Stick shift problem


#1

My stick shift won’t go into second or fourth gear. Background: a week ago I got my 200,000 miles, 1994 Mazda Protege, tan, back from the garage after having the clutch replaced. The car zipped along great for a few days. Then suddenly the stick shift problem happened.



I called the garage, and they said the mechanic who had installed the clutch noticed that the bushings were rotting, but he said nothing because he thought they would last anyway. Bottom line: the garage said that I need new rubber bushings PLUS a new stick because the shifter is mounted in the rubber.



Questions: is the dry rotted bushing story plausible, or should I be suspicious that the mechanic didn’t screw something back properly causing the shifter problem? If plausible, do I need a new $180 shifter? If I don’t do anything, would it hurt the car if I continue to drive it by going from first to third, and third to fifth?


#2

I think the mechanic is right about the busing. The stress of taking stuff apart and changing the clutch was too much for the old, tired bushing.