I'm planning to take my car to Mr Clutch on soon, but I wanted to see what every else's impression is of my car's problems.

Last night I was driving along the motorway, accelerating to 70mph, when all of a sudden 5th gear just slipped and a loud grinding noise ensued. I played around to see if it was repeatable, and low and behold, whenever I approached 3000 rpm the same thing would happen.

My MOT is up to date. I got my car serviced last month—timing belt was replaced, along with various fluids. I got the clutch replaced (hence why I'm going to Mr Clutch).

But since I've got the clutch replaced, I've been facing problems. When driving home from work my car was making this metal scraping sound. I thought it was the clutch because it stopped almost entirely when I put my foot down on the clutch. Taking my foot off the clutch pronounced the scraping sound.

There's also the fact that sometimes when I put the car in reverse gear, it doesn't engage properly and there's a loud grinding sound.

I talked to the guy at Mr Clutch, and he told me to bring it in so he could take a look. Over the phone he could only speculate that it was the clutch or—worse—the gearbox.

On top of all this, the gearbox has become sticky. After the episode on the motorway, the gearbox became stiff; I could get it into 5th at all.

Has anyone else experienced this? I'm not good with diagnosing cars as this is my first one. Any suggestions or even help in diagnosing this myself would be helpful.

I have a VW Polo 1.4, manual transmission.

  • I would say it sounds like whoever installed the clutch did something wrong. Jul 24, 2015 at 12:28
  • That's what I'm hoping. The bad part is that because it's an intermittent problem, it's likely they won't witness the problem when I get to the shop. I'm also concerned about any permanent damage. If it's under warranty, I feel like they should replace it …
    – MPKenning
    Jul 24, 2015 at 12:35
  • Also if it's the gearbox it's £700 to replace it.
    – MPKenning
    Jul 24, 2015 at 12:36
  • I'm sure you could get ahold of a second hand gearbox and have it fitted for considerably less. You don't say what age your Polo is but I know that the 6N2 was notorious for having gearbox problems. It may be worth joining one of the excellent VW Polo forums. I recently sold a 5-speed gearbox which would have fitted your 1.4 for around £50 so don't panic if they do tell you it's the gearbox. Jul 24, 2015 at 12:40
  • Also, with the reverse thing. I tend to find reverse is far easier to engage if you select first gear before selecting reverse. This used to be common knowledge but seems not to be taught to new drivers now. Jul 24, 2015 at 12:41

1 Answer 1


The clutch is responsible for disengaging the engine from the transmission. There are basically 2 issues you can have with a clutch - slipping, and not disengaging.

Slipping will occur when your clutch is engaged, but the engine revs up without accelerating the vehicle, as if you were still riding the clutch. This means you need a new clutch.

Not disengaging is the result of a broken or unadjusted part. This will become apparent when you can not go into gear without first shutting off the engine.

Your problem does not seem to be either of these.

Hearing a scraping sound when the car is idling in neutral with the clutch engaged is the main shaft bearing. The bearing is worn, allowing the shaft to be slightly off center when the clutch is engaged.

Popping out of gear is also an issue that would be caused by internal problems in your transmission.

I would start by checking the oil in the transmission. I fear that either it is low, or has the wrong type of oil.

  • I'm not too familiar with interiors of the transmission—where's the main shaft bearing? It's not just popping out of gear, the gear stick is staying in the 5th gear part of the gear box, and it's as if the clutch plates are rubbing together at >3000rpm. Does this change your diagnosis? How do I check the oil in the transmission—do I pop open the front bonnet? Would the oil have been changed during the service or when my clutch was replaced? I'll check the oil later today.
    – MPKenning
    Jul 24, 2015 at 13:10
  • I vaguely remember something called the main shaft bearing is replaced when the clutch is replaced—is this true?
    – MPKenning
    Jul 24, 2015 at 13:11
  • That's likely to be the release bearing which is part of the replacement clutch parts package. Jul 24, 2015 at 13:24
  • The main shaft goes through the clutch and into the body of the transmission. The main shaft bearing is located where it goes into the body. This is not normally replaced outside of a transmission rebuild. You might be thinking of the pilot bearing. You will have to check the manual on how to check your transmission oil, I'm not familiar with your car. Its typically a plug on the side of the transmission. The oil might had been changed when the clutch was, or some might had leaked out due to handling the transmission.
    – rpmerf
    Jul 24, 2015 at 13:25
  • I think your issues are specific to the parts that engage the gear to the shaft, meaning you will need a rebuild or a replacement transmission. This is very unusual for a car with only 37,000 miles, manual transmission will last several hundred thousand miles if properly maintained.
    – rpmerf
    Jul 24, 2015 at 13:30

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