My car (2013 Ford Focus, 12k miles, 5 speed manual) suddenly started to grind when shifting into 1st from a stop about halfway through my commute home. I realized that if I depress the clutch for long enough, and then shift into 1st, it is a smoother, or completely smooth shift.

I called my dealer and they can't look until Monday, so I wanted to post on here to satisfy my curiosity until then. The guy asked me to try shifting into 2nd and then into 1st to see if that goes smoother, and it was in fact smooth every time, no grinding. He told me to do that until Monday.

Does this indicate a synchro issue? Is this really bad? (Fortunately it's still well under warranty).


3 Answers 3


Possible Cause

A possible cause is clutch adjustment.

If the clutch is dragging you can experience these symptoms.


I believe you have a hydraulic clutch. If your fluid reservoir is low and a little bit of air got into the system you would need to bleed the air out in order for the clutch to become completely disengaged from the engine. If air is in the hydraulic system it will create the symptoms your are experiencing. The air would get compressed in your hydraulic line when you pushed on the clutch rather than the clutch disengaging if the air were bled out of the system.

The clutch drag makes it difficult to get into 1st gear and cause the sounds and create the difficulty you are experiencing.

  • How often does the line need to be bled? I had my clutch line bled out about a year ago. Commented May 9, 2015 at 0:27
  • 1
    I would agree with Ducati in that your clutch is dragging. The most likely cause is the hydraulic actuation. This car is still under warranty ... go have Ford fix it for you. It should not behave like this with only 12k miles on it. The hydraulics should last for 10+ years without issues. If there is a problem already, Ford needs to fix it. Commented May 9, 2015 at 1:17
  • Makes sense to me. And reading more on clutch dragging definitely makes me convinced that's what's going on. Thank you both for the info. Commented May 9, 2015 at 4:54
  • Not yet. They said a couple synchronizers went bad, and they're trying to get the parts in. So I won't have them replaced until next week. I'm concerned though that they would go bad after only 12k. Commented May 14, 2015 at 17:09

Sounds like the 1st gear synchro to me.

Putting the clutch in disengages the engine from the input shaft, so waiting a moment gives it time to come to a stop.

If it was the clutch it would do this in all gears.

The grinding is 1st gear crunching on the input shaft without a synchro mating correctly while the input shaft is still turning.


Clutch pump or cylinder (master or slave, or worse, the two of them) bad or on the way to so. You can engage 1st after a long kick probably because these are getting "lazy" and requires more pressure to move their pistons and therefore move the clutch elements. That's typical when the rubber rings inside the pumps are getting swollen and requires more force to move them. Other gears may shift better since the car is running and their synchros are doing their job to assume any differences.

In other words: new pumps or cylinders will fix it.

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