Even though the popularity of the automatic transmission in India is increasing, the manual transmission option remains the choice of the majority. Learning driving on a manual car is a great addition to the skillsets but there are many who keep on doing silly mistakes that destroy the clutch of the car and shortens life drastically. Well, here are six bad habits that should be avoided while driving a manual car and if you’re driving one, keep these common mistakes and bad habits in mind to ensure proper, long life of your clutch system.
Slipping the clutch for more pick-up
A clutch sits between the transmission and the engine, which makes it one of the most critical components of a car. There are many who engage the clutch partially thinking that it will provide faster acceleration. However, partial engagement of a clutch means that the full power of the engine is not getting transmitted. The partial engagement of clutch also causes the engine revs to rise quickly, which gives a feeling that the car is going quicker. However, that’s not the case. For quicker acceleration, one needs to fine-tune the balance between releasing the clutch and pushing the accelerator. But keep in mind that such launches shorten the life of the clutch.
Tip: If you want wheelspin, you have to learn the art of releasing the clutch as quickly as possible without knocking the engine. The clutch is substantially damaged after every wheelspin but we agree that the joys are immense.
Riding the clutch
Riding the clutch happens when you do not release the clutch pedal completely. It is different from slipping the clutch. If the car is already in motion and has gone past the biting point where the clutch input is not needed yet the clutch is slightly depressed is called riding the clutch. During this, the clutch is not fully engaged causing it to slip a bit and abnormal wear happens. This is one of the most common mistakes that people do while driving a manual car.
Using clutch pedal as a footrest
Most manual cars do not offer a dead pedal. This is why many manual car drivers choose to rest their left foot on the clutch and use it as a dead pedal. The slight pressure keeps the clutch partially engaged and it hampers the car’s fuel efficiency and even acceleration. Over a long period, the clutch wears out quicker. The clutch is very light in petrol cars and even the slightest weight on the pedal will cause it to disengage the clutch partially, causing it to slip and wear quickly.
Tip: Make it a conscious effort to put your left foot resting on the floorboard.
Releasing the clutch too soon
Releasing the clutch is a skill that you gain after practice. Every other car has a different bite point in the clutch and reaching that bite point without input from accelerator will cause the car to jerk. This overheats the clutch and deteriorates the clutch quickly. To understand this in a better way, the clutch is a pressure plate that transfers the engine power to the transmission. The engine flywheel is always revolving when the engine is on. When stationary and the clutch is in neutral, the transmission and the engine flywheel are disconnected. When the first gear is engaged and the clutch is released slowly, the clutch plates start to engage, which in turn moves the transmission and car moves ahead. If the clutch is released quickly, the transmission, which is stationary will apply opposite force and the clutch will wear off much quicker than normal usage. Releasing the clutch quickly can also do serious damage to the transmission.
Tip: You will find the sweet spot in your car’s clutch after a good amount of driving around. Always practice reaching that point in sync with the accelerator’s input.
Inching forward in traffic using the clutch
Many people inch forward in heavy traffic situations by slowly releasing the clutch and slowly inch forward. However, this takes a heavy toll on the clutch. It is always a good idea to stop the car and not move ahead until there is enough space. If you know that you’re not going to move in the next 20 seconds. Stop and put the car in neutral. This disengages the clutch completely. Holding the clutch pedal down for long periods can damage the ball bearing in the clutch assembly. Even though the bearings can be replaced but that can be done only after the whole set-up is taken out. Also, you save your left foot from unnecessary pressure by not holding down on the clutch for too long at the signals.
Balancing on inline using the clutch
This happens during climbing an incline. We tend to use clutch and accelerator to hold the car on an incline instead of applying brakes. This causes the clutch to quickly overheat and sometimes fail instantly. This also brings down the life of the clutch drastically. The clutch transfers enough power to the transmission to keep the car from rolling backwards but at the same time, the clutch is slipping and generating excessive heat causing huge damage in the process.