Hi, for the last few days when the weather has been cold in the morning and my car has been parked overnight. When i get in it to drive i am really struggling to go up and down gears. But after about 20 minutes of driving thr problem dissappears. When i got in my car after i finished work i was going up and down gears with no problems but it has been pretty warm today. Do you think you could help me?


Does your mystery vehicle have a manual transmission or an automatic transmission?
If it has an automatic transmission…Have you checked the level, color, and odor of the trans fluid?

What is the actual make, model, model year, and odometer mileage of this vehicle?

No, I don’t think we can help you. You didn’t tell us the model, year, or mileage of your car. You didn’t tell us if it’s a manual or automatic transmission. You didn’t tell us if the maintenance on the transmission is up-to-date. You didn’t tell us if the fluid level and color are correct if it’s an automatic. We’re not mind-readers here!

If dirty gear lube or the wrong weight gear lube is used, it can make cold shifting difficult. As a rule, gear lube should be changed every 60,000 or cars, and 30,000 for trucks that see a lot of off-road action. But the owners manual can tell you specifically.

How clean is your transmission fluid, and have you changed the filter ever?

My car is a 2006 kia rio crdi with manual transmission

Perhaps the clutch is not releasing fully when the car is cold.

Great, frazer, you answered a few of the questions. But how about the rest? How many miles on the car?

Is this a major problem? Should i get it looked at by a mechanic?

Bill the is 109,000 miles on the car

Could be – yes

You also haven’t defined “cold”. Are you in Georgia or Alaska?

When I lived in North Dakota, where the temperature got well below zero overnight, shifting my manual tranny in the morning was like dragging a canoe paddle through cement mix. Many mornings I couldn’t feel the gates at all. And the car was brand new. This forum reaches world wide, and it’s spring where I am but it might be getting into winter where you are. How cold are we talking here?

I am aactually in the uk and its most probably around 3 or 4 degrees in the morning

If you are using the Celsius scale, that would translate to 37-39 degrees Fahrenheit.
Or, are you using a Fahrenheit thermometer?

Celcius scale

I don’t think the UK ever sees 3-4F. Plus the UK went metric.

Is it difficult to shift into first to start out?
I think the first thing you should do is try shifting through the gears with the engine off and cold.
If it feels easy then it could be the clutch isn’t fully disengaging or it has oil contamination (leaky shaft seal).

Then change the trans oil.
If possible use a synthetic that meets the makers’ specs. It should work better when cold.

I tried that its difficult when the engine is off. But after about 20 minutes of driving the problem dissappears

You should get it looked at. Your clutch is released by a hydraulic system of master and slave cylinders with a line (pipe) between them. It’s possible that you have moisture in the system that’s beginning to slush up (3-4C in the morning means it probably got below zero overnight) and it’s also possible that you have a piston seal failing in the master or slave cylinder. A seal can fail and not cause a leak, it simply allows the fluid to pass the piston rather than be pushed by (or push) it. And rubbery bits contract with cold, so a failing seal could be affected by temperature.

These temperatures aren’t low enough to affect tranny fluid unless there’s moisture in there, so to may want to drain and refill the tranny, although that’s not common with manuals.

Have the transmission lubricant changed. Please report the results.