4 Things You Should Never do with a Manual Transmission

Although a vehicle with a manual transmission is rare in North America, there are a few vehicles, such as the new Camaro, Corvette, and Cruze, that are offered as a manual option. But if you’re not careful, you could end up damaging the transmission which can end up costing thousands of dollars. So here are 4 things you should never do with a manual transmission vehicle.

1. Never Rest Your Hand Over the Shifter

Inside a manual transmission is a selector fork that gets controlled by the shifter. That fork applies pressure to a rotating collar which engages the gear you want. By resting your hand over the shifter, you’re putting pressure on that selector fork which in turn is putting pressure and rubbing against the rotating collar. Over time that collar will wear out to the point where it becomes more and more difficult to shift into gears. That’s when you will start to hear that familiar grinding noise when shifting and replacing the worn out parts will cost a lot of money as it involves removing the transmission out of the vehicle and tearing down the gearbox. It is a time consuming process.

2. Don’t Leave it in Gear When Stopped

When you come at a stop light, you should always leave the gearbox in neutral. I don’t mean engaging the clutch while the gear shifter is in 1st gear. I mean leave the gear shifter in the neutral position with your foot off the clutch pedal. Every Time you depress the clutch pedal, a lever in the bell housing (where the clutch is located, between the engine and transmission) presses against a bearing which in turn releases the pressure off the clutch so that you can easily shift into another gear. However that bearing is spinning at thousands of rotations per minute and when you’re pressing on that clutch pedal and engaging this bearing, you’re adding unnecessary wear on the bearing.

3. Don’t Use the Clutch to Hold the Vehicle on a Hill

When you’re on a hill in a vehicle with an automatic transmission, you can let go of the brake and the vehicle will stay in the same spot without rolling backwards. That’s due to the fluid connection inside the torque converter transferring the engine’s power to the wheels. Unfortunately in a vehicle with a manual transmission, there is no fluid connection. It’s mechanical. So you should never try to hold your vehicle on a hill by feathering the throttle and clutch simultaneously because this causes, you guess it, premature wear of the clutch. If it’s not a steep hill and the vehicle behind you left some room, just let your vehicle roll backwards a bit while you move your right foot off the brake pedal and onto the throttle while slowly releasing the clutch. If it’s a steeper hill, use your hand brake to prevent the vehicle from rolling backwards. Depress the clutch pedal, put it into 1st gear, pull on the handbrake, release the foot brake, and slowly apply throttle while releasing the clutch pedal and releasing the handbrake.

4. Don’t rest Your Foot Over the Clutch Pedal When Driving

When you’re pressing on the clutch pedal, what you’re actually doing is making the clutch momentarily slip and rub against the flywheel. This slipping is what gives the vehicle the smooth acceleration off the line but it also causes wear and induces heat into the clutch disc. So when you’re in gear and driving down the road, it’s best to rest your left foot off the clutch pedal. The weight of your foot resting on the pedal can cause light pressure to be applied to the clutch. As the engine rotates at one speed and the transmission at another, the friction of two different materials generates a lot of heat causing premature wear and eventually clutch failure. All vehicles (with the exception of maybe a Lotus) have something called a “dead pedal” on the left of the clutch pedal. That’s where your left foot should be positioned when you’re not shifting gears.