Clutch grinds into reverse


Hi All,

I have a 2004 Mazda3 hatchback with 38000 miles. Lately, it seems to grind or catch just a bit when I put the car into reverse (manual transmission). It only does this in the morning when I leave for work. This makes me a bit worried that my clutch is going, but with only 38000 miles, it seems a bit too young for that. Though it is my first manual transmission car, so maybe I screwed it up in the first 2000 miles or something.

I bought the car new and the warranty is still valid, so I’ll be taking it to the dealer for checkout, but I’m concerned they’ll just tell me it’s the clutch because it sounds like an obvious problem. Are there any other possible causes?

Thanks in advance!


This is usually caused by a worn or dragging clutch assembly or weak clutch hydraulics. Another possibility is a worn pilot bearing.

It’s unlikely to be the latter and probably not the hydraulics, although it’s possible. The car is a bit young for hydraulic and pilot bearing failure.

Unfortunately, driving habits can very well knock a clutch out in 38k miles, or even far less than that. It depends on the driver.

Now. If the clutch itself is worn and at fault you may not be happy. Clutches are seldom ever a warrantable item.
They are considered a wear item like brakes and belts and therefore, the customer pays for it.


If your transmission will not shift into reverse without grinding, it might be “dragging”. First check the fluid for the hydraulic linkage. Then try this. Pull the tranny into second gear, THEN put it into reverse. This will stop the counter-shaft from spinning and allow reverse to be engaged without grinding. If it STILL grinds, the clutch is REALLY dragging and will need repair, which WILL NOT be covered under warranty…