2003 Toyota Matrix XRS shifting problem

Came out this morning and after letting the car warm up, went to shift into gear and was unable to get car to go from neutral to any of the gears. If I turn the car off, shift into any gear, and then turn the car on - then I can drive in the gear that I am currently in. As soon as I shift from any gear back into neutral, it will not let me shift into another gear while the motor is running. I have looked at some troubleshooting and even called a local mechanic who was baffled by the problem. I dont’ know if it is the synchonizers, clutch control cable, or the cluctch itself…any thoughts would be great.

Hydraulic clutch??? If so then it could be the master or slave cylinder. If it’s cable clutch…then the cable could be broke.

What does the pedal feel like when you press the clutch???

I have looked at some troubleshooting and even called a local mechanic who was baffled by the problem.

Any decent mechanic should be able to diagnose this problem. Find a new mechanic.

It’s hydraulic.
Likely the master cylinder.
The brake and clutch share the same reservoir, so low fluid would turn on the brake light.
In the future get the brake/clutch fluid flushed every 3 years. All the related parts will last a lot longer.

The clutch has always been a very soft and very short clutch - so I don’t feel any appreciable difference in the working of it.

Circuit - when I put the car into gear as the car is off and then start it, the car doesn’t move until I let the clutch out after which it starts to roll forward. If the master cylinder was out wouldn’t it “jump” after starting the car in first gear and not let me slowly release clutch?

I don’t understand. Can you shift gears normally once you get started off in first? Or do you mean that if you put it in neutral at a stop light or something, then it won’t go back into gear?

The clutch could be dragging enough to interfere with shifting, yet not enough to move the car.
Lifting the front wheels off the ground could show this.

Now I remember ~30 years ago I knew someone with a 1976 Civic with this symptom.
Turned out the clutch was oil soaked from a bad crankshaft seal.