2006 mini cooper, 5 speed manual
113 thousand miles
got it in 2010
2 previous owners
never had any previous troubles
learned how to drive stick with the car
stiff shifting, takes a lot of effort to shift to second, 3rd, and fourth, and it's very difficult to shift 5th and reverse.
--most difficult to shift diagonally--2nd to 3rd, 4th to 5th, 1st to reverse.
--whole neutral area very stiff
then, once in gear, runs just as smooth as it's always run.
no noise when shifting
has been going on for a couple of months, turning point around when I had an inexperienced manual driver drive the car--they shifted in a very jerky way.
also, hard winter up in maine, but I was always quick to shovel out the car.
Anyone have any suggestions? The manual couldn't tell us how to check the transmission fluid.