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Difficulty shifting gears

I have a 1998 Honda CRV, 5-speed. It was a cold and snowy morning this morning. I warmed up the car for about 10 minutes and then got in to go to work. I could not get the car in gear. With the clutch fully depressed, the gearshift would toggle back and forth, but would not go into any gear. I turned the car off, was able put it in reverse, and then turned the car back on. I was then able to back out of the driveway and then, with a bit of difficulty, shift into first. On the 5 mile drive to work, I was able to shift, but the gearshift was sluggish and I had to use a little more force to actually get it in gear. This difficulty shifting gears seemed to decrease as I continued to drive. When I arrived at work, the I could get the gears to shift, but it was still met with more resistance than usual. What do you think the problem is?

Possibly the clutch is dragging. Does that car have an hydraulic clutch? If so, check the reservoir for fluid.

Check the clutch fluid reservoir. If the fluid is low the clutch might not be disengaging fully.

I agree that the clutch is the most likely issue and low fluid and the cold likely went together to cause the problem.

I would like to point out that leaving your car run for 10 minutes to “warm-up” may make you more comfortable and warm, but only some parts of a car get warmed up like that. The clutch and transmission are a couple of parts that don’t get warmed up.

It is generally better and cheaper to start driving the car as soon as it will drive reliably. Keep the speed down for the first two or three miles and then not only the engine will be warmer, but so will the clutch, transmission, suspension and tyres.

When is the last time you changed the transmission oil? When is the last time you checked the transmission oil level?

I agree with the others you should check the level of your clutch fluid. If it is leaking, get it fixed.

You should also check the level and the condition of the transmission oil. If it is like my old 98 Civic, there is no dip stick to check. You will have to remove the filler hole plug and stick your finger in there. The oil should be filled up all the way. If you don’t get any oil on your finger, the level is low and it might even be empty. If the level and the condition of the oil are good, replace the washer and reinstall the filler hole plug.

How many miles are on this vehicle?

If you decide to change the transmission oil, I think Honda calls for Honda manual transmission fluid or 10W-30 motor oil. Check your owner’s manual to be sure. I would use synthetic 10W-30 since synthetic oil behaves a little better in the cold than dinosaur oil.

as already mentioned, the clutch is probably dragging.

The onset of cold weather is often the cause of clutch hydraulic failures when the aged rubber seals in the clutch master/slave cylinders start getting weak.
Agreed it sounds like a draggging clutch.