Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Get it into gear


This morning I got in my car (95’ Jeep Cherokee Sport - manual) to go to work and could not get the car into gear. I tried all gears, including reverse and could not force it into gear. When I tried to get it in reverse there was a grinding sound.

I’ve had slight issues getting it into gear before, but never this bad. In the past, I’ve only had problems getting it into 1st gear when it’s cold out…or occasionally I get the grinding sound momentarily before it slides into reverse.

I brought the car to the Jeep dealership this morning and right away the attendant diagnosed a “failed clutch”. He said he thought the clutch would most likely need to be replaced, and quoted around $1,000 to do this! I don’t have the means to spend 1K at this time, and for some reason I don’t trust his diagnosis (by the way, I’m being charged $95 for a diagnostic). It seems to me like the problem is fluid related, as if I need to re-lubricate the gears.

Can anyone provide some much needed insight?! I’m really hoping I won’t have to replace the clutch!

Thank you!

If the clutch isn’t fully disengaging the engine, it will be difficult to get it shifted into gear. The shift linkage may need adjustment. If it has a master cylinder and slave cylinder which actuates the clutch, either of those could be the problem. You do the research to find out if it has a mechanical clutch linkage, or a hydraulic one.

Don’t pay $95.00 fot a diagnosis by a “attendant”, what did the mechanic say?

Can you get your car in gear with the engine off?

Any change in clutch pedal free-play?, any change in clutch pedal feel at all

Any mention of low clutch master cylinder fluid? what about at your last service,any mention of fluid observed leaking?

Don’t use the Dealer for this job, nows the time to start a relationship with a independant mechanic.

I agree with ‘oldschool’. This problem sounds more like a clutch master or slave cylinder problem. Make sure that the fluid level in the reservoir is up to full. It doesn’t sound like you have been having a slipping clutch so replacing the clutch in this instance is suspect. It is possible that some friction material has come loose from the disc and is preventing the disc from fully releasing even though the pedal hydraulics are operating correctly. Ask the mechanic this question and see what his answer is.

Hope that helps.

Count me in. Sounds like a hydraulic problem to me. The clutch is not releasing all the way. The clutch itself may be fine. I’d say it’s more likely the master or slave cylinder.

Does it leak clutch fluid? Does it help if you pump the pedal a few times?