So my wife has a 2008 Scion xB with a manual transmission. We've been having a problem that comes and goes with it, and is difficult to get to the bottom of. When we're driving the vehicle, it drives normally 90% of the time. But occasionally the car sticks in gear. This happens most commonly when driving in 1st or 2nd gear. You depress the clutch pedal, but when you pull on the gearshift, it doesn't allow you to move it in any direction. If you release the clutch, then step on the clutch again, it will allow you to shift as if nothing had happened.

What's confusing is that it happens infrequently. The vehicle has no warning or check engine lights come up when this happens, no different sounds or smells. But it can be very frustrating when trying to accelerate out into a line of traffic. It has happened when first getting behind the wheel, and after driving for an hour or two. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to it.

I've done some research online and I've heard suggestions that it could be the clutch plate, or it could be an electronic issue with the drivetrain. But I'm not that mechanical, and I'm afraid if I take it to a shop I'll get the runaround. It's not easy to nail this down because it happens infrequently.

Any ideas as to what this could be?

  • Is there any consistency in temperature when this occurs? Have you changed the transmission fluid or checked the clutch hydraulic fluid recently? It sounds like the clutch isn't disengaging all the way, and pumping it a second time provides enough pressure to do so, though I'd expect this to happen more often than 10% of the time if that were the case. Jan 17, 2017 at 22:42
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    I can pull mine out of first gear without the clutch, as long as I'm off the gas. It may be a linkage problem. There are usually plastic bushings and they are probably worn after 9 years. It might bind occasionally, and cause issues shifting. Could be clutch too.
    – cory
    Jan 18, 2017 at 19:28
  • MooseLucifer, I don't think there has been any consistency in the temperature when this happens. We spent a few months living in FL with the vehicle over the summer, and it has done it in the cold winter months now. Usually it only gets driven every couple days to run errands locally, like coffee or groceries. Approximately once a month we'll drive an hour or two away to see friends. We haven't changed or checked either of those lately but I'll give that a try. The car only has ~70,000 miles on it so I didn't think that was necessary just yet.
    – DITR
    Jan 20, 2017 at 16:14
  • cory, while I don't do it regularly, I can pull it out of gear easily in the same way even without the clutch. How expensive do you think it would be to repair if it were a linkage problem? Thank you both for the ideas.
    – DITR
    Jan 20, 2017 at 16:16


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