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Hard shifting 2009 Jetta

Hello all,

Long time listener first time poster. My wife has a 2009 Vw jetta 2.5 with a manual transmission that is very hard to shift. It has 80,000 on it and has had the clutch replaced once. She told me that she never had any problems shifting until she let it sit for two weeks while she went to cape cod. I have driven it myself and can confirm that there is an issue. Sometimes it just will not go into gear. No grinding noise at all and very very stiff when moving the stick shift laterally from first to fifth. Not actually shifting from 1-5 just moving the stick across the range it feels like cement. I have already changed the transmission fluid and used the Vw oem oil. I also removed the shift boot and lubed all the moving parts with a high quality grease. Tomorrow I am going to bleed the clutch slave and have a good look at the shift linkage. Is their something I am missing? Any insight would be greatly appreciated!


A failed slave or master cylinder would not push the clutch plate far enough to release.

Is the clutch engagement point getting closer to the floor?

Does it feel the same going through the gears with the engine off and clutch to the floor?

Does it change as the engine warms up?

I am not sure about the engagement point as I have only driven the car sporadically and I am not sure my wife would notice.

The car runs through the gears easily when not running so I suppose that rules out linkage.

The shifter does not auto center so sometimes you will hit third when looking for first. It will stick to either side but not always.

It does seem to get worse as the car is driven and heats up.

I just had it in to a local repair shop and he thinks it is internal to the transmission. He said he disconnected all the linkage and it was smooth but he had trouble when trying to shift the trans using the counter weight on top of the trans. I am not so sure this is the problem because my wife claims that it happened after the car sat for two weeks and not from driving. I may try to change the gear oil again from the OEM VW stuff to an aftermarket brand to see if that helps. Unless someone has another suggestion. I was not able to bleed the slave because my helper who was supposed to push on the pedal never showed up.

Thanks for reading.

If it gets worse warm it sounds like a bad slave or master cylinder not fully disengaging the clutch plate.

If you do plan on replacing the clutch master cylinder or slave cylinder…make sure you replace them as a pair. Replacing one without the other is usually asking for trouble.

Did you ever figure out what it was, hank_scorpio?

Actually yes. One place just wanted to replace the whole trans right away but I took it to another place and it was determined that part of the shift mechanism in the car had broken. I can’t remember now exactly what part it was but it was easily accessed from inside the car and the part itself was $20-30. At the same time the good latch release handle broke as well so that made working on the car exceedingly difficult. I flushed a repair with zip ties and traded the car in within a year but the trans performed flawlessly during that period.