Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Suddenly cannot shift car into gear.

asked by on

The other day my car made a grinding noise when trying to go into second gear from first. I stopped, turned off the car, put it into neutral and started it again. It started fine but while on I cannot put the car into any gear. If I turn the car off I can put the stick into any gear. If I start the car in gear it grinds and lurches. If I start it in reverse it grinds and lurches too. I topped off the break fluid for the clutch and it worked in first gear for about 100-150 feet but when I stop at a stop sign the car again lurches and putters out. Later I move it again. And it putters out when I got to a parking spot and pushed on the brakes. Now it is back to not wanting to go into gear while on. It also will lurch and make grinding noises of I start it in either first gear or reverse. Through out every thing I have never smelled any burning our otherwise concerning smells and there was no noticeable pop or crash before the gears stopped working. Is this my slave or master cylinder?

My car has 205479 miles.
My car has a manual transmission.

Hi there:

There could be multiple problems on your Saturn that are causing this problem you’re experiencing. If your clutch is worn it won’t allow you to put your car in gear. When you step on the clutch, the transmission disengages from the engine. This slows the insides of the transmission just enough to allow you to shift gears. When the clutch is worn, the slave cylinder doesn’t have enough travel to disengage the clutch from the engine, so it wont allow you to put it in gear. It’s also possible that you have broken a shift fork in the transmission. The shift forks are what actually move the slides inside the gear box to engage the gears when you move the shifter. The best way to determine exactly why you’re car won’t shift into gear is have a professional mobile mechanic complete a car is hard to shift inspection.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. Suddenly cannot shift car into gear.

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Security light on

From the description provided, it appears that your Saturn is experiencing a common issue that can be, in most cases, easily resolved. One trick you can try in the meantime, is to turn the key to the on position and...

Q: Idle rough when engine warm.

There are a few possible problems that could cause these symptoms. It could have a failed coolant temperature sensor, which reports the temperature of the engine to the engine control module. The engine control module uses this info to determine...

Q: Bluish exhaust smoke upon startup

With higher mileage like your vehicle has, the exhaust valve stem seals wear, allowing a tiny amount of oil to seep onto the exhaust valve while the car is sitting. When you start it up, this oil is burned up...

Related articles

How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...