Common Manual Transmission Issues

A manual vehicle gives you a unique driving experience, more control and (many people feel) more joy when you’re behind the wheel. However, manual transmission vehicles can also develop their own unique issues. If you own a vehicle with a manual transmission, it makes sense that you’d want to brush up on the top issues that they can develop.

Here are common manual transmission issues that you should be aware of.

Leaking Fluid

All vehicles can leak fluids such as oil and coolant. However, modern manual cars have another opportunity to leak in the transmission. While older manual cars used cables and links to control the clutch, modern ones are hydraulic, which means they use liquid.

This liquid has to be replaced regularly just like your oil. Every vehicle will have its own schedule suggested by the manufacturer. However, you can expect to get your hydraulic liquid changes every 45,000 to 60,000 miles. The manual can tell you the more specific schedule, or our team at AutoScope can.

Of course, damage to the hydraulic cables or the vehicle’s transmission can result in a leak. We may need to patch or replace the lines in this case.

Slipping Clutch

The clutch in a manual car gets used very frequently and can eventually begin to slip from wear. If your clutch is slipping, it may feel like the vehicle isn’t responding the way that it should. It may release high, feel clunky, or just not go any faster when you try to. A slipping clutch is a safety concern, and it can start to wear on other parts of the vehicle too.

If your clutch is slipping, then you should bring it in to get inspected and potentially repaired or replaced. The clutch includes the bearing, pressure plate, disc and flywheel. Sometimes one or more parts of the clutch will just need to be adjusted in order to work properly with the others. Or, it may need to be replaced. If you can get your slipping clutch fixed early, it’s less likely to need expensive repairs.

You can prevent a slipping clutch by not over-using it. Some drivers press on the clutch at red lights before they are ready to start moving again. This adds extra wear to the clutch and will likely mean you need to get it replaced or repaired earlier than you otherwise would.

Sticking Clutch

If you press your foot on the clutch and release it, but the clutch comes up slowly or not at all, then you have a sticking clutch. On the inside, the problem is usually that the clutch plate isn’t releasing from the flywheel. Once, the problem was mechanical, but with new hydraulic clutches typically the cylinders are not building up enough fluid pressure to release the clutch back to you. This problem can be related to a fluid leak.

You’ll need your mechanic to troubleshoot this one and fix the problem. Sometimes you may need a new clutch. Unfortunately, usually by the time the clutch is sticking, the vehicle either cannot be driven or isn’t safe to drive as the clutch may get completely stuck, so talk to your mechanic about getting a tow to their garage.

You can avoid the sticking clutch problem by paying special attention to how your vehicle feels when you’re shifting gear. Also, don’t skip gears, as this can lead to many different problems including a sticking clutch.

Trouble Staying in Gear

Manual vehicles may also develop an issue where they slip out of gear, even into neutral when you’re driving. This is a serious problem, as you need your car to be responsive at all times, or you could cause an accident. If you notice your manual car slip into neutral even once, it is worthwhile to get it inspected by your mechanic. The issue might be a worn synchronizer, transmission fluid issues, or (if you have an older manual vehicle) a problem with the linkages attached to the transmission.

Dragging Clutch

Is your clutch making a grinding noise? If so, it may be a sign that the clutch is spinning in the engine even after you release it. This problem is often due to slack in the pedal, which prevents the clutch from actually disengaging the flywheel when you release it. This can make it impossible for you to change gears until the flywheel is disengaged, which can make driving dangerous. This is a simple fix though, so reach out to your mechanic.

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