I saw a couple of similar topics, but none seem to mirror my experience exactly.

Once in a blue moon, on my 2013 Nissan Sentra SV Manual 6 spd, If I'm, say, idling at a red light in neutral, I'm unable to get it back into gear. The stick just literally hits a wall and won't move.

Now this has happened occasionally over the years, and generally just re-engaging the clutch fixes it immediately. I think they even mention this can happen in the manual. It was incredibly rare, and not a big deal.

However, it's happened twice in the last 2 months or so, and those times it took maybe 7 or 8 tries (of releasing and pressing the clutch) before I can finally get into 1st gear.

I also tried 2nd gear when this happens (with no luck), although I don't believe I tried any other gears, now that I'm thinking about it.

Could my clutch just be going? I bought the car about 4 years ago and the clutch hasn't been changed while I've owned it. I always thought the clutch generally just goes immediately. But can there be symptoms like this leading up to it?


edit from Holmes108: The car has about 190,000km (118,000 Miles)

  • Mileage on vehicle? Possible clutch worn out, possible its the hydraulic system (master/slave cylinder) that controls the clutch not working to full travel.
    – zipzit
    Jun 10, 2021 at 14:40
  • Next time it happens, turn off the engine and see if it will go into gear then. If it does, it means your clutch isn’t fully releasing, and it’s the synchros that is preventing engaging first gear. You could also try reverse, as that is often not synchronized, but then you’ll feel grinding if the clutch isn’t releasing. (So don’t force it)
    – Tim B
    Jun 11, 2021 at 3:26

2 Answers 2


With that mileage, its most likely a worn clutch (or clutch pressure plate). Time for a replacement.

Hydraulic Clutch system

Note: You should also inspect and test the hydraulic clutch control system. There is a master cylinder attached to the clutch pedal and a slave cylinder attached to the top of the transmission. Verify you have correct travel, no leaks, etc...

Note, this could be done by an intermediate home shop mechanic, but NOT as your first home shop mechanic project. The project involves supporting the engine, disconnecting the battery, removing the transmission, removing the clutch pressure plate, inspecting the flywheel (remove and get surfaced if required) and replacing new clutch/pressure plate... then re-assembly.

Good luck with it, let us know how well the repair works..


You should be able to tell if the clutch is engaging/disengaging properly. If not - yes, it might be the master/slave system. Does it engage if you pump the clutch a few times? Is the fluid low?

A worn clutch plate will normally engage/disengage, but slip under load.

I once had a syncromesh spring break. It floated around inside the transmission and would occasionally get in the way of the dogtooth engagement, preventing my shifting into gear. The only solution was to tear it open, unfortunately.

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