Seven Things You Shouldn't Do In a Manual Car
We're all guilty of these acts at some point in our driving lives, but most of us don't realise the added danger, or the damaging effects on our car!
We're all guilty of these acts at some point in our driving lives, but most of us don't realise the added danger we put ourselves in, or the damaging effects they may have on our cars!
If you're driving a manual car, it's well worth the conscious effort to snuff out these bad driving habits
Leaving Your Car In Gear At Red Lights
It sounds routine doesn't it? Pull up at the red lights, wait with the clutch engaged and foot on the brake. Most likely one of those acts you perform subconsciously!
Not to mention the wear you're putting on your leg muscles, you're actually putting very unnecessary strain on the clutch. Not a good habit to be in!
Our solution: Quite simple! Stick the car in neutral and put the handbrake on. The longer the car is in neutral, the less wear & tear the clutch experiences.
It could be argued that by sitting at the lights with the clutch down & in gear, you're able to make a quick getaway. You're not racing! Realistically it only takes a few seconds to put the car back into gear and pull away once the lights change.
Resting Your Hand On The Gear Stick
You'd be forgiven for not giving a thought as to what's going on behind the scenes when you change gear!
However, every time you do make a gear change, the selector fork inside the gearbox will contact against rotating parts to select the corresponding gear.
If you have the habit of resting your hand on the gearstick, you may be causing unnecessary pressure on the selector fork. Over a long period of time, this can speed up the wear & tear on the gearbox - resulting in noisy or crunching gears or even failing to select a gear entirely.
Our Solution is extremely simple! Change gear, remove your hand entirely and don't touch it again until you need to perform another gear change. Ideally put your hand back on the wheel!
READ MORE: 5 Driving Habits That Will Get You Penalised
Using The Clutch To Hold Your Car On a Hill
Now rightly so, stopping behind traffic or in general on an incline, one of your priorities is making sure your car doesn't start rolling backwards. One habit some of us use in this situation is holding the clutch on the biting point - it's actually a skill!
However, this does result in burning up the friction material on your clutch disc, and the clutch will be spinning at one speed while the engine's pressure plate is moving at another.
Not to mention the risk of rolling back into the car behind you if you miss the biting point or end up stalling!
Our Solution: Again, very simple! Simply put the handbrake on and sit in neutral until it's time to move off. Trust us, it will be very beneficial in the long run!
Flooring Your Vehicle When Engine Revs Are Low
This one takes a bit of explaining! For example, if you're travelling at 40mph in fifth gear it's not a great idea to start flooring the accelerator!
What you're essentially doing is sending your car mixed messages. At low revs, your car will naturally be in a state of relax. Whereas by flooring the accelerator you're telling it to work!
By doing this you're causing your engine undue stress, which over a period of time will certainly take it's toll!
If you need to build up speed you've generally got 2 options: Gently apply the accelerator, or if you need to put your foot down, change down!
READ MORE: Littering Drivers Hit By Fines!
Resting Your Foot On The Clutch
Some of us are naturally inclined to rest our foot on the clutch pedal. Not a great habit!
What this action does is essentially cause the clutch release bearing to be in contact with the clutch cover - creating friction when there doesn't need to be. Over time, this can lead to a very noisy clutch, and that's the best case scenario! Ultimately it can lead to a complete clutch failure - a costly repair!
Our Solution? If for example you're on the motorway and you've found your ideal speed & gear, rest your left foot off the clutch completely. Not only will this prevent the aforementioned damage but it's actually much more comfortable!
Coasting In Neutral
Firstly, we will admit the habit of coasting in neutral is not the worst habit in the world, as it won't cause any particularly damaging effects to your car.
However, it's your own safety you should be concerned about with this habit! You don't technically have complete control over your car when it's in neutral. You can't suddenly accelerate out of sticky situations and you lose engine braking, running the risk of overheating the brakes when going downhill.
Our Solution? Leave the car in gear if you want to coast! The fuel system in modern cars means that coasting is no longer beneficial to fuel efficiency... so there's really no point in coasting in neutral anymore!
READ MORE: Driving In The Dark - Staying Safe!
Releasing The Clutch Too Early
Ideally, you obviously want your car to ride as smoothly as possible! Releasing the clutch to early will jerk your vehicle forwards, and place undue pressure on the transmission.
It can also overheat the clutch - a recipe for disaster over a long period of time! This is actually quite a common problem with newer drivers, as they naturally struggle to find the biting point.
This problem naturally sorts itself out over time as you become more and more used to your car's clutch. So our solution would be to try and get into the habit of making sure your gear change is 100% complete before you even think about lifting your foot off the clutch, and do so at a reasonable speed.