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Q: I recently purchased a used 2008 Mazda 3 (manual transmission) with about 120,00 miles on it. Sometimes, when I attempt to shift from 2nd to 3rd, the gearshift sticks, and I’m unable to shift into 3rd. I have to pull over and repeatedly jiggle the gearshift to pop it out of second gear. Also, when stopped, I’ve sometimes had trouble putting the car into 1st. And, overall, shifting from 1st to 2nd is a little rough. The brake/clutch fluid is topped off, so it’s not that. And the clutch itself seems fine. Any ideas ?
A: The solution to your issue is one of the three following things (ranked from most to least likely):
A new clutch. While the clutch material may well still have some life in it, the two halves of the disk have started to separate and they are still partially engaged even when you push the pedal all of the way to the floor.
A Clutch Master Cylinder and/or Clutch Slave Cylinder starting to fail. In this scenario, even when you push the pedal all of the way to the floor, the clutch pressure plate doesn’t fully release, and as with Option 1, the clutch disk is still partially engaged.
Low hydraulic fluid in the Clutch Master Cylinder. It could be you are pumping (or have pumped) some air into the hydraulic clutch line, and the air is compressing instead of pushing on the pressure plate to open it up all of the way. The clutch disk is still partially engaged.