2018 Toyota Corolla SE MANUAL Transmission Issues

I have the following interment problem in a 7k milage car. Interment means it will be fine for weeks or months, then happens a few times in a week. Then nothing again for weeks. The dealership has tried to replicate this twice, but they can’t.
I have issues shifting into reverse. It doesn’t matter if the car is level, or on an incline. It also doesn’t matter if the reverse gear is used at the beginning or end of the trip. Outside air temp also makes no difference.
I can get into reverse with the clutch in and shifting through the 1,2, and 3 gears. Then it slides like silk into reverse just fine.
When I double clutch, sometimes it slides in, sometimes I have to force it in.
I tried moving the seat close to the pedal, so I could really get the clutch pedal to the floor. It does not seem to make a noticeable difference.
What can I point the dealership to look at or measure to resolve this UNDER WARRANTY? Or what/how can the dealership do to replicate this (short of leaving my car there indefinitely)?
So few of these models where made, it is hard to find transmission documentation.

Keep all your documentation from the dealer each time you take it in, so when your warranty is up you can prove this was a problem from the beginning.

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I’d make sure you are close enough to the steering wheel to FULLY depress the clutch. I know you said it didn’t help but if your normal position does not allow you to press the clutch fully to the floor, change it to one that does allow this.

I had a friend whose driving position was leaning forward in the seat so her feet were far from the pedals. She also had a problem with shifting because she wasn’t far enough forward. When she scooted the seat up, the problem went away but she was squished against the steering wheel. At that point I instructed her on the proper driving position which included a slight recline, not leaning forward onto the wheel. Problem solved, her clutch lasted 275,000 miles.

If this were my car, I’d bring it in two more times (possibly trying a different dealer if one is reasonably close), then I’d contact Toyota using the process that should be detailed in your owner’s manual. I’d also start researching your state’s lemon laws, as you might need to use them.

While you are right that Toyota doesn’t make a lot of manual transmission Corollas, they do sell trucks, too, and many more trucks are sold with standard shift. There is at least a mechanic or two in the shop with experience with trouble shooting transmission issues like yours.

The way manufacturers ignore short legged people is just annoying. For a while Ford had adjustable pedals on some cars, and there should be more.

I’m gonna guess that this is annoying, but there is probably nothing wrong with your car based on this. Reverse is often harder to get into than the other gears. Reverse often doesn’t have a synchro on it. I’m not gonna get super-technical here, but shifting into 1st before shifting into reverse helps set the transmission up to go into that gear.

When you say you’re double-clutching, what exactly is your technique for that?


I agree with @shadowfax that there probably isn’t anything broken. Sometimes there is a block feature to keep you from shifting into reverse accidentally, and I’ve used that theory to justify when it’s occasionally hard to shift my car into reverse. When it happens, I put it in neutral, release the clutch, press the clutch, and shift it into gear. I figure I might sometimes not be pushing the shifter in the correct direction, giving it side pressure when it should go straight back.

Normal sifting would be to depress clutch, then shift into reverse. So when I can’t physically move the stick into Rev gear, I move the shifter into neutral, and in goes the brake pedal. Then I depress the clutch pedal again, release the clutch pedal once or twice more. Then with the clutch depressed I shift into reverse gear. If I only depress the clutch pedal one extra time, sometimes I have to really force the gear and I can feel the gears catching/snagging before they engage.

The next time that it is difficult to shift into reverse or first gear from a stop release the brake and allow the car to move a few inches, this will change the position of the gears and allow them to mesh. This is a normal condition for a manual transmission and does not require repair.

I had a Ford Tarus MT5 and my son has a Wrangler with a 5 speed. Both were trouble getting into reverse. Sometimes I had toengage 1st before reverse, sometimes double clutch. Does not sound like a defect but a case of getting used to a manual, especially if this is your first manual.

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Trying to think of any manual transmission vehicle I’ve owned over the last 50 years that didn’t have a problem going directly to reverse from neutral. They all do that. I just push the stick toward 1st then into reverse. Not necessary to go all the way into 1st, just enough for the1st gear syncro to partially engage.

Also,make sure the car is completely still before going into reverse.If you park the vehicule on a slope,apply the brake before going into reverse.

Agree with Hugemoth, although it’s a bit scary to a new manual driver, it’s completely normal.

When it happens don’t panic or try to force it. Shifting to another gear first, while uttering a few “choice words”, or if that doesn’t work, drifting a couple of inches, seems to be the solution to getting the gears properly lined up.

And as far damage goes, assuming you don’t “grind, crash, force or slam” it into reverse, the transmission should be fine for 30 years.