The Correct Usage of Gears on a Manual Car
The 1st gear is a “momentum” gear. It is not supposed to drag the car for 20 – 30 yards. So, as soon as the car has gained momentum, quickly change to 2nd gear.
The 3rd gear, unlike the 2nd gear, can bear the brunt of pulling the car to a speed of 30 – 40 km/j. It is actually performing the task of accelerating to higher speeds.
By changing the gear to the 4th, the car by now should be cruising along comfortably. The option of whether you wish to change finally to the 5th or otherwise, is entirely up to you.
By changing over to the top gear (5th gear), the ride will be “smoother” and obviously you’ll also end up saving on fuel consumption.
If the above all seems to be emphasizing on the method of accelerating the car from gear one to gear five, what or how about “decreasing” the speed?
Using The Right Gear When Slowing Down
Seeing a sharp or slight corner ahead of us, tells a good driver, that the 5th gear that we’re in might create a little bit of a problem as far as “controlling” the car is concerned.
Our sixth sense tells us that we should quickly change down to the 4th gear. Leave the clutch gently and the engine will automatically pull down the car to a safer speed.
The moment the road ahead straightens up, accelerate slightly to gain further momentum or “speed” and finally change back to the 5th gear and off we go again. Beautiful and safe driving!
Practice the above advice. Rest assured you’ll not get into a “spin”, especially in the rain.
Using The Right Gear On Slopes
The above advice for negotiating in a “corner” applies also to approaching a “slope” or “hill”.
Sensing that we’re about to meet a slope or hill ahead, quickly change down to 4th gear and if sensing the car about to lose power, change rapidly to the 3rd gear quickly, then accelerate up to the “summit”, change back to 4th gear and eventually the 5th gear and off we go again.
Just like “grand prix” performance. All these require practice. As they say, “Practice makes perfect”.
To teach you how to “slow” down from high speed to lower speed and vice-versa is insufficient.
How about when one meets simple things such as “bonggols” or “humps”.
What are the correct gears to use?
Seeing a “hump” ahead, apply brakes slowly. Quickly change down to 2nd gear ideally, cross the hump slowly, control the clutch, and finally leave the clutch up gently and accelerate across the hump.
At times when the hump is a little bit on the high side, you’ll have no alternative but to change to 1st gear.
At times, certain car models have “poor” or weak absorbers. Going across such areas will hit the under carriage and cause expensive damage. At times, the fuel lines underneath the car are damaged. So, be careful.
Finally, new drivers should also know what to do when approaching a “right angle turn” or a 90 degree turn. Such turns are difficult to negotiate.
Slow down, change to the 2nd gear ideally and gently negotiate around the corner and accelerate up again.
This short article addresses the “correct use of gears” which readers of this blog specially asked me to explain further.
Driving A Manual Car For Learners
This is the continuation from the article 11 Key Components Of A Manual Car. If you have not seen it, it may be a good idea to read it.
After adjusting the seating position and making certain the “reclining” position is correctly adjusted, the driver is advised to adjust the rear mirror and the right hand “side” mirror. Ensure that the back position of the car can be seen clearly.
Secondly, make sure the car is in “neutral gear” or “free”.
Turning the ignition key, three times to the right, will start the car. If this is your first time doing so, turn off the ignition and start the car again. This is to give you some practical practice on “how to turn the ignition key” correctly.
Next, accelerate slightly by stepping on the accelerator pedal. You can now hear the engine buzz rather clearly. Keep your right foot on the accelerator. If the accelerator is being stepped on too heavily or otherwise, either step or release the accelerator accordingly. The constant pressure on the accelerator pedal indicates that the car is now ready to “move off”.
The next step is to leave or take off your left foot slowly. In doing so, do make sure that the “heel” is firmly on the ground. Leave the clutch foot slowly to a point of 50%. At 50%, the car will move forward gently. As the car moves forward slowly, control the clutch and the car should be moving ahead gently and smoothly.
When the car has gained momentum (having gone 10 – 20 meters), it is now time to execute the 2nd gear. Repeating the familiar phrase, “Left foot down, right foot up (accelerator up)”, you will have to follow your instructor’s instruction until you can coordinate in engaging the gears.
Initially, you have to engage up to 2nd gear only. When you are at the early stage of learning how to drive a manual car, move the car 10 – 20 meter, you should stop, free gear and pull up the handbrake. This is followed by closing off the engine. This will be your practice.
The whole procedure is repeated all over. When you have mastered the technique of changing gears 1 and 2 well, you can now proceed to changing into gear 3. In the first few driving lessons, you will be taught up to 3rd gear only by your instructor. Leave gear 4 until a later date when you are better in driving.
The above suggestion is mine and mine alone. Other driving instructor may have their own ideas. They are free to decide otherwise.