Q: What can it be, how can I prevent this, and if it happens again what needs to be fixed?

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My car was a 5-speed manual and when I would have my car in gear (lets say second) without my foot on the throttle the shifter looked like it was towards the middle of the box. But as soon as I give it some gas the shifter would slam down into the gear its in. I don't have the car anymore, but I was wondering what it was, how I can prevent it and if it happens again what I would need to change. So in my next car I know exactly what to do.
My car has a manual transmission.

Most likely your vehicle had broken motor and transmission mounts that allowed the engine and transmission move too much causing the shifter to move in excess. This can cause linkage to not align correctly and as engine shifts will move shifter to regular position.

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