Opting for a manual transmission vehicle provides a vastly different driving experience than of its automatic counterparts. Some may even consider driving a manual to be a test of a real driver, however the way you drive a manual car, not only significantly affects its lifespan but yours as well and there are several fatal mistakes that should be avoided when operating a manual transmission car. From lack of awareness, incorrect shifting maneuvers, destructive car modifications and even poor driving skills, there are countless ways that you could be damaging your car.
Never rest your foot on the clutch pedal; some drivers are inclined to drive with their foot resting on the clutch pedal. Let's put this in the simplest terms possible, your clutch is not a resting place for your foot even though you think there's no pressure being applied there most certainly is and it's one of the worst mistakes that you can make while driving a manual transmission car. When you rest your foot on the clutch pedal your foot forces the clutch pedal down and then causes it to take up slack, this in turn causes the clutch friction discs to slip creating heat and ultimately wearing out your clutch. Rest your foot on the clutch pedal also causes the clutch release bearing to be in contact with the clutch cover creating more friction when there doesn't need to be. Over time this will lead to ear piercing noises and complete failure of your clutch, which is an extremely expensive repair. So what does all this mean?
Not only this has caused the clutch to wear out prematurely; it also reduces fuel efficiency costing you thousands of dollars at the pump. Riding the clutch will often immensely shorten its life and it's a dangerous habit to have. The telltale sign that you're causing harm to the clutch is a distinctive burning smell coming from the clutch blades as they slip on the gearbox shaft. If you do notice the smell, adjust your footing accordingly. Never brake without engaging the clutch usually as you brake and decelerate the engines RPM will decrease with the car and if it gets too low the car will stall hence it's important to engage the clutch before this happens.
Why does a manual transmission car stall? Stalling a car is most common in manual cars and it's due to the nature of how the manual car works, when the clutch is engaged i.e. your gear in your foot is off the clutch to disconnect the engine with the transmission, once the engine and transmission are connected, they must have the same RPM or revelations per minute, which is determined by what gear you're in. If the car begins to slow but you don't change down to a lower gear, the engine begins to struggle, which is when you experience a bucking sensation as the engine begins to stall, gently press the brake pedal to begin slowing your car then depress the clutch pedal to disengage the clutch, unless you're in first gear in which case depress the clutch followed by the brake.
Never leave your car in neutral when parked. When driving a car with an automatic transmission you always put the car in park when you're not driving it, however in a manual transmission putting it in first gear or reverse when the car is facing downhill is just like putting the car in park, it's a typical habit to leave the car in neutral and to use the emergency brake, while you should always use the emergency brake it's possible that it can fail at some point and your car will end up rolling. To prevent this leave the car in first or reverse gear, it could save you light a heartbreak and money.
Never grind the gears. Grinding gears in a manual transmission car is an unpleasant sound and experience for sure it never feels good when you're shifting gears and you hear and usually feel that awful grinding noise. News flash it's not good for the transmission and and the gears themselves, this typically occurs when manual drivers are either coasting in neutral and trying to put the car into gear without first disengaging the clutch. Engaging the clutch half way into gear or try to shift without disengaging the clutch when the revs aren't matched. Anyone who's driven a manual transmission vehicle will probably grind the gears when shifting every once in a while which is okay sometimes, however if you do it all the time and really push your vehicle with hard with aggressive shifting, carrying heavy loads or crazy driving, bad things will eventually happen and it's the perfect recipe for causing clutch and transmission damage.
Never leave your car in gear at a red light. When you keep your car in gear while stopped you're keeping the bearings against the diaphragm and springs. Similar to riding the clutch. Your car's clutch designed to disengage and re-engage quickly not to be constantly disengaged. It's much better to put your car in neutral and ply the handbrake to keep it stationary. When you put your car in neutral and not have it in gear at a light the clutch is spared unnecessary wear and tear.
Never release the clutch too soon. Ideally you'll want your car to ride as smoothly as possible. Releasing the clutch too early will make your vehicle jerk. While putting excessive pressure on the engine and transmission. This overheats the clutch which can do serious damage over time. This is a common problem with first-time manual drivers with regular driving. However, finding the biting point of your car's clutch becomes second nature. And you'll be able to control the car without stalling or jerking it. Most of the time, anyway, as even the best of us can get it wrong sometimes. Never flaw your vehicle when engine revs are low. If for instance, you're traveling at 40km per hour in fifth gear. It's not a good idea to suddenly start flooring the accelerator pedal. When you do this, you're sending your vehicle mixed messages. At low RPMS, your car thinks it should be sitting back and relaxing. Whereas, your foot is telling it to work really hard. This is what's called “Lugging the engine”. If you need a build up speed you're better off gently applying the accelerator pedal or shifting down the gears before putting your foot down. You can even skip a couple of gears if you need be, as long as you rev match. A technique to prevent shock through the transmission. When you're gearing down, unless you're driving a car for the first time. You should have developed a natural feel for which gear matches certain speeds at RPMs bottom line. Don't lug the engine it will cause major problems for you in the long run.
Never use the clutch to hold your car on a hill. If you have to stop behind traffic while going up on a hill. You'll need to make sure that your car doesn't start rolling backwards. Many drivers will do this by holding on to the clutch biting point to keep themselves steady on the incline, but by doing this you're burning up the friction material on your clutch disc, as the clutch will be spinning at one speed while the engines pressure plate is moving at another. You could also find yourself rolling back into somebody behind you if you don't find the biting point in time. Apply the handbrake to keep your car still until it's time to move off. These days many manual cars come with hill hold assistance technology. This will hold the car stationary for a couple of seconds after the brake is released, giving you time to move foot to the accelerator without the car rolling back.
Never use an incorrect gear when gaining speed. The higher gear of your manual car lets you cruise at a higher speed at a low engine RPM and thereby saving you. However to gain speed you'll need to go through the gears progressively to prevent the engine from undue strain, you may strain the engine in two ways. First it might be using a lower gear at a higher car speed causing the engine to redline, it's better to progress in a higher gear before reaching the redline, or when the gear indicator tells you to do so. You may also strain the engine while driving in a higher gear, you floor the throttle to gain speed due to the gearing disadvantage, it would not only take you a long time to reach a higher speed but it would also put the engine under a lot of strain. It's better to drop the gear than to floor the throttle and shift into a higher gear for cruising. So to sum it all up you should always be driving in the correct gear.
Using the clutch and brake in the winter. In winter you shouldn't push the clutch pedal together with the brake pedal in this case the wheels can get blocked and the car will be put into a drift and this is something that you definitely want to avoid. Never slip your clutch, slipping your clutch is one of the fastest ways to completely destroy your manual transmission. Cut slipping is a term for what manual drivers do when they slowly lift their foot off the pedal to engage the clutch but don't fully engage it and they leave it hovering in a weird gray area. You might do this while easing your way into gear, you also might do this while stopped on a hill, so that when you restart your car you don't roll back.
Resting your hand on the gear stick. Many people have the habit of resting their hand on the gear stick while driving this shouldn't be done for several reasons, the most obvious is that you need both hands to steer. Another harmful effect is that such small yet constant pressure on the gearbox turns it into kind of a cocktail shaker, displacing synchronizers and gears. This in turn leads to problems with shifting whether you own an automatic or manual car. A transmission that's not working correctly can cause serious problems both under the hood and out on the road, furthermore transmissions are very complex and have many moving parts so this bad habit can easily cost you ten thousand dollar or more in transmission repairs.
Under any and all circumstances never coast in neutral, You might think this is gonna save you some gas and this somewhat makes sense when you're driving downhill. So why not let gravity take over by putting the car in neutral but in reality it's the opposite. Today's modern cars are designed in such a way they simply cut the fuel supply when going downhill. Secondly and most importantly, putting your car in neutral while driving downhill actually puts you in danger. It reduces your ability to control the vehicle and we're sure that's the last thing that you want when going downhill in neutral. You will only be able to slow down and not speed up during an emergency maneuver, but the problems don't stop there. Doing this also cuts the car's oil supply so the transmission doesn't get the proper lubrication for smooth operation, this results in significant wear and damage which can cost you in arm or in leg, furthermore your car's engine runs at its lowest RPM and the oil pump works the slowest when you move in neutral. As a result the engine doesn't cool down as well as it should and could actually fail due to overheating.
Well those are things you should never do in a manual transmission car. To leave on a positive there is one thing that is hard to do in a manual car....text while driving! Safe driving everyone!