Some Useful Information About Manual Transmissions

Modern automatic transmissions offer the advantages once associated with manual transmissions including better gas mileage and durability. Herein is some information that the 3-5% of motorists who use both feet when driving will find useful.

Manual Transmissions Simplified

A manual transmission aka gearbox has three shafts that hold interlocking gears. These gears vary in size allowing a change in torque speed without a change in engine speed. Powered by the engine an input shaft is linked to the engine by the clutch. The input gear on the clutch shaft drives the countershaft so it spins in the opposite direction of the engine. The countershaft transfers torque to the main and output shafts. The output shaft is the link between the countershaft and the drive shaft.

Trouble Shooting

If you put the vehicle in gear give it some gas and the car hesitates before moving it could be the clutch is worn out or needs adjusting. After a new clutch is installed you may experience a scratching sensation when changing gears. This could be because of a poor quality replacement clutch or the wrong transmission fluid. Always consult the owner’s manual before adding or changing transmission fluid.

Synchronizer rings stop the gears from rotating during shifting. Scratching can be the result worn out synchronizer gears. If the clutch pedal stays on the floor the seal in either the clutch master or slave cylinder is leaking. A whining noise coming from a gearbox is usually an indication the fluid needs changing.

Always starting out in first gear and not skipping gears when shifting save wear on a transmission. Do not keep your foot on the clutch constantly. Riding the clutch will shorten its life.

Checking Transmission Fluid

Proper fluid levels are an important part of gearbox maintenance. For safety sake checking and changing transmission fluid is something you might want to leave to a repair shop. To do it yourself you’ll need safety glasses, a hydraulic floor jack and four Jack stands.

Refer to the owner’s manual to locate the fill plug, learn what fluid to use, and to find the torque requirements to replace the plug. Let the car set with the engine off for two minutes so the fluid is in the bottom of the gearbox. Jack the car up and place a safety stand at each corner. The vehicle has to be level.

When the plug is removed the fluid should be at the bottom of the hole. One source suggests inserting a screwdriver into the hole. If some fluid is displaced the level is good.

Generally, manual transmission fluid needs to be changed every 45-60 thousand miles. You know where to find the exact number for your ride. A syringe can be used to remove a sample for analysis. If you need to add fluid or change the fluid use a fluid transfer pump. Remember: When replacing the cap following the manufacturer’s torque specifications.