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Maintaining a Manual Transmission Truck

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Manual vehicles are slowly fading from popularity, with only 5% of new vehicle sales in 2021 being manual cars and trucks. For many, this is a tremendous shame because they love driving manual vehicles. Most manual car owners feel they have more control, get better fuel economy and just generally enjoy driving a manual more.

So, while manual cars are slowly disappearing, there is still an enormous amount of them on Australian roads and in the used car market. But perhaps most significantly, trucks, particularly heavy-duty ones, are still quite popular in manual form.

If you drive a manual transmission truck, how do you maintain it and get a longer working life from your investment? Transmission maintenance from your trusted auto services provider is definitely the best way, but there are a few other tips you can follow as well.

Use the correct transmission fluid

Unlike changing the oil in your vehicle, changing the transmission fluid isn’t very common. This is usually done during a regular service and tune-up. So, you don’t normally need to think too much about this aspect. However, if you do intend to flush and change the transmission fluid yourself, it’s crucial you use the right one.

Transmission fluid helps the gears to move smoothly, and without it (or with the incorrect type), you could end up with too much or too little heat in the system. This leads to unnecessary wear and tear, so you can extend your transmission’s life by always using the right fluid for your vehicle.

Driving aggressively

When we talk about aggressive driving, we don’t just mean driving fast or tailgating other road users. Both of which we don’t condone, but we’re talking about a more general aggressive operation of the car. This could mean changing gears more often than necessary to reach the desired speed faster. It could be braking harshly and needing to skip back through multiple gears.

These types of driving behaviours can cause damage to your transmission, as well as increased general wear and tear. Basically, you need to consider the working life and the cost of replacing components in your car. The more pressure you put on parts (particularly through incorrect usage), the more frequently you’ll need to replace parts. In the trucking industry, downtime means a loss of income, so driving your truck calmly and safely is the key to maximising your transmission’s life.

Avoid downshifting

Here’s where we come to a bit of a catch-22 when it comes to protecting your truck’s transmission. Some people who drive manual trucks prefer to gradually shift back through the gears while slowing down. This is called downshifting, and most people do it because it’s a little easier on the brakes. However, the downside is that this is more damaging to your transmission.

The best way to reduce your speed in a manual transmission truck is to shift into neutral, release your clutch and then engage your brakes. It’s important to remember that everything in your truck has a specific job. Your braking system is designed to slow the vehicle down and should be used as such. Your transmission is there to facilitate the changing of gears, so it should be used solely for that, rather than controlling the way you brake.

Don’t ride the clutch

It’s the bane of driving instructors everywhere, but riding the clutch can do significant damage to your transmission. If you’re not sure what riding the clutch is, let us explain. Riding the clutch is where the driver keeps the clutch depressed through a series of gear changes. The proper way to change gears is to fully remove your foot from the clutch once you have changed gears. Even if you need to change again soon after, you should always completely release the clutch and engage it again when changing gears.

This causes unnecessary strain on your transmission because it simply isn’t designed to be engaged for long periods. Ideally, a gear change is quick and easy, and then the transmission rests. Basically, if you’re riding the clutch, you’re putting undue pressure on the clutch itself and the gearbox.

Book in for regular servicing

Even when you take all of these precautions yourself, there is really only one certain way to extend the life of your truck. That’s through regular servicing. Even if you feel like your truck is driving well, it’s important to have it serviced regularly. There are certain milestones where parts need to be checked at the least and often replaced. Plus, regular servicing gives your mechanic a chance to thoroughly check your vehicle and perhaps even prevent more costly issues from arising.

Not to mention, regular truck maintenance ensures that your warranty remains valid. Plus, our award-winning servicing helps you maintain all regulatory standards you need to follow. If you’d like to book your manual transmission truck in for a service, we’d be more than happy to hear from you. Contact our team and make a booking today!