The manual transmission has been around for as long as the automobile has been mass-produced. More recently, though, automatic transmissions mostly have replaced manual gearboxes, but not completely. According to House Grail, about 13 percent of vehicles in the United States have manual transmissions. Here are five tips on how to care for it.
1. Regularly Replace the Transmission Fluid
A manual transmission uses fluid to help protect the gearbox and other moving parts. That fluid should be changed about every 30,000 to 60,000 miles. If you regularly use your vehicle for towing, the fluid change should happen about every 15,000 to 30,000 miles.
2. Don’t Ride the Clutch
You should be careful with the clutch and only use it when shifting. You should either completely engage the clutch pedal or leave your foot off of it to prevent the need for car inspections of the manual transmission. Unfortunately, it can be very tempting to leave your foot on the clutch pedal while driving. Doing so could accelerate clutch wear and tear.
3. No Jack Rabbit Starts
When you accelerate from a stop, you need to go easy on the gas while shifting gears. The harder you accelerate, the harder it is on the gears, which can wear down faster than when going slow and easy. Jackrabbit starts will shorten the service life of your manual transmission and might cause metal pieces to break off of the gears.
4. Watch for Fluid Leaks
A manual transmission should retain all of its fluid. If the fluid level is low, a leak is the cause. Car inspections should include looking for signs of fluid leaking from the manual transmission and clutch housing. A sure sign is any staining on the metal outside of the clutch housing that leads to a connection point.
5. Check Fluid Level During Oil Changes
You might have a manual transmission that includes a dipstick for checking the fluid level. If so, checking the fluid level is as easy as checking the engine oil level. Unfortunately, most manual transmissions do not have dipsticks to check the fluid level. When that is the case, you can pay for an oil change service and ask that the technician also check the fluid level in the manual transmission, which shouldn’t take more than a minute to do.
It doesn’t matter if you drive a sports car, pickup, or another vehicle with a manual transmission. Regular maintenance is important to avoid running into issues! You can call or visit us to schedule manual transmission services and car inspections for your vehicles.