Gear shift is in neutral, but the transmission is in gear

I have a 2004 Hyundai Accent, has 167k miles on it. Transmission has 80k, put in at about 155k. Came home from Tahoe, and the next day, I tried to go to work, and the gear shift was stuck in first. Hadn’t had the money to get anything fixed, but when I finally got it looked at, was told I needed a new clutch and possibly a new flywheel. Been cleaning it out to sell, and today I started it up and realized that the stick is in neutral and moves back and forth freely, but the transmission is in gear. I know that, because I had to keep my foot on the clutch to keep it running. What would cause that? I’m hoping it’s something easy and cheaper to fix, because I love this car and am not ready to part with it just yet. The clutch doesn’t have that many miles on it either, maybe 10-15k, if that. I’ve had the car for almost ten years, so it’s not poor driving, on my part.

Maybe there’s a problem with the linkage between the shift lever and the transmission. Not sure how that works on your car, but on my Corolla it is a cable arrangement, and fairly easy to diagnose if one of the cables isn’t working.

I agree with George. And I suspect he’s right that it’s a cable setup. Most today are, at least on FWD vehicles with transverse engines.

You might try stopping at the dealership’s parts window and requesting an exploded view drawing of the shifting system. I’ve always found that having an exploded view drawing in front of me when working on a new area is a tremendous help.

The parts guy might even give you a copy of the shop procedure for diagnosing, repairing, and adjusting the shifting system. Ask nicely and it’s amazing what people will help you out with. Most people want to help others if they can. These procedures and drawings are all accessed electronically now, so it’s easy for him t o print one up.

Yes, sounds like a shifter problem, not a clutch problem. The clutch works.

I also agree that it sounds like a shifter problem. Who ever looked at your vehicle should not be in the repair business. Their diagnosis is way off the mark.

Thanks for that link with the exploded view. I’ve spent years wishing I’d taken just one more year of auto to learn transmission and clutch repair, but this sounds like something I can check out myself. Is it difficult to replace?