We Indians just love our manual cars, and what’s not to like? Just press the clutch, drop a gear and off you go! Pretty straightforward isn’t it?
Not exactly. Driving a manual is an art only a few have mastered. When it comes to driving a stick, there are certain habits which can make or break the deal. Making subtle changes in your shifting habits can bring you this close to being a “stick shift master”.
|#GoFact- According to the Economic Times, 4 out of 5 cars were sold with a manual transmission! They state that – even in 2020 – a staggering 83% of Indian cars bought came with a standard transmission. However, these numbers have dropped significantly over the years.|
In a previous blog post, we covered 5 habits to quit when driving an automatic car. So, keeping the trend alive, here are 5 habits you need to avoid when driving a manual car.
Using the gear lever as a hand-rest
This is a mistake that almost everyone is guilty of making. When you shift gear, the selector fork pushes against a rotating collar which in turn engages the required gear. When you rest your hand on the gear shift lever, you are putting unnecessary strain on the transmission, as the selector fork (which is stationary) remains in contact with the collar (which is in motion). Also, it is not a safe practice to keep only one hand on the steering. Remember, left hand 9’o clock-right hand 3’o clock.
Shifting to reverse without stopping
This totally destroys the transmission. We won’t miss the grinding sound when an opposing gear is initiated while the car is in motion. Reversing without stopping the car can even cause early transmission failure. Therefore make this a habit: always come to a complete halt, before you shift to move to the opposite direction!
Using the clutch pedal at a red light
Keeping the car in gear with the clutch pedal depressed is not a good idea. The clutch is designed to engage and disengage briefly. You are not supposed to step on it for an extended period of time.
By putting your foot on the clutch pedal every time you hit a stoplight, you are forcing the bearings to push against the diaphragm and the pressure plate. This wears out the friction material on the plates faster than usual. So it is better to be wise and put the car in neutral when the traffic light turns red light. Give the clutch a break.
Resting the foot on the clutch pedal
When you are riding the clutch, you are inadvertently straining the clutch and its components. Even the lightest of a tap on the clutch pedal causes the pressure plates to rub against the flywheel which can lead to burned-out plates and even some nasty, expensive repairs. Also, keeping your foot on the clutch while driving can cause the latter to slip slightly with noticeable power loss.
Dropping a gear for engine-braking is a good practice to effectively slow down the car. But, this should not be done under normal driving.
When you shift to a lower gear at high speed, and engine RPM, the gear and cogs inside the transmission assembly take a sudden shock in order to compensate for the downshift.
On a similar note “Dragging” or “Lugging” the car engine isn’t a bright idea either. Lugging happens when the car is at a higher gear with low RPM, and a sudden throttle is applied. This makes the engine work hard in order to accelerate while still operating under the lower gear. This can cause the transmission to wear prematurely and can even break the engine block.
If you are a stick-shift kind of person, then remember to avoid these damaging driving habits. With some time, practice and patience anyone can be a maestro in the art of manual transmission. But, if you don’t want to bother with the nitty-gritty of the manual gear shift then drive something with an Automatic Transmission instead. We have to approve, don’t we? It’s 2021 after all. (*wipes away a stray tear*)
In 2021, the world has been taken over by the novel coronavirus and cars with automatic transmission. Read: The Manual Transmission Is Dying And Here’s Why! #savethestickshift
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