Keeping Your Manual Transmission in Top Shape

One of the many advantages of driving a vehicle with a manual transmission is how simple it is compared to automatic transmissions. This simply means that manual transmissions often have fewer problems and last longer than their automatic counterparts, but the extra control afforded by shifting your own gears also means that there's more potential for driver behavior to affect wear and tear on the transmission. How you drive and shift your manual transmission vehicle will greatly affect the life of the transmission and being aware of behaviors that can cause problems will help you to avoid costly repairs down the line.

Avoid Holding the Clutch in at Stops

Many manual transmission drivers keep the clutch pedal depressed to the floor whenever sitting at a stop sign or a red light. It may seem as if there's no harm in this, as the clutch is fully disengaged and the clutch disc itself is not being worn. Unfortunately, holding the clutch in the disengaged position does place wear on the throwout bearing. Because there is almost 100% labor overlap between replacing a throwout bearing and replacing the entire clutch, premature wear on this part can mean a choice between living with the symptoms of a bad bearing or facing a very expensive repair.

Stay on Top of Fluid Changes

The internal parts of your manual transmission are lubricated and that gear oil most likely requires periodic changes. Consult with your vehicle manufacturer's recommended service schedule to determine how often this service should be performed. In some cases, the manufacturer may have used a lifetime fluid and will not recommend any particular change interval. While following the manufacturer's recommendations is usually best, it is worthwhile to do a little more research in these cases, especially if your vehicle is higher mileage. Lifetime fluid is often better described as long interval fluid, and may still begin to break down as it creeps up towards the 100,000-mile mark and beyond.

Don't Drop the Clutch

Dropping the clutch is the act of revving the engine up to near redline and then immediately and quickly engaging the clutch. This technique is often used for rapid starts, but it has little or no place in regular street driving. More importantly, it places a huge amount of wear not only on your transmission but on the drivetrain as a whole. Ironically, dropping the clutch does not significantly wear the clutch itself, as it will engage rapidly with minimal slip. Instead, the engine's power is violently transmitted to the rest of the drivetrain. This can potentially damage the driveshaft or differential, and it the sudden power connection can also do damage to your transmission mounts or the transmission itself.

Manual transmissions tend to be durable and long lasting. If you take care to drive them properly and stay on top of maintenance, your transmission is sure to last for years and give you little, if any, trouble. For more information about transmission repair, contact services such as B G & S Transmissions.