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”.
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.
|#GoFact- The ICRA Service Report states that a staggering 91% of Indian cars on the road are manual transmission cars with only 9% being automatic or some variant of an automatic transmission.|
Using the gear lever as a hand-rest
This is a mistake almost every one is guilty of committing. When you shift a 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 kills the transmission, also evident by the grinding sound it makes when an opposing gear is initiated while the car is in motion. This can be a very probable cause for an early transmission failure. Make it 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 dis-engage briefly but, not for an extended period of time. By doing this, you are forcing the bearings to push against the diaphragm and the pressure plate which wears out the friction material on the plates faster than usual. It is wiser to put the car in neutral and relieving the stress to the clutch while at a red light.
Resting the foot on the clutch pedal
The clutch pedal is not a footrest. You are inadvertently straining the clutch and its components. Even the lightest of 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 it 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.1