Five things you shouldn’t do while driving a manual

Engineering Explained has made a brilliant video describing the most common practices that one should avoid while driving a manual gearbox equipped car. Since most of the cars available in India (below a certain price tag) are manuals, this is relevant to our market as well. Follow closely as we quickly explain the pet peeves. Also, don’t forget to check the video at the end of the article.

Resting hand on the gear lever

Solution: Keep your hands off the gear lever when not in use

Unless you drive like a race-driver (with thumbs at the 10 o clock and 2 o clock or 9 o clock and 3 o clock positions), there’s a good chance that your left hand sits on the shifter. That has two majorly wrong consequences: one, it means that your control over the steering reduces; and two, you end up, inadvertently, wearing the selector fork. Stop doing that!

Leaving the car in gear

Solution: Select neutral and use the handbrake

You stop at the traffic light and instead of shifting to neutral, you leave it in gear with the clutch depressed. Now if the car is switched off and you have taken your foot off the clutch, then it doesn’t make any difference. However, if you have the ignition turned on, then it means that you are exerting an extra pressure on the clutch’s throwout bearing. Excessive pressure will lead to premature wear, and that will eventually mean a replacement. All this can be avoided by just coming to a halt, switching to neutral, and engaging the handbrake.

Use clutch to stop the car from rolling (at an incline)

Solution: Use the handbrake (in most everyday scenarios)

In the lack of a hill-start assist, what most drivers do is that they use the clutch to power the car upwards. By reaching an equilibrium between the force pulling the car downwards and the applied pull by the engine, the car stays in place. A tricky situation, going uphill, but due to the partial engagement of clutch, the wear is higher than in normal scenario. Like in the point above, the handbrake can be used to ensure the car doesn’t go in reverse (direction). To move from a stationary position, all one needs to do is apply throttle (and gradually let go of the clutch), and as soon as you feel the vehicle is about to move (while releasing the clutch), release the handbrake. It’s easier than it sounds, but certainly needs some practice.

Too much throttle in a higher gear (when revs are low)

Solution: Drop down a gear when you need power

There’s a tendency of misinformed drivers to shift up the gears so that the engine doesn’t rev too much and then use the top gear to make progress. Diesel engines have their torque and power developed at lower rpms, so one can shift without the need to increase the revs too much, but even then early shifts and added throttle don’t work well together. While early shifts are alright if you aren’t going fast, but if you intend to do so, then shift down a gear or two.

Rest your foot on the clutch pedal

Solution: Dead pedal

he reason you have a dead pedal/foot rest in your car is that you must take your foot off the clutch pedal when it’s not in use. Resting the foot on the pedal itself means you might end up riding the clutch, which is again harmful for the clutch as well as the throwout bearing.