Okay, so yesterday I stopped at a traffic light on my way home from uni. When the traffic light turned green again, and I was to pull away I could not get the gear into first no matter how much I tried. After 2-3 mins I gave up and set off in 2nd gear, which I did for the most of the way home trying not to hold still with the car and thus avoiding to have to use 1st gear.

What do you reckon the issue could be? I have tried for one hour it's simply STUCK, whether you hold the clutch down or not or whether the car is on or off, it doesn't make a difference, it won't go into first gear physically, it's like it's blocked or something.

Also, anyone got a clue how much this would cost me?

Lastly, since i've had to start off in 2nd gear , I try to accelerate more and slowly let go of the clutch and it seems like it's not struggling too much. But I'm sensing it's not good for the car. I've done this about 6 times now. Will have it checked tomorrow but after I make an additional 2 drives. Could this potentially cause worse damage?

Car: VW Polo 1.2E (2008)

1 Answer 1


Do you have any problems with 3rd or 5th? (or reverse, if it's next to first)

The usual reason for a FWD car not going into a particular gear is a problem with the linkage between the gearstick and the gearbox, which is usually a series of metal rods with ball-joints between them. There are usually two sets, one connected to the fore-and-aft movement of the gearstick, and one side-to-side. If either set is worn, loose, bent or caught on something it could prevent it from working properly.

If it isn't the linkage, then it's almost certianly something inside the 'box, which will probably mean replacing the entire box - it's rarely cost-effective to try and repair them. You can often get hold of second-hand gearboxes to reduce the cost. If you do have to remove the box, get the clutch changed at the same time, as that'll be a lot cheaper than having to change the clutch in a year or so's time...

Pulling away in second won't damage the car, but will wear the clutch out slightly quicker.

  • Thank you Nick. Great info just what I was looking for :) Also, I don't have any problems with 3rd or 5th gear only 1st
    – Force444
    May 20, 2013 at 14:02

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