How to Troubleshoot 5-Speed Transmission Problems

by Alibaster Smith

Though not as common as they used to be, manufacturers are still making 5-speed manual transmission vehicles. The traditional perceived benefit with a 5-speed transmission is the amount of control you have over the vehicle's engine and performance. Since you can manually select the gears, you can control when and where you get the power you need out of your vehicle. However, this can be abused if you are not a skilled driver. Over time, abusing the transmission by shifting too hard or by grinding gears (by not fully disengaging the clutch prior to shifting) can damage the transmission. Before taking it to a shop, troubleshoot your 5-speed transmission using these tips.

Check for knocking noises at low speeds. This can be caused by a worn constant velocity (CV) joint. It may also be caused by a worn side gear shaft counterbore in the differential case.

Check for a clunking sound on acceleration or deceleration. This is caused by a loose engine or transmission mount, worn differential pinion in the casing, worn side gear shaft counterbore in the differential case, or a worn or damaged CV joint.

Check for vibration in the steering wheel at highway speeds. This can be the direct cause of a rough or worn wheel bearing, but not necessarily the transmission. However, it can also be the result of a damaged drive axle or a worn CV joint.

Listen for noise coming from the transmission while the vehicle is in neutral with the engine running. This is caused by a damaged input gear bearing or a damaged clutch release bearing.

Listen for noise coming from the transmission while engaged in one particular gear. This can be caused by damaged or worn constant mesh gears, damaged or worn synchronizers, a bent reverse fork, a damaged fourth or output gear, or a worn or damaged reverse idler gear or idler bushing.


  • Specific problems for your vehicle may differ according to whether your vehicle is equipped with a limited slip differential, positraction-type device or all-wheel drive; for specific information, consult the particular vehicle's manual (see Resources).

About the Author

I am a Registered Financial Consultant with 6 years experience in the financial services industry. I am trained in the financial planning process, with an emphasis in life insurance and annuity contracts. I have written for Demand Studios since 2009.

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