A manual transmission is also referred to as a “stick shift”. Manual transmission is the old school way of shifting gears. There are many advantages of driving a manual transmission. A few advantages worth mentioning are; fuel economy and faster acceleration. When driving a manual transmission car, you have control over the gear changes and you can change gears whenever you want. Driving a manual car is a bit difficult at first, but once you get the hang of it, it is pretty easy to drive. In fact, people who learn to drive on a manual transmission can easily drive an automatic transmission, but those who learn to drive on an automatic transmission, find it really difficult to drive a vehicle with manual transmission.
There are more manual transmission cars in Pakistan than automatic transmission. This article discusses a few things, one should avoid or take note of, while driving a vehicle with manual transmission.
- Using the Gear Knob as Hand Rest: A lot of drivers are in a habit of subconsciously placing hand on the gear knob when they drive. While driving, we can only see the gear knob and leaver, and are unaware of what is happening in the car’s transmission system. To understand this better, I will explain what happens while you change gears. There are important components that make up a manual transmission, for instance: a selector fork, rotating collar, pressure plate, clutch plate and the fly wheel. The clutch plate is placed between the pressure plate and the fly wheel.The selector fork is stationary in a manual transmission, and it is pushed against the rotating collar when changing gears. The collar is then pushed into the gear that you choose. The selector fork only makes contact with the rotating collar for a brief moment, when you shift gears. When you rest your hand on the gear lever, the fork touches the rotating collar, and this may cause premature damage to the selector fork. So, it’s a good idea to change gears and place your hand back on the steering wheel. It is a good habit to hold the steering wheel with both hands, to give you better control over the car.
- Resting Foot Constantly on the Clutch Pedal: This causes the clutch to be partially engaged and results in the clutch plate wearing off. Resting your foot on the clutch also damages the throw out bearings, which may be partially in contact with the diaphragm bearing. It’s always a good practice to remove your foot completely from the clutch pedal after changing gears. You could rest your foot on the dead pedal, which is close to the clutch pedal (a flat surface right next to the clutch for resting left foot), it is mostly common found in cars nowadays.
- Keeping Car in Gear at a Stop: It’s not a good idea to keep your car in gear while you have stopped it on a signal. It is best to put the car in neutral and take your foot off the clutch. Keeping the clutch pressed causes premature damage to the throw out bearing. This is because keeping the clutch pressed for a long duration puts the throw out bearing in contact with the diaphragm spring, causing the throw out bearing to wear out prematurely.
- Using Clutch Bite Point on Inclined Surface: The bite point is when the clutch plate engages with the fly wheel. The driver knows he is on a bite point when the engine makes a slightly different sound because of the revs dropping. Sometime, when you are at a bite point, you can feel a tiny amount of lift at the front of the car. When on an incline (especially when climbing bridges) using the clutch bite point technique to avoid the car from rolling back is a bad idea. This is because the friction material on the clutch plate gets damaged as the speed of the spinning clutch plate tries to match that of the spinning flywheel. This results in the clutch plate wearing off prematurely. It’s best to use the handbrake while on an incline if you don’t want the car to move backwards.
- Engaging Incorrect Gear to Gain Speed: Driving the car at a high gear but at slow speeds strains the engine. However, driving the car at an average speed on a high gear and maintaining a low RPM saves fuel. To increase the car’s speed, always progress through the gears to avoid straining the engine. It is also not recommended to over rev the engine while shifting from one gear to another. Avoid reaching the red line on the rev meter when shifting gears. In order to gain speeds, it’s better to drop gear, then accelerate and change gear rather than straining the engine by gaining speed on a high gear.