Drive a manual? Check out our advice on what you shouldn’t do!
1. Leave your car in gear at a red light
We all stop at traffic lights and wait with the clutch down, first gear engaged with our foot on the break. As much as this might be easier, it’s not only wearing out your leg muscles but putting needless strain on the clutch.
It’s always much better to put your car into neutral so the clutch is spared unnecessary wear and tear. We often defend our actions by saying we can make a quick getaway when in reality it takes a second to put the car back into gear.
2. Rest your foot on the clutch pedal
We all do it at some point. Sometimes we are more inclined to drive with our foot resting on the clutch pedal. This can cause the clutch release bearing to be in contact with the clutch cover and creates friction when it doesn’t need to be and over time, will lead to noise and failure of the clutch, which is an expensive repair.
Not only does this cause the clutch to wear out prematurely, but it also reduces fuel efficiency.
3. Resting your hand on the gear stick
When changing gears you probably don’t think about what’s happening behind the scenes. Every time you change gears, a selector fork inside the gearbox, contacts against rotating parts to select the gear.
Resting your hand on the gear stick while it’s in gear may cause you to unwittingly apply pressure to the fork and components. In the long run, this can speed up wear and tear of the gearbox, leading to noisy or crunching gears, or possible failure to select a gear.
Always keep your hands on the wheel as much as possible!
4. Use the clutch to hold your car on a hill
If you have to stop behind traffic while going up a hill, you need to make sure your car isn’t rolling backwards. Many of us will hold onto the clutch biting point to keep ourselves steady on the incline.
However, by doing this, you’re burning up the friction material on your clutch disc as the clutch will be spinning at one speed while the engine’s pressure plate is moving at another.
Also, you could end up rolling backwards if the biting point is not controlled or missed.
If you have to stop, apply the handbrake and keep your car still until it is time to move off. Most cars come with a manual hill-hold assistance technology which helps!
5. Floor your vehicle when engine revs are low
At low RPM’s your car thinks it should be sitting back and relaxing, whereas your foot is telling it to work really, really hard. This causes your engine stress which will eventually take a toll on it’s health.
If you need to build up speed, you’re better off gently applying the accelerator pedal or shifting down the gears before putting your foot down.
6. Coast in neutral to save fuel
This method used to be used all the time to try and save fuel, however in modern cars coasting is no longer beneficial for energy efficiency. You also don’t have full control over the car when it’s in neutral!
It means you can’t suddenly accelerate out of a sticky situation and you lose engine braking, running the risk of overheating the brakes when going downhill.