Driving a car with manual transmission can be a lot of fun and thrill, but there may be some habits that you do unconsciously and prevent you from using your car to the best of its ability.
Despite the growing popularity of automatic transmission car in recent years, a traditional manual car is still considered the best friend of a “true man” and who is able to operate a manual car is deemed the better driver. A manual car gives you total freedom and control over what happens to the car, so basically whatever skills and habits you have in driving are all you have got and there is little assistance from smart automation. Some natural tendencies that you do out of habit might not be that great both to your car’s performance and your own safety. 5 bad habits that you should avoid while driving a manual car are as follows.
1. Do not let your hands off the driving wheel
A lot of people have the habit of having one hand on the driving wheel and one hand on the stick shift while driving. While the posture is relaxing for the driver and may look cool to some people, it should not be done.
First of all, there are all sorts of unexpected events that can happen when you are on the road, especially on busy urban streets. In surprising and dangerous events such as a car suddenly pulling in front of you, you would want to have both hands on the driving wheel to have the best control of the car. No matter how confident you are with your driving, one hand on the wheel is never enough to take on the demands of abrupt controlled swerving. Of course, everybody is entitled to his or her own opinions, and you can choose to manoeuvre around with one hand as there is no law in India that requires you to maintain both hands on the driving wheel, but you need to understand that using only one hand may put you and others in danger.
Moreover, resting the “free” hand on the gear level is likely to damage your gearbox for good and we all know what a hassle it is to have the gearbox replaced.
Keeping both hands on the driving wheel gives you more control of the car
2. Do not use the gear stick as your hand rest
We have seen many drivers keep their hands on the gear stick even when they are not changing gear, and if you are also guilty of this habit, we strongly advise that you change this bad practice. You may wonder why using the stick shift as a hand rest is a bad habit, and the short answer is: that habit is destroying your car.
To understand why it is ruining your manual transmission car, you need to understand how the gearbox works. Inside the transmission box, there is a selector fork, which connects the gear shift to the rest of the gearbox, and when you change gears, the selector fork is forced into the gear that you choose with your stick shift. Using the gear stick as your hand rest makes the selector fork to always be in contact with the rotating collar even when you are not changing gears, and it wears out both the selector fork and the rotating collar prematurely. So where should you keep your supposedly “free” hand? On the driving wheel, of course.
Resting your hand on the gear shift pushes the selector fork and ruins your gearbox
3. Do not use the clutch pedal as your footrest
Like the practice of using the gear stick as a hand rest, the habit of resting your foot on the clutch pedal is to be avoided at all costs, too. Other than wearing out the clutch prematurely, the act, which is often called “clutch riding”, causes many problems with your car and your driving. In some emergency situations, as the foot is rested on the clutch pedal, many people mistakenly push the clutch lever instead of the brake lever and get into an accident. Also, when you put your foot on the clutch pedal without actually pushing on it, you are engaging the clutch partially and may result in slippage, which creates a loss in transmission energy and decreases fuel deficiency.
Many cars nowadays have a dead pedal that is situated right next to the clutch pedal, and it is the cannot-be-more-perfect place to rest your foot.
Clutch riding entails a list of negative results for your car and your safety
4. Do not use the clutch pedal to hold on an incline
Another thing that many drivers are guilty of regarding the clutch pedal is abusing it in hilly areas. When your car is on a slope, in order to hold it in place, you may instinctively use the clutch pedal, but the thing is that you do not use it fully or leave it alone, you partially engage it at the “biting point”. You also use the throttle to support the car at the same time. This practice creates friction and wears out the clutch like no others. If you want to destroy your clutch at the fastest speed, be our guest and use the clutch biting point. If you are not interested in ruining your precious clutch, stop doing it and use the handbrake instead.
There are many other (and much better) ways to hold your car on an incline, depending on what model you are using. For example, if your car has the hill hold feature, you can take advantage of it as it usually holds the car for about 2 - 3 seconds after the driver lets go of the brake pedal.
Using the clutch biting point to hold on an incline is the best way to destroy your clutch
5. Do not shift gears without pushing the clutch pedal
The clutch pedal is mentioned so many times in this article because the sad truth is that many drivers are so easy to abuse it. The basic function of the clutch is that it transfers power from the engine to the gearbox and helps with gear engagement. Thus, generally speaking, whatever you do that deals with gear and changing speed, THINK of (not use) the clutch pedal. But here is the catch with how the clutch pedal works: when you push the pedal, the clutch disengages the engine and the transmission, and when you release the pedal, the clutch engages. Usually, you would think that pushing something would make it do its job, but the clutch is the exact opposite, so be careful with how you handle it.
When you are driving and want to shift gears, it is highly recommended that you disconnect the engine and the transmission so you can shift with ease, which translates into6 engaging the clutch and pushing the pedal. If you shift gears without pushing the clutch pedal, you risk damaging the transmission system and the engine.
Not using the clutch pedal while shifting gears may cause dire consequences to your car
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