Honda CRV Won't Shift into Reverse

My 2001 Honda CRV has 145k miles and a 5 speed manual transmission. For the past few days, I’ve had trouble getting it to shift into reverse gear. Yesterday, it would not go into reverse at all. The clutch fluid level looks OK. What else could be the problem?

Will it shift into reverse with the engine “off”? If it will then I think you have clutch issues. Reverse is difficult to shift into if the clutch is not fully disengaging.

Yes, it shifts into all the gears just fine when the engine is off. I’m thinking I should change the clutch fluid, which is pretty dark now, and has never been changed to my knowledge. Otherwise, how do I check the master / slave cylinders? Is there any chance that a worn-out clutch could cause this kind of problem?

You have clutch problems. If you change the fluid make sure to bleed the clutch system properly. A worn out clutch will cause difficult shifting and will slip. Does the clutch slip at all in first gear? Since the master and slave cylinders have to work in conjunction with each other I would suggest seeing a good mechanic.

No, the clutch doesn’t slip at all in first gear. I’ll change / bleed the clutch fluid and see if that helps.

If there were problems with the master / slave cylinders, wouldn’t there be leaks that I could see?

Thanks for your advice. I’m out of work and can’t afford a mechanic just now.

There may be no detectable leaks at all. The problem is that the slave cylinder is not fully disengaging the clutch. The slave cylinder may be at fault or it could be the master cylinder at fault. To make matters worse it could be both of them causing the problem. I am not a great fan of hydraulic clutches but that’s what vehicle manufacturers have decided to use. Good luck.

I have had this problem before, the transmission is gunked up. You need to drain the oil, fill it up with deisel, drive about a mile, going through all the gears, then drain the deisel and fill it back up with oil it’ll work fine