Five BIGGEST mistakes people make while driving a manual gearbox-equipped car

With the rising popularity of automatic transmission, India remains one of the largest markets that prefer a manual transmission. Most of the Indians are pro when it comes to the manuals. Most of us learn how to operate an automobile with manual transmission. But there are still many things that we do wrong unknowingly. What are these habits and how it is ruining your vehicle? Well, here are five of them.

Not using the clutch properly

Drivers of manual transmission cars are much more active while driving the car as compared to the drivers with automatic transmission, primarily because of the clutch. The driver needs to constantly engage the clutch as different times, depending on the speed you want to keep your car in. The clutch is the link between the transmission and the engine and hence makes it one of the most important parts for a smooth driving experience. The perfect application of the clutch leads to higher mileage, and long life for the transmission, engine and the clutch as well. Many a time, people only half-press the clutch while changing gears.

Engaging the clutch only halfway makes the transmission gear grind and reduces the life of the parts. Also, in a running car, when you go beyond the biting point for your clutch and even then I the clutch is slightly depressed, it is called riding on the clutch. While this is happening, if the clutch is not fully engaged, it will cause the car to slip a bit and abnormal wear of the car takes place.

Using the clutch pedal as dead pedal

Most of the manual cars do not come with a dead pedal. A dead pedal is used as a spot near the pedals to rest your foot so that you don’t accidentally press on a pedal unnecessarily. This leads to a lot of drivers, resting their foot on the clutch pedal. The clutch pedal for diesel cars is generally harder than compared to a petrol car. The driver in both cases should make sure that he/she is not engaging the clutch at all.

The clutch is extremely light in petrol cars and hence resting your foot and putting any kind of unwanted pressure on the clutch can lead it to disengage the clutch partially and causing it to slip and wear off quickly. This problem can be solved by making a habit to rest your foot on the floorboard instead of the clutch. This will help you a lot in the longer run.

Using the gear lever as an armrest

Some drivers are habitual to rest their arms on the clutch lever while driving. Car manufacturers did a desperate attempt to change this by adding the armrest feature for the driver as well, however, there are still a lot of budget cars that don’t come with armrests. Keeping your hand on the lever may seem like harmless, however, the gear is connected with a lot of springs and ball bearings that help it to manoeuvre the speed of the car.

Your innocent resting hand could be putting external pressure on the gear lever, which could lead to the springs loosening up over time or grind the ball bearings, reducing their lives. Not only it speeds up the ageing process of the transmission, but it is also going to burn a hole in your pocket while you get it repaired.

Putting the car in reverse gear when in motion

There are quite a few drivers who love to pull the stunt wherein they engage the reverse gear of the car while it’s still in forwarding motion. This simple act can have drastic results. Engaging the reverse gear while the car is still moving can bring the car to a third small gear called the idler. It changes the direction of the motion of the gear, which puts it in reverse. The reverse gear when put in a moving car, grinds the gear intensely and therefore could lead to extensive damage in the transmission.

Lugging the engine (Driving the car in a higher gear at low rpm)

It is an unsaid rule that keeping your car in higher gear will give a higher mileage. Even then, many drivers try to keep their cars on lower RPMs. Driving the car on a higher gear position but on a lower speed will have a negative impact on the transmission of the car. Engaging your car on a higher gear means less number of teeth on the gearing which leads to a relaxed engine, but if the lower gearing does not get enough power to accelerate, it can cause major damage to your car’s mechanicals over a period of time.

Shantonil Nag

Shantonil brings a refined blend of expertise and enthusiasm to motoring journalism at With a career spanning over 11 years, he anchors Cartoq's insightful car reviews and test drives. His journalistic journey began as a correspondent at, where he honed his skills in content writing and scripting car reviews. Later, as Senior Editor for, his expanded role included curating and structuring web content. At, his expanded role includes assisting the video team to create high-quality car reviews. (Full bio)