- Driving a manual transmission gives you more control over your car and, if performed correctly, can make your driving more fuel efficient. However, if you do not use it correctly, you will end up spending more replacing the clutch than you saved on fuel. Following some specific tips will help you keep your clutch in one piece and save you on expensive maintenance costs.
- The clutch disengages the engine from the crankshaft. Though you may find it easier to just use it partially at times, this partial use actually wears on it. Instead, press the clutch completely down or not at all; avoid "riding" it by pressing it partially as you accelerate, which wears it out.
Of course, this doesn't mean you should always have it all the way up or all the way down. If so, you'll stall far more than your pride can take. Just keep in mind how the clutch works, and try to spend as little time riding it as possible.
- Use the brakes to slow down and stop. This may seem obvious, but you may discover that you can slow down a little by tapping the clutch---not a good idea. Not only does this practice wear out your clutch---it also doesn't turn on your brake lights. Thus, you'll slow down without the knowledge of the drivers around you.
- Gears work by changing power ratios. If an engine only needs to run at 2,000 revolutions per minute (rpm) to maintain a particular speed in fifth gear, it will need a lot more to maintain that speed in second gear. When you downshift, take care to accelerate. Otherwise, you will lurch as your engine puts too few revs into a high-ratio gear, which in turn stresses the clutch, transmission and the entire rest of the engine and can result in costly repairs. To prevent this problem, press the accelerator a little on your downshifts.