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Same Old Grind

Q. I have a question regarding manual transmissions, particularly accidentally grinding the gear whilst shifting in reverse. I just bought a new 2000 manual Toyota Corolla and have quickly racked up 5342 miles in just over a couple of months.

During this time I've somehow managed to grind the reverse gear three times: first and second times while shifting hastily with the clutch fully pressed down (I probably didn't feel for it since there is no synchro for reverse), third by shifting in reverse while completely forgetting to press the clutch (I quickly shifted back to neutral when I heard the noise).

All three incidents happened with the car in a complete stop. There are no audible sounds that would indicate any damage and the transmission and engine still drives smooth, but to ease my paranoia, I figured that I should email you to find out if there are any possible concerns that I should be worried about and what precautions I should take.


A. Gear grinding is never a good thing. I had a friend of mine drive a 5 speed Honda for six months with a broken clutch cable. He said he couldn't afford a new one. I say he drove it for six months because that's how long the transmission lasted after the cable broke. When that happened, he managed to find the money for another transmission and the clutch cable.

I seriously doubt you did any great amount of damage to the transmission at this point, so my advice to you is to shift in reverse from a dead stop and remember to use the clutch when shifting. Toyota builds a strong transmission, treat it nice and it will last many years to come.

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