What Causes Stiff Gear Shift?

What Causes Stiff Gear Shift?

Few things can be as frustrating as driving and trying to change gears and finding your gear shift sticky or stiff. Why does this happen? We discuss the causes of stiff gear shift.

What Causes Stiff Gear Shift?

“The Clutch Systems

The clutch system of a vehicle is responsible for disengaging and engaging power to the transmission while in between the flywheel of the engine. There are 6 main parts on clutch systems:

  • Clutch master cylinder
  • Release cylinder
  • Clutch cover
  • Clutch disc
  • Release bearing
  • Release fork

The clutch disc and input shaft transmission are engaged together. And the clutch cover is connected to the engine’s flywheel. When you press down on the clutch pedal, the “power pressing” will transmit to the clutch master cylinder and to push the release cylinder then push release fork to disengage between clutch cover and clutch disc. That means at this moment the engine spin does not transmit to the transmission. This allows you to easily change gears with the manual shift stick. However, if the clutch master cylinder or release cylinder is damaged or leaks, it will make it harder to shift gears. This happens because, if the master cylinder and/or release cylinder is damaged or leaks, it can cause loss of pressure on the fluid, this can make the clutch not disengage properly. If the clutch and engine do not disengage properly, the manual transmission will be hard to shift all gears, or fail to shift entirely.

The Synchronizer Ring

The purpose of the synchronizer ring is to effortlessly engage the gear. The ring is made up of small teeth which allow it to smoothly be engaged by the hub sleeve and then into the main gear. If the synchronizer ring were to get damaged or malfunction in some way, it would be difficult to shift the transmission.

Hub Gear

Between two different gears, there is a hub gear that engages them. For example, the hub gear goes between the first gear and second gear, and it goes between third gear and fourth gear. It is really like a bridge in between these gears. Since the hub gear is connected to the transmission shaft, it cannot freely be turned. A damaged or worn out hub gear will create problems when it comes to shifting the transmission.

Hub Sleeve

The hub sleeve engages the main gears from the hub gear. Depending on the location in which the gear shifts, the hub sleeve can also move to the right and left. The hub gear is like the deliverer of the engagement that lies between the main gear and the hub gear. There are small teeth on the hub gear that will synchronize with the teeth of the synchronizer ring as there is gear shifting in the transmission. But if the hub sleeve were to get damaged or worn out, it would be difficult to shift the transmission.


The manual transmission systems’ main component is the gear, which is made up of the counter gear, reverse gear, 5th gear, 4th gear, 3rd gear, 2nd gear, and 1st gear. Each gear has 2 sets of teeth that are small and big. The function of the smaller teeth is to accept the hub sleeve’s engagement with the synchronizer ring. If these small teeth were to become damaged or worn out, it would be difficult to shift the transmission. And when a gear is shifted, the function of the bigger teeth is to engage the spinning counter gear which sends a transmission to the output shaft. If the big teeth are damaged or worn out, the transmission will make noise.

Not Enough Gear Oil

If your transmission is leaking oil or you do not change it periodically, you will have less oil in the gear. Once this happens, there will be damage to your transmission and it will eventually become hard to shift it. There may even be strange noises or poor vehicle performance symptoms too.”

If your gears are sticky or stiff, you need to have it seen to as soon as possible. Your best option is to have professionals do the job for you as they have the necessary expertise to sort it out.

Related Tags: Clutch Kit

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