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Things You Should Never Do to a Manual Transmission Car

Too many of us have bad habits when it comes to driving a car or truck with a manual transmission. Here’s a good reminder on things you should never do to a manual transmission car or truck that while might not seem to be a problem immediately, does result in premature wear of your clutch as well as damage to your transmission.


A Drive Down Memory Lane

One of the smells I will never forget is that of cooked rubber from a burning clutch the first time I drove a stick shift car as a 14-year-old kid helping my older brother pick up a 2nd car he bought used and wanted to take home.

Sure, I knew how to drive a stick. I had my share of dirt bikes, so I understood the basics of squeeze the clutch handle, let off the gas, shift, ease off the clutch, increase throttle and go. I had seen it done many times in our dad’s old Chevy and I was more than familiar with driving an old red and grey Ford tractor while working on the farm---which you would think would be more difficult in practice if not in theory.

So, driving my brother’s El Camino should have been a snap. I was so wrong.

Long story short, by the time we both got home it was a good thing my brother now had a second car because the one he put me in developed some serious shifting problems. One whiff from his El Camino when I arrived told him everything he needed to know. I was relegated back to tractors after that for the next two years.

Manual Transmission Bad Driving Habits

This trip down memory lane was initiated by a recent Car Care Nut YouTube channel episode where the host provides a reminder about some of the bad driving habits car and truck owners have with a manual transmission vehicle either because they forgot how to drive one after years of vehicles with an automatic transmission; or, no one ever bothered to teach them all the tricks they need beyond the basics.

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To help you understand or jog your memory about how a clutch operates, here is a useful video that shows the how’s and why’s of clutch operation in a manual transmission vehicle:

How a Clutch Works

The Car Care Nut

Now that you can see why it’s up to the driver to control the friction between the clutch and the flywheel in a manual transmission vehicle, the following video will make sense as you follow the host’s sound advice about bad driving habits that can result in premature wear and/or severe damage to the extent of literally burning up your clutch plate as well as driving habits related to operating the clutch improperly that can cause transmission damage.

In the video the host will explain why you should never:

• Ride the clutch by pushing only halfway down on the pedal during a shift.
• Leave your foot resting on the clutch.
• While stopped at a stop light hold the clutch down waiting for the light to change in preparation of shifting into a low gear.
• Use your clutch to prevent rolling backwards when stopped on a hill slope.
• Fail to properly rev-match your gear change with the engine speed.
• Drive with your hand perpetually on the gear shift knob.
• Use more force than necessary to move the shift lever.
• Use the lower gears to gear-brake your vehicle.
• Overuse 2nd gear.
• Skip your manual transmission recommended fluid change period.

Never Do THIS to Your Manual Transmission Car

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Timothy Boyer is a Torque News automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites for daily new and used vehicle news.

Image Source: Pixabay