When it comes to cars, the goal for most is to keep one running for as long as possible. The best way to accomplish this is to make sure that your car’s transmission is kept in good running order. For owners of a vehicle that uses a stick shift, some extra steps are necessary if you want to keep your engine running longer. Here are the top tips for maintaining a vehicle with a manual transmission.
Careful on the Clutch
One of the biggest mistakes many new drivers make when learning to drive a stick shift vehicle is not pushing the clutch all the way down. Pushing the clutch down to the floor helps prevent unnecessary strain on your transmission. By making sure to fully engage the clutch, you could be avoiding thousands of dollars in unnecessary repairs and shop fees. Another common mistake that is easy to fall into the habit of is pushing down on the clutch when you aren’t trying to shift gears. Sometimes referred to as “riding the clutch,” doing this puts unnecessary strain on the clutch, meaning more potential damage to your engine.
Brakes Are for Stopping
There is a belief among some manual transmission vehicle owners that it is best to downshift to stop. But drivers who believe in this myth are actually causing more damage to their transmissions than they are preventing in their brake pads. By downshifting to stop, often referred to as engine braking, you are putting unnecessary strain on your gears, which can lead to big problems down the road. Plus, brakes are specifically designed to provide all of the stopping power you need, so there is no upside to continuing to downshift.
Under the Hood
The best way to keep your vehicle on the road is by staying on top of routine maintenance. But while regular oil changes and tune-ups are helpful, it is also advised to have your transmission inspected annually by a professional. Having a pre-established relationship with a transmission expert can also help when you do run into car troubles. A good mechanic can keep your vehicle running smoothly for years to come. Finally, you must be able to recognize and diagnose common clutch issues to avoid permanent damage to your engine and transmission. If you notice something is wrong, it is always better to get it checked than to ignore it.
Following these tips for maintaining a vehicle with a manual transmission will keep your vehicle running long into the future.