Is It Perfectly Alright To Drive A Car Up To 3rd Gear Only?

A manual car has up to 5 gears. What if a driver chooses to use up to 3rd gear only?

This is a “hypothetical” question that a reader asked of this blog recently. Actually, I have never thought about it seriously. As somebody wants to know the answer to this question, it has to be reflected upon whether one likes it or not.

Learning From Experience

Way back in the 1970’s, I still remember the case of a friend who lived in Raub, Pahang. In those days, there was no Karak Highway as yet.

Road back to the small, sleepy town of Raub then was via the “old, winding highway”. Some 150 miles or so snake twisting road, which took a driver some 2 – 3 hours of torturous task of maneuvering. A lesser efficient driver would definitely have taken more hours.

I could still remember the incident rather vividly. My friend, a Mr. Thia, a driver school proprietor based in Klang, had to weekly return to Raub to see his family.

Having no car of his own, this friend of mine had to “borrow” one of those small, box like looking things, the Datsun 120 to go back home. The cost was roughly RM40 per day. RM120 or so ringgit for a total of 3 days. It was an excellent deal.

One Saturday evening, approximately around 6 p.m., my friend received an emergency call from home. He was in fact, in a hurry, so to say.

I must first of all tell you something about this friend of mine. In my years of driving experience, without doubt, this friend of mine was an extremely proficient “Grand-Prix” driver. I would say without doubt, the BEST. Whether Mr. Thia was better than Alonso, is unknown. Because the two drivers have never met in “combat racing” as yet.

Only 3rd Gear!

As I mentioned, being in a hurry, what he did really amazed me. Starting from Klang, the above-mentioned driver, showing all his driving prowess, and using ONLY the 3rd gear alone, drove all the way, mind you, let me repeat, all the entire way from Kuala Lumpur, near Gombak, using ONLY the 3rd gear alone, up the winding jungle infested road, twisting and turning, tyres screeching left and right, way back to Raub.

The “pounding” the Datsun 120 was handed by my friend that evening was simply fantastic. It must be let known the above said car was a new model, recently introduced into the market then.

When my friend took hold of it, it was hardly used. As it was not his own, but a borrowed one, what was there for my friend, Mr. Thia to lose anyway.

As the Malay saying goes, “Gasak saja” (in colloquial pasar Malay). How long he eventually took to drive all the way back to Raub, I really don’t know.

And what was the writer doing sitting beside him, you might want to know? There wasn’t any seatbelts then. In fact, I was shivering and praying all the entire way from Kuala Lumpur to Raub.

But allow me to let you know this. This thrashing the car was handed was just unbelievable. As an experienced driver would say, “Simply fantastic!” The Datsun passed the 3rd gear test beautifully. Till today, the above incident just cannot be forgotten!

Maintaining Your Car Well

So, to all those who have written in to ask, “Can I drive in 3rd gear only?” Well, you have the answer. However, if you really intend to use the car up to 3rd gear only, it’s important for you to know a few things:

1) Ensure the gear box is fill with “gear oil” or “transmission” oil.

2) Ensure also the engine oil is well taken of.

3) Try not to drive too fast a speed. Maintaining all the three well, would surely keep your gear box in good order.