5 Things You Should Never Do In A Manual Transmission Vehicle
A manual transmission – one that requires the driver to shift gears – can get better gas mileage and even be cheaper to repair and maintain than automatic transmissions.
However, if you don’t treat a manual transmission vehicle well, problems can arise. That’s why there are a few things you should avoid doing if you want to keep your car in good condition.
Watch Your Hands and Feet
While you may have learned the “10 and 2” hand position or to always check your blind spot, make sure you:
- Do not use the gear shift as a hand rest. Most of us rest on our right elbow or hand while we drive. However, it’s important to keep your hand away from the gear shift unless you’re actively shifting!
If you go over a bump or a groove in the road, your hand may jerk the car into a different gear. You may also be putting pressure on your selector fork, which controls the gear you choose.
- Do not use the clutch pedal as a footrest. This might be prematurely wearing out clutch. You may also trigger slippage for your transmission, leading to gear changes when you didn’t intend to change gears.
Give Your Transmission a Rest
Driving a manual transmission in a populated, high-traffic area can mean hitting lots of red lights, going up hills with cars behind you, and even needing to stop abruptly.
That’s why you need to create better habits when driving a manual transmission vehicle, like:
- Always put your car in neutral when stopped at a red light. When you stay in gear at a light, it means that you’re still holding or pumping the clutch to prepare for when the light turns green.
Instead of holding the clutch, place the gears into neutral and then shift when the light turns green. This eliminates friction on the throw out bearings and diaphragm spring.
- Never use the clutch and gas to prevent rolling down a hill. A lot of people hold their clutch and pump their throttle to prevent rolling down a hill. This burns the friction plates on your clutch disc, though, and can lead to faster wear and tear of your clutch.
Instead, use your e-brake to prevent your car from rolling. Then, use your clutch and throttle as you normally would to shift to the next gear and release your e-brake once you are ready to move.
- Stop using the wrong gear to accelerate. Contrary to popular belief, using a higher gear will NOT make your car go faster in less time. This just puts strain on the engine and burns more fuel.
Instead, progress through the gears so you can maintain a higher RPM and reduce fuel usage once you get to those higher gears.
Maintaining Manual Transmission Vehicles
Hopefully you’ve learned a little bit about maintaining your manual transmission vehicle – and the bad habits that cause unnecessary wear and tear. While we all develop certain habits when driving, it doesn’t mean we have to damage our transmissions!
Pay attention to your gears, hands, and feet when driving and you should see the longevity of your clutch, springs, and transmission grow.