I ended up driving my front wheel drive manual sedan down a road meant for 4wd's due to inadequate signage (and poor judgement on my part).

I saw a river and stopped before it, unfortunately the road was already sufficiently muddy that I got bogged. With very aggressive clutch / accelerator use plus some sand and logs, I was able to get the car out.

To give an idea how aggressive, RPM's sometimes crested 6000+, smoke was coming off the left front (bogged) wheel and a funny smell was coming either from the wheel or the transmission. I didn't sustain redline RPM's or see the tachy crest the redline, didn't mean I might not have briefly gone above redline before the dial caught up.

However, the next day, my transmission gave out completely - at this point, no matter what gear you select (no gearstick issues), the gear does not engage when you let out the clutch pedal.

Just to assist with the repair and diagnosing/avoiding this issue in future, does anyone have any idea what the most likely damaged components are here? The car is a 2009 Proton S16 if it helps.

  • 12
    Well for a start that's no way to get out of a bog. Spinning the wheels is almost completely pointless. You're after traction, not a standing 1/4-mile time. Put some branches under the wheels to drive onto, and then engage the clutch as slowly as you can with engine revs as low as possible without stalling. People pushing helps. Mad revving and wheel spinning does not.
    – user207421
    Commented Mar 21, 2022 at 23:22
  • 7
    @user207421 yes, but – easier said than done. In such a situation it becomes hard to judge when the engine stalls, it can be scary to release the brakes in time and risk rolling into the river, stress levels reduce sensory fineness, etc.. Commented Mar 22, 2022 at 11:06
  • Update: it was the clutch, which needs replacing. I checked online afterwards and am now aware that 2nd or 3rd gear would be better than reverse (or 1st), unfortunately, as my first bogging it was with no one around to push or mobile reception to check methods. I was able to figure out I needed friction from first principles (and added sticks, sand etc.) but I seemed to get more movement the more I revved. As mentioned above, I also didn't want to roll into the river so I was trying to avoid forward gears. Lesson learned, in any case.
    – Bruno
    Commented Mar 26, 2022 at 3:40

1 Answer 1


I've narrowed it down to the most likely possibilities:

  • You may have burned out your transmission, or cracked the casing and lost all your fluid, in which case you're going to have to replace the whole thing, unfortunately. Fingers crossed it's not that one as the replacement could be worth more than your car
  • Damaged shift linkage: 4x4 roads are rough on the underside of a regular car, you could have damaged the linkage between your shifter and the transmission. Typically this would mean that the shifter feels loose in at least one direction. As you have not mentioned that as a symptom it doesn't sound likely, but if it is the issue you may be able to fix it yourself
  • Burned out clutch plate: that funny smell could very well be your clutch plate burning out. High revs and riding the clutch, which it sounds like was exactly what you were doing, can destroy a clutch extremely quickly. This is your most likely culprit, and the only resolution is to replace the clutch. That's doable for a home mechanic with the right tools, the parts are cheap it's an investment of time. For the vast majority of people it's a specialist job

One possibility I haven't added is your clutch linkage/hydraulics, because given the symptoms you describe it's not very likely. If it was your clutch linkage you'd be slipping out of gear, or your clutch pedal would be either really hard or would sink to the floor.

  • 9
    Would agree with your clutch assessment. I've seen the friction disk on a clutch completely lose it's friction material. Clutch gave the vehicle nothing at that point. Was a bugger cleaning out all the material from inside the clutch housing. Commented Mar 21, 2022 at 12:01
  • 7
    I imagine with a 2009 it may have been on it's first clutch, so maybe not that much material left to begin with @Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2.
    – GdD
    Commented Mar 21, 2022 at 12:34

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