A close up of a shifter on a manual vehicle.If you drive a manual transmission vehicle, you want to take good care of your clutch system. Beyond standard maintenance and repairs,  you can also work to improve your own driving habits. Whether you like to ride the clutch or shift too aggressively, you could be putting unnecessary strain on the clutch components. This can lead to costly damage to the clutch system, and potentially even to the transmission itself.

Here are 6 simple tips from Ralph’s Transmission to help protect your clutch components when driving:

1. Don’t Ride the Clutch

Many of us do it without realizing it, but it’s actually really bad for the clutch system. “Riding the clutch” is when you keep your left foot rested on the clutch pedal in between shifting. Even the slightest bit of pressure can engage the system, causing unnecessary heat and friction and eventually wearing out the plates and bearings. It is a good habit to simply rest your left foot flat on the floor when you are not shifting.

2. Be Decisive

It can be easy to be a little indecisive while driving a manual transmission vehicle and shifting back and forth between gears. Don’t shift more than you need to and be decisive when you do shift. If you constantly shift back and forth, in and out of gear, you will put more strain and wear on the sensitive clutch components.

3. Don’t Be So Aggressive

Sure, it’s fun to take off like a bat out of hell and shift violently and aggressively between gears. Some high-performance sports cars are designed for this kind of torque and abuse, but most average manual transmission vehicles aren’t. Be thoughtful and smooth with your shifting to avoid grinding the gears and damaging the clutch equipment (or possibly causing internal transmission damage).

4. Leave it in Neutral When Stopped

It’s much better to leave the vehicle in neutral when you are stopped. Again, keeping the clutch pedal pressed down and staying in gear while you also have the brake engaged is another way to put unnecessary wear and tear on the clutch system.

5. Use the Handbrake When Parking

Leaving the vehicle in gear when parked is also going to put some extra strain on the clutch components. It is sometimes necessary on hills and uneven surfaces. Otherwise, use your handbrake or parking brake to keep the vehicle from rolling rather than the keeping it in gear.

6. Don’t Slip the Clutch

“Slipping” the clutch is when you alternately apply and release the clutch pedal in an effort to get the vehicle moving from a stop. It is often done when towing or hauling heavy loads. It is best to use lower gears when appropriate and avoid slipping the clutch, because it will really put a lot of unnecessary wear and tear on the clutch system.

If you are in need of clutch or transmission repair in the Central Valley, call Ralph’s Transmission today at 209.526.1909 or schedule your service online.

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