Question about 1998 Volkswagen Jetta

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Can't shift when car is cold

I've got a 1998 Jetta VR6 GLX with a manual transmission. I've owned it for a few months with absolutely no problems. Then suddenly yesterday I got in my car in the morning, started it, then tried to shift it into 1st but to no avail. I could not get it into any gear. I even tried reverse but could hear it grinding as I slowly tried to push it into gear. Once the car has warmed up to optimal temperature, then I could get into gear but was still pretty stiff til I drove it for a bit. Once the car is completely warmed up, there doesn't seem to be a problem. Do you think it might be the transmission oil?

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  • FixAted13 Feb 03, 2009

    That makes the two of us, apparently. Have been experiencing the same sort of problem with my 1993 VW Passat. It should be noted that it has never happened before - in any type of weather - including lengthy freezing spells with temps dropping below 30 Centigrades. Can anyone help us out?Could it be that the transmission oil needs to be replaced?Thanks in advance to anyone, who can provide any piece of useful advice!

  • Anonymous Feb 23, 2009

    Exactly the same problem - with a 1995 Toyota Corolla. Can't shift when car is cold, will shift after period of warm up. Gear shifts have not been smooth for last few weeks. Have booked into mechanic

  • Anonymous Mar 12, 2009

    shift linkage ive been told .. i have the same problem with 2nd gear in my 1998 vw jetta (2.0L) .. investigating further this upcoming weekend

  • tcgregory26 May 05, 2009

    i own a 02 jetta that will not shift unless you let it warm up for 30 minutes before you drive it

  • Jerry Koski
    Jerry Koski Aug 18, 2014

    check clutch fluid sounds like its low



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I have a1998 VW jetta vr6 glx with the same problem and living in New England it gets really cold, but i did some research and it worked.... With the car in neutral and the E-break engaged, reach down and pull up on the clutch pedal, thus "resetting" the tension in the cable, it will be a bit higher on your foot and the release/engage point will be higher as well but i did this when it was 10*f and i could not get any gear, after pulling up on the clutch, shifts with ease,,,, such a relief

Posted on Dec 29, 2009

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There is a linkage that goes from your stick to the transmission. If you have moisture in there from rain or from driving through water it will freeze making shifting very hard. To test pour hot, not boiling but hot to touch, water on your linkages on a cold morning and see if that fixes it.

Posted on Dec 24, 2009


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SOURCE: my transmission on my 1995 vw jetta lll glx vr6

the clutch may burn out on those gear, check the fluid if it smell burn

Posted on Feb 24, 2010

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