Compared to automatics, manual transmissions require less and simpler maintenance. It is merely because manual transmissions have fewer moving components. In other words, routine maintenance is also cheaper. Still, you cannot underestimate the importance of regular manual transmission maintenance. Keep in mind that a properly functional transmission is a key of smooth gears shifting. If you don’t want your car suddenly stop just because the transmission is broken, you should know at least some basics of manual transmission maintenance. A quick guide to manual transmission maintenance will help mitigate problems that may happen with your car.
A Quick Guide to Manual Transmission Maintenance: Dealing with the common problems
As a car owner, knowing some common manual transmission issues is a necessity. Issues concerning manual transmission can be caused by abuse, improper maintenance, or high mileage. However, most of the time, the problems originate from connected parts such as the linkage, driveline, or clutch assembly.
Whatever the cause is, recognizing the symptom of worn-out transmission is crucial. After you know that there’s something wrong with the transmission, you can diagnose the problem. You can start by collecting elaborate data concerning the actual problem. Does the problem happen solely at a precise speed? Does it appear in only one of the gears? Can you feel the vibration?
By diagnosing the problems, you can take follow-up actions to fix them. Some problems might be able to be solved on your own while some others should be repaired by a technician.
Knowing the Symptoms of a Bad Transmission
As mentioned earlier, recognizing the signs of a bad transmission is very important. Here are some common symptoms and what to do about them.
- Odd sounds
Thumping, squealing, bumping, or whirring are examples of odd sounds that can come from the manual transmission. Usually, this loud transmission is caused by low oil. As a result, the gears start to whir or hum. If the transmission has enough oil but there is odd sound coming from it, it is probably because the oil is contaminated with metal particles. The other thing that can be the source of noisy transmission is worn or broken synchronizer.
It’s important to note that such odd sounds do not always occur due to the transmission. Before blaming the transmission, check other components such the drive axle inner CV joint and the engine.
- Grinding noise
A grinding noise is the other sign of bad transmission. This noise comes from clashing gears. Listen to the noise carefully. If the noise occurs when downshifting, there might be problems with the synchronizer. A dragging clutch can also be a source of this noise.
- The transmission jumps out of gear
This problem happens when the gear is shifted. Although there are many reasons that can lead to this problem, the common reasons are misaligned transmission, loose shifted cover, broken great teeth, and misaligned clutch housing.
- Hard shifting
Have you ever found it difficult to change the shift from one gear to another? When it happens, you should check the oil level, the synchronizer, and some internal parts like levers, shafts, and shift fork. It can be difficult to fix these components on your own. Directly consult the nearest service station to have your transmission repaired whenever the gear shifting is not smooth. Leaving this problem unattended may lead to a more severe problem.
Tips to Avoid Manual Transmission Damage
The car transmission is a crucial part of the drivetrain but it is often overlooked by many drivers. Some drivers even fall into bad manual transmission driving habits such as riding the clutch, resting the hand on the shifter, and sort of. They don’t realize the damage caused by their poor shifting habits. Here are some tips to prolong the life of your manual transmission.
- Keep your hand off the shifter
Resting a hand on the sifter is harmful. It can add the pressure to the shifter fork as well as the rotating gear underneath. The habit results in premature wear and tear of the selector fork. If you want the selector fork last long, never rest your hand on the sifter. Hold the sifter only when maneuvering the gears.
- Don’t ride the clutch
Some drivers have the habit of resting their foot on the clutch pedal thinking that it’s okay as long as they don’t really press the clutch. They claim that resting the foot on the clutch aims to anticipate the sudden gear change. However, they may not realize that doing this can cause the clutch to disengage because it is slightly depressed. As a result, the clutch slips and it surely leads to premature wear on the clutch. Therefore, keep your foot of the clutch pedal except when you want to shift gears.
- Don’t accelerate hard on low RPM
Ideally, you should shift gear up when the RPM hits 2500 – 3000 and shift it down when the RPM is around 1000. You may not need to always watch the tachometer whenever you want to shift the gear because many drivers usually are able to tell when to shift from how the engine sounds and feels. Make sure you don’t accelerate hard on low RPM otherwise the transmission will wear out sooner than it should.
Basic Transmission Service You Should Know
Drivers need to know about basic transmission service. It typically starts with transmission pan removal. Then it is followed by draining the fluid, cleaning the pad, and installing a new pan filter and gasket. Next, the fluid is refilled to the right levels with the correct fluid type as recommended by the car manufacturer.
The fluid and the filter are two main components in the car’s that need to be serviced regularly. Read the instructions of the manual to be informed about anything related to maintenance needs. When the fluid is changed, automatically the filter needs to be changed too. If the fluid discolors or there is a sign of leaking fluid or a burn sign, go immediately to an auto repair shop.
A quick guide to manual transmission maintenance above is very useful especially for beginners. The information can help them identifying common manual transmission problems and preventing the problems to happen.