Clutch Actuation or Rusty linkage Bushings?

I have a 98 Corolla 4 cylinder (manual) with 95k in Boston, MA. Mostly city driving. I haven’t been driving it much and shifting gears has become difficult, particularly in and out of 1st 2nd and reverse. I’ve heard clutch trouble, but I don’t know if it’s hydraulic or not. I’ve also heard rusty stuff?

Try bleeding the hydraulic clutch at the slave cylinder. If seldom used, air bubbles can accumulate. This will prevent clutch from fully releasing.

Sounds like a hydraulic problem to me. Have you checked the clutch fluid level? Perhaps the fluid is low. If so, refilling it may solve the problem. The system may need to be bled to get the air out.

If the fluid level is OK, there may be an internal leak. Either way, check the fluid level and look for leaks. Tell us what you see.

I’ve never heard of air bubbles accumulating from non-use. Where do they come from?

Hmmmm, follow me here. I’ve seen this in a lot of cars that sit for extended periods.

Brake fluid is hydophillic, meaning like to absorb water. Water will vaporize at lower temps than brake fluid. Contamination will carry water in the fluid through the system. Sitting will prevent the fluid from circulating. Water will naturally vaporize no matter what the temperature is. Instant air bubbles in the line. Accumulation of air bubbles due to lack of circulation.

I’ve seen it in both brake and clutch lines in cars and trucks that do a lot of sitting around, especially older cars and trucks that have never had brake fluid changed. That old nasty fluid has collected a lot of moisture in those years.