Although driving an automatic transmission car is the trend these days, there is nothing that can replace or equal driving a manual transmission. Granted, automatic transmission is easier and more convenient to use, but manual transmission allows you to fully control the car by operating the clutch pedal and the stick shift. Manual transmission has its advantages, one of which is fuel economy that results from an effective use of engine brakes. It is also much cheaper. And most drivers agree that driving a manual transmission car is a lot more fun. However, improper use makes the manual transmission prone to breakage. Specifically, here are the habits that can lead to manual transmission damage.
- Refrain from depressing the clutch when shifting gears. You put a great amount of stress on the transmission every time you fail to depress the clutch when shifting gears. Depressing the clutch actually prepares the vehicle for the shift. Think of it this way: when you depress the clutch, you are essentially unlocking the manual transmission, allowing for the change in gear.
- Downshift the gears when running fast. Try driving 80 kpm on second gear and you will hear the engine making a vibrating sound. This means the gear does not match your speed. A mismatch in speed and gear is greatly damaging to the transmission and the car engine. To avoid any damage, always upshift when driving fast. Downshift as you slow down.
- Not knowing how to rev-match. Rev-matching is important when you slow down and downshift. If you don’t know how to rev-match, your car will lurch as you downshift, an indication that the clutch is having a hard time, which will make it prone to exhaustion. Rev-matching is basically running your engine at a speed that corresponds to your rear-wheel speed. You can do this by increasing the engine’s rpm when you let go of the clutch.
- Depress the clutch when held up on a steep hill. When you do this, you are exposing the clutch to potential wear. If you are on a steep hill, fully depressing the foot break or pulling the hand break is enough to keep your car in place. Use the clutch only when you release the break and ready to move.
- Perform the heel-and-toe gear shifting without mastering the basics. Heel-and-toe shifting involves putting the right foot on both the break and gas pedals at the same time. This is done by race drivers because it allows for a smooth downshift. However, doing heel-and-toe shifting without mastering the shifting basics wears out the clutch and puts you and the other drivers to risk.
If you want to use manual transmission much more easily, try to determine your car’s bite point. This will allow you to know exactly when to shift gears. The bite point is the stage when the engine begins to decelerate until it reaches a point of stalling. You can know your car’s bite point by getting the tachometer reading as you gradually release the clutch and feel the car’s vibrating motion.