Tips, Tricks & Trends

The Worst Things You Can Do To Your Manual Transmission

Driving a manual transmission may seem like a thing of the past, but true driving enthusiasts know better. While the new mid-engine Corvette might have ditched the option for a stick shift, there are still plenty of sports cars that still offer them. Whether you are buying a newer car or an older classic, there are some major mistakes you should avoid making if you don’t want to damage your manual transmission, and some of them are pretty common mistakes that many of us don’t even realize we were making.

Take care of your manual transmission

If you’ve never heard of ‘money shifting’ you’ve probably heard it happen once or twice. Money shifting happens when you accidentally miss the gear you are intending to shift into or aggressively downshift, so instead of shifting into 4th gear maybe you shifted back into 2nd gear. It’s called a money shift because when it happens, it will cost you a lot of money to repair. Doing this a few times on your manual transmission will no doubt hurt the clutch, but it still takes some serious mis-shifting to cause damage.

Man drives manual transmission
Driving stick shift | Motortion/Getty Images

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This next one is surprising: you aren’t supposed to leave your hand on the shift knob. When I heard this one, I was more than a little confused. For the years that I have had manual transmission cars, it only feels natural to let me hand rest on the shift knob. For many of us, it’s a habit that is hard to break, and you can catch manual transmission drivers holding on to shift knobs even in automatic cars. I’m skeptical on this one, but more than a few sources have made this argument.

For your personal safety

Having your gear selector in place at a light doesn’t necessarily harm your car, and if you’re at a stop your foot is probably resting on the clutch anyways. If you’re in heavy stop-and-go traffic or you are anticipating a light change chances are you might have the shift knob in first as you anticipate moving forward. This isn’t usually a problem, however, if you get rear-ended while at a stop your natural reaction will be to come off of the clutch, and it will send you sputtering forward before the car stalls.

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Some of these tips I found to be obvious, like shifting properly, but others are things almost all of us are guilty of. While I will probably continue resting my hand on the shift knob for comfort, it will add a little bit more stress to my day to know that I could potentially wear out my shift forks. Are you guilt of any of these? And, at the end of the day, do we really care that much, or is wearing out our manual transmission just an expectation most of us have?