Manual Transmission

After not driving the car for awhile shifting is more difficult. It can get stuck in a gear or be difficult to get in gear. What could it be?

Bitterly cold weather will do this.

You really need to give more information.

Make, year, and model of car?

Engine size?

Odometer mileage?

Adherence to manufacturer’s maintenance schedule?

Mostly highway driving, urban driving, or a mix of the two?

Sounds liek the clutch isn’t disengaging properly. If it’s cable it might be adjustable. If it’s hydraulic it might have a leaky internal seal in the slave or master cylinder.

More info please.

I agree with Mountainbike. Sounds like a clutch actuation problem. Hydraulic or not depends on the information you have not provided.

It’s a 98 Corolla, about 95k, maintenance record solid. And yes, I live in Massachusetts and it’s cold

4 cylinder, mostly city driving.

The shifting is particularly difficult in and out of 1st, 2nd and reverse. into 3rd and 4th there is no trouble.

Assuming it is a manual, you may get some good results by changing the transmission lube. Use a synthetic multi grade. If the specs for your car calls for a single grade, use a multi grade with the higher number the same as the grade specified for a single grade.

With a 98 Corolla it probably calls for 10W-30, but you should check your owner’s manual to be sure.

With a 98 Corolla it probably calls for 10W-30, but you should check your owner’s manual to be sure.

I haven’t heard of a car using 10w-30 for a transmission in 30 years. That year Toyota I’ll bet it uses a Gear oil of SL-4 or SL-5 which is 75W-90. Now if it was GM…it might be using Dexron ATF.

10W-30 is what my 1998 Civic uses. My owner’s manual says that Honda’s transmission oil is better but that 10W-30 can also be used. In fact, I believe that Honda’s manual transmission fluid is nothing more than synthetic 10W-30.

The manual says recommended oil viscosity is 75w-90, gear oil type API gl-4 or5

is this something a car moron should do? if so how? or should it just be brought to the shop?

Changing the transmission oil is easier than a regular oil change since there is no filter to change. Just make sure you replace the washers on the drain and fill plugs. You might also need a special funnel to reach the hole in which the new oil goes.

If you are capable of changing your own oil, you can do this. If you have never changed your own oil, pay to have it done at the shop.

If you decide to do this yourself, spend $10 on a shop manual at the auto parts store. It will help you locate the drain and fill plugs on your transmission. It will also give you the torque specifications for the plugs. If you don’t have a torque wrench, just try to make them as tight as they were when you removed them, being careful not to strip the threads.

Make sure it has 75w-90 GL5 in it. If some one put 80w-90 in it, this will defiantly cause the problem.
You said that it set for some time. This makes me wonder if any linkage bushings are rusted making the linkages very stiff. This is a very common problem here in the Northeast (assuming it has that type of linkages with the nylon bushings).
If that is OK, Then your clutch may not be disengaging completely, if it’s a hydraulic system, check the fluid level, master cylinder and slave cylinder. If it has a cable, check the adjustment.