Manual Transmission Stuck in Neutral

I drive a 2003 Saturn Ion, 5 speed manual transmission. It’s been a good car until yesterday when I went to back out of a parking spot and the gear would not shift into reverse. Luckily I was on an incline and could just glide back. However when I tried to shift to first it would not move up. I could only drive in 2nd and 4th. I was able to drive home and after about 15 minutes I was able to shift to all gears. Then again this morning I went to start my car and couldn’t shift to any gear. Any advice would be helpful. Thanks

Can you get the transmission into all the gears if you turn off the engine?

If yes, then I hate to tell you this, but you might have a problem with the clutch pressure plate. It isn’t able to apply enough pressure on the friction disk to separate the engine flywheel from the transmission input shaft while the engine is running.


did you check the hydraulic clutch fluid level. (assuming this model has hydraulic clutch)

The statement “it won’t shift into any gear” is too vague to do more than speculate as to the cause… Is the shift lever difficult to move? Does it feel as though it is binding? Or possibly the lever has a great deal of free play in it near neutral? My impression of the situation is that the spacer bar has become loose. If so the linkage will be somewhat sloppy.