You would have already learned how to listen to the engine when it needs to down shift or up shift when needed. Or, you may have also been taught at what RPM (Revolutions Per Minute) in your Tachometer says you need to shift to another gear. With the RPM, it is not necessary to wait until its upper or lower limits is reached. You will know from the sound and ‘feel’ of the car when it needs to be shifted to another gear. Normally, the 1st and 2nd gears are used for uphill and downhill drives. For uphill, the engine runs faster to negotiate the climb but depends on the gradient or steepness of the climb. For downhill, the engine controls the speed with what is called ‘engine brakes’ so you won’t need to apply on the brakes too frequently. You should also get the ‘feel’ of the car on both situations. What you feel and sense with the car is important. Not all cars with manual transmission have exactly the same response because of differences in power and gear ratios. Pickups and trucks have lower gear ratios and low-speed differentials. Meaning they are more equipped for their purpose. SUVs will have something similar to features of the drivetrain.
Practice Makes Perfect
Here are some pointers or guidelines that would help save on fuel or maximize economy in driving with Manual Transmission:
- Almost all cars or vehicles are now start and drive. No unnecessary warming or idling of the engine first.
- Avoid jump starts and sudden braking or stops.
- Put gear in neutral when in traffic stops or stop lights.
- Learn how to balance well the use of clutch and accelerator to prevent sudden jerks when shifting.
- Always use the highest possible gear under normal speed under normal weather and road conditions.
- Avoid using clutch and accelerator balance when stopping during an uphill climb. This uses up more gasoline and wears away clutch lining faster. (The clutch under strain could even give unpleasant smell or just give up)
- Turn off air-conditioning as much as possible especially if heat is bearable.
- When speeding up or slowing down is necessary, try to always do it very gently, except for emergency situations.
- Don’t race or rev up the engine while on idle or standstill.
- Apply gentle pressure on brakes or several light ‘taps’ of the foot when slowing down and shift to the next lower gear, if called for.
- If possible, drive the car only on two preferred gears under road conditions it may be needed.
- Don’t gun or rev the engine before shutting it down.
With the cost of fuel now, it may be impracticable to practice on your car. For practicing on the pedals and shifting, I used to do this when I was still learning to drive. Using three inverted ‘flip-flops’, I made them as the pedals of the car. An imaginary floor gearshifter and steering works with it. I replicated engine sounds with my ‘hum’ and coordinated it with the correct pedals to step on or release them.