I have a Mazda 323 Astina (called something else outside of Australia), 1997 model. When the weather is cold the car sometimes slips out of 5th gear into neutral. It only ever does it once a day, except for really cold days when it might do it twice. After the car has been running continuously for 30 minutes it doesn't do it at all.

Every time it has done this I have been either accelerating or coasting with a light pressure on the accelerator. The gear stick jumps into the neutral position and the car instantly revs up as there is no longer any resistance by being in gear. It has never done this in any gear expect 5th, but I don't spend a lot of time driving in any other gear. The point of 1st to 4th gears is to get you to 5th gear! What could cause this to happen only when the car itself is cold?

2 Answers 2


Likely to be a worn 5th gear synchronizer. Replacement can be quite expensive as the gearbox will need to be removed, then stripped for the synchronizer to be replaced. Normally as the gearbox will be removed its a good time to replace the clutch too if its not been replaced already.


Even Before we begin I would assert that you immedieatly address the issue , its extremely Dangerous to drive a transmission that has the slippage issue.


1. Low Transmission Fluid: While this cannot be 100% attributed to the issue , this can also be a factor for a high mileage vehicle, normally manuals dont need as much maintainence for upto like 50,000 miles but after that its advisory to check.

2. Broken Gear Linkage: There are nylon linkages used in the gear leaver where its attached to the transmission, over time these things wear out causing the gear to slip into neutral automatically( I personally think this might be your issue , but get it checked with a mechanic nevertheless). The bushes look like this.

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There are other causes which can cause the slipping like broken or worn out synchros which will definitely require you to open the unit and inspect.

As I said previously, unless you know what exactly to do , I would Highly advise you to take your car to a mechanic since there can be scenarios where you might be trying to overtake a vehicle and your 5th might slip and it can be disastrous.

  • I would argue the severity stated. It's fifth gear; nobody is overtaking with any sort of urgency in their top gear.
    – user36139
    Mar 15, 2018 at 14:50
  • I mean, yes, it should definitely be addressed. But I wouldn't call it dangerous if you're aware of the issue; it's perfectly manageable until you can address it.
    – user36139
    Mar 15, 2018 at 14:57
  • @iDriveSidewayz It is definitely a hazard, Maybe overtakes are not that common in your country nevertheless something like this should not be ignored. What if the OP gives his car to someones else? Remember Murphy's law.
    – Shobin P
    Mar 16, 2018 at 7:43
  • I live in the US; it's really common here. As previously stated, my argument is not that it shouldn't be fixed, but that it's not as big a deal as this answer claims. You can drive around perfectly fine without your top gear for a while if needed.
    – user36139
    Mar 17, 2018 at 12:43

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