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The Driving Mistakes That Can Damage Your Gearbox

Given our business is repairing and replacing gearboxes, you might imagine we’d be keen for as many gearbox failures as possible.

However, we are also motorists ourselves and so are only too aware how inconvenient it can be to be suddenly landed with a repair bill.

So, as a company with decades of experience, working with many thousands of gearboxes and helping just as many customers across the north west of England, we thought we’d put our knowledge to good use.

Here are a few tips that might just help in the battle to keep your gearbox running smoothly – and so ensure you don’t need our services.

(Oh, if you do ever need a gearbox repair or replacement, please consider our services. There are a few more details at the bottom of this post).

Driving Tips to Help The Gearbox

The Right Gear for the right speed

It sounds basic and that’s because it is – a nice easy start. Your car has a range of gears and they are not all suited to every speed and every type of driving. 

Gears should be worked through smoothly and changed as revs get too high or too low, there is no need for the boy racer style of driving – aggressively revving one gear, going too fast in it, changing up a gear and repeating.

The right gear for the right speed is as true for decelerating as it is accelerating; it is natural to smoothly change gears up when starting to accelerate and so the same should apply in reverse, promptly changing back down.

The sound of the engine is, of course, a giveaway as to whether the right gear has been selected. Few drivers have the vehicle in the wrong gear for lengthy periods, but even short bursts at an inappropriate gearing do damage that should be avoided.

Avoid gear laziness

On many roads, speeds fluctuate regularly between gears, for instance on a typical commuter route it might be that you feel constantly on the edge between third and fourth gears.

To minimise gearbox issues, change gears as required even if this means regular changes, this being preferable to simply sticking in a gear and having spells when the gear is either too high or too low for optimum driving.

Choosing the correct gear also makes it far easier to react to any issues on the road as they occur and also ensures corners are taken in the correct gear.

Do not keep the clutch partially depressed

In a car with manual transmission, the main aim of the clutch is enable the driver to engage and disengage the gears.

The clutch should be use quickly and as required, simply facilitating the gear changes.

Some drivers, however, regularly keep the clutch partially depressed, driving on the clutch as a means of controlling speed and decelerating. While this can give a feeling of control, it is damaging the clutch, causing it to burn.

In the long run, driving in this manner will affect the performance of the gearbox as asbestos material peels off the clutch.

Watch where you rest your hands…

The owner manuals of some cars specifically advise against resting your hand on the gearstick and avoiding doing so is probably good practice for any car.

The reason to place your hand elsewhere is that the gearstick is connected to a selector fork and applying permanent pressure, even if only light weight through resting your hand, can cause permanent wear.

If you must rest one hand, find somewhere else for it to reside.

Avoid potholes and lumps

Admittedly this is sometimes easier said than done, but, when possible, try to avoid potholes and speedbumps, or at least take the latter at low speeds.

The damage both do is huge, it is thought that up to a third of all vehicle repairs are because a pothole or similar was hit, the gearbox is as susceptible to damage as any other key part of the car.

The problem of potholes only gets worse as we close in on winter, not only do more appear, but they are also harder to see as it is often dark and they might also fill with water and so a relatively deep pothole can look like a mundane puddle. Driving with due care and attention and, when possible avoiding the edge of the road where potholes can be more frequent can at least make it more likely you will avoid the worst of the craters.

Resting on the clutch at the lights

Rather than using the handbrake to hold the car, many drivers rest on the clutch when they come to a stop, potentially having to then quickly switch feet as they move away to avoid the car rolling back.

However, as already mentioned, the intended purpose for the clutch is to allow a gear to be disengaged and a new one selected, its purpose is not to be an alternative to using the break.

Other reasons

There are other driving habits that can affect the life of a gearbox and transmission. Switching driving modes (for example from city to sport) without first slowing down to a low speed can cause wear on the gearbox and engine.

A failure to perform regular checks can also increase the likelihood of issues, for instance checking automatic transmission fluid (ATF) levels for automatics, or following recommended servicing intervals for all cars.

The steps are all straightforward basics of good driving but combined together that minimise damage to any car and so extend the life of keys parts, this including the gearbox and transmission.

About NWT

Whatever your car, gearbox or transmission, if you ever find yourself in need of a repair or potentially a replacement with a high quality refurbished model please do consider our services.

We have 45 years’ experience in gearbox repairs and replacements across the north west, with free delivery within 45 miles of our location in Kirkdale (L20 2AE).

A family-run business, we also have a truly superb reputation, this shown by our 4.9 out of 5 average rating from dozens of reviews on Google. 

We offer a complete service, with guarantees for all types of gearboxes for all makes and models.

To find out more, please get in touch by calling 0151 933 0257 or using our Contact Form.