barely had any clutch left. Maybe about 2 inches in the pedal. Well, about 6 months ago I got in it to go to work and the shifter was really loose and for some reason I didn't have 2nd, 4th, or reverse. Only 1st, 3rd, and 5th. I sat there and kept trying to go through the gears and now I've got all gears except first and second. When I try to go into those gears it doesn't pop back out or grind or anything. It just won't go into them. I checked my trans fluid and topped it off and looked at the linkage right under the leather cover on the shifter and it seemed fine. I'm puzzled on what is going on with it. I'm hoping it's an easy fix I might be able to fix mysel

My car has 120000 miles.
My car has a manual transmission.

Your description of the situation makes it sound like there could be a combination of problems. With only having 2 inches of clutch pedal, this is an issue that might have bearing on the shifting issue, but I doubt it. Yet, it is an issue that still need to be addressed, as it could be a failing clutch, or failing master/slave cylinder assembly. Either of these by themselves can cause their own headaches. But, it sounds to me like you are probably dealing with a shifter control problem. Meaning that there is probably a problem in the shifter cable assembly, or the linkage that controls the gear changes, and is the exposed linkage on top of the transmission. If a cable has stretched, or the mounting point has become loose, it can cause the type of issues that you have described. A visual inspection, by a certified mechanic, like those available at YourMechanic.com, should be able to tell you if something in the shift linkage has stretched, or become loose. Keep in mind that it is not completely out of the question that there has been a failure inside the transmission. When a clutch is not performing as it should, it can wreak havoc on the inside of the transmission.

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