Toyota Corolla shifting noise

Our 05 Corolla, 160,000 miles, has started making a grinding sound when we upshift into 3rd, unless we let the rpms fall to below 1000. My husband said the clutch needed adjusting, but the dealer said this clutch is not adjustable. The dealer found nothing wrong and could not get the car to make the noise while in the shop. (It did actually get better for a while but got worse again almost immediately after the visit to the dealer.) Our other car (a Saturn) has over 250K miles on the original clutch, so I don’t think it’s our driving. What could be wrong, and is this something that needs to be addressed soon lest we damage something irreparably? Also, this car has, since purchase, been nearly impossible to shift on the coldest mornings. Really, sometimes it is all I can do to get the lever in reverse to back out of the drive in winter (in Kansas). Warming up helps, but it seems to take an inordinate amount of time before shifting is"normal."

Until you mentioned the other problems this sounded like a classic case of a worn clutch master or slave cylinder not disengaging the clutch completely. Adding the fact that the transmission has always been hard to shift could mean the shift linkage/cable is binding or out of adjustment. Adding that it is much worse in cold weather could mean at sometime in the past the transmission oil was replaced with wrong type.

Whenever a dealer reports they can’t duplicate a driveability problem, ask them to go for a ride with you driving.

Yes, you should get this problem sorted out sooner rather than later.

Possibly low (or out of) gear oil, too. That can cause shifting problems, but normally it’ll also be quickly followed by screaming transmission gears.

This vintage of Corolla (and Matrix) from 2003-5 has some history of manual trans problems.
I would first check the shift linkages and change the trans oil.
Then change the master and slave cylinders. They’re not expensive.
After that I would suspect the synchros in the transmission.

I changed the trans oil in my 2006 5-speed Matrix at 21,000 miles.
It was dark with a metallic sheen.
I’ve got my fingers crossed hoping an oil change every 30k or so will keep it healthy