Manual Transmission DO NOT's

I have a 2006 Hyundai Sonata MANUAL Transmission, yes 5 speed. I learned on a manual, drove them for many years and have only had one automatic transmission. I’m 41 now and been driving since I was 16. My dad taught me and is extremely picky about how his cars are driven.

My questions ARE, I let my boyfriend drive my car, he is what I call “riding the clutch” (pushing the clutch in while not shifting, between shifts)
Also he puts the car in NEUTRAL while coasting between gears, doesn’t “downshift” usually and uses the brakes what I would consider “more than I do”
I can’t find a concrete answer as to why this is all BAD for the car and he wants to know a precise answer. So, either I will have to drive when we go somewhere because his car is a piece of junk or he needs to understand that this practice is bad.
I’ve replaced clutches before and generally have seen what riding the clutch has done to some of the cars my dad has picked up. He had me helping him from the age of 12 (just to give you some background on my experience)
I am from western Canada and it was my understanding that it is illegal to do this where I am from. Am in Maryland now.
Let me know if you need any clarification on what I am asking. I don’t want to replace clutches or brakes any sooner than necessary.

First, my condolences on moving to the east coast of the us. You must like taxes, traffic, rude people? Is your boyfriend a east coast resident? Get rid of him if so. Perhaps you brought him along from Canada?

sorry, off topic, need an answer, not another question

Pushing the clutch all the way in…or letting it all the way out is NOT riding the clutch. When the clutch is somewhere in-between is riding the clutch.

With that said…putting the clutch in or in neutral when driving down hill is NOT considered safe. It’s not bad on the clutch, but you’re relying totally on the brakes to slow down or stop your vehicle. May not be a problem, but in an emergency situation or long hills and the brakes get old it could be a major problem.

So you don’t think that holding the clutch down for an extended amount of time other than to shift puts unnecessary wear on it? Shouldn’t the left foot be on the footpad (the rubber rest to the left of the clutch) unless shifting. Maybe I wasn’t clear in my question, he does hold it down for an “extended period of time”

I just tried to answer your question and my post just disappeared. Anyway, as I was saying before it suddenly disappeared, that riding the clutch is resting your foot on the clutch pedal. That is not good. I know people who push in the clutch when ever they get in a low traction situation and feel the car slip, it helps to keep from losing control. It does no harm and any additional wear is insignificant.

I’m not a big fan of downshifting. I’d rather replace brake pads than a clutch, but I doubt that there is very much difference either way you go. I don’t understand the “coasting in neutral between gears”? Is he double clutching, or just putting it in neutral while at a stop light or is he coasting while going downhill or rolling to a stop?

Double clutching is not necessary unless you have lost the syncros in the transmission. Putting it in neutral and letting out the clutch at a stop sign reduces wear on the throwout bearing, same with coasting to a stop. Putting it in neutral and coasting downhill is dangerous and it wastes gas. That he should not do.

What is illegal where you are from, replacing clutches? Riding the clutch?

Thanks Keith, yes he is “resting his foot ON the clutch pedal pushing it down” how far down I don’t know but he has it pushed down from what I noticed, holding it to the floor (does that make sense) I should just take a picture LOL. Like as if to switch gears.
The neutral is coasting down a hill for an extended period of time. I wouldn’t consider it “double clutching” since I have had to drive cars where the syncro is gone in one or more gears and know what it is.
It is illegal to “coast in neutral down a hill” for more than 100ft or something like that. If you get caught doing it you can be found at fault in the case of an accident which I can understand.
Putting in neutral at a stop is what I would consider normal driving for a manual anyways.

Don’t let anybody, of either sex, mess up your ride!
If you’re real close to him treat him like a family member that’s gone astray.
Coasting in neutral won’t hurt the transmission, but it’s dangerous from a traffic safety perspective.
Riding the clutch puts constant pressure on the throwout bearing,
which wears it down much more than the normal few seconds at a time.
Clutch riding can also let the clutch slip, adding to clutch wear and heating.

Downshifting adds extra wear to the clutch and synchronizers.
Rev-matching can help but it’s extra work.
Brake pads are cheaper to replace than clutches.
I don’t do it on routine stops on level ground.

Ok thanks circuitsmith, maybe I’m being a bit too picky about “downshifting” so I will try not to let that one bother me.
On the other hand yes, it’s the throwout bearing I’m concerned about excessive wear, and I agree that brakes are much much cheaper to replace than clutches

First, welcome to this site! Good for you for knowing enough about car repair to be aware and concerned about the way your bf is driving.

I think you’re exactly right about the riding the clutch issue, unless he’s doing it only for an instant. Others here can give you a better explanation, but the key thing is to get your foot totally off the pedal unless you are in the process of changing gears. It sounds like you do that properly, and your bf does not. So you are right on that one.

There should be about an inch or so of travel in the pedal, frequently called “free play”, and pushing beyond that your foot encounters more substantial “resistance”. You know that I"m sure. Resting a foot lightly on the pedal, just pressing slightly in that free play range is not good. But holding the pedal beyond that is distinctly bad. The former puts pressure on the throwout bearing, which I’m sure you’ve seen when replacing clutches. The latter will allow slippage on the clutch disc, wearing it down needlessly.

I think you’ll get some difference of opinion on coasting, but I’d say that it’s not necessary, and probably slightly unsafe. That may be what you are referring to about being illegal in Canada?

Downshifting is also questionable, but doing it will wear out your clutch a bit faster. If you are not roadracing, you can probably justify discouraging that, except when descending a long steep mountain road.

The bottom line I think is that it’s much easier to replace brake pads than a clutch.

Thanks Western…yeah I’m talking he has it Pushed DOWN for more than a min, in fact several (5 min, 10 min) even does it sometimes at the same time as coasting in neutral I’m talking down a hill, slope, whatever, NOT a stop sign, stop light etc.
My dad told me to never put my foot on the clutch when I’m not using it explaining free play etc etc… I’ve noticed my clutch has more free play now than it did a few years ago. I haven’t looked on this one but my older cars had an adjustment for it.
I understand that “coasting” is also illegal in some states. It differs from provinces in Canada but maybe that law in my province is no longer applicable, haven’t lived there for 10 years but BC is a pretty hilly place if you’ve ever been there so maybe that’s why. Yes the unsafe aspect of it is the “illegal” part from what I understand. Maybe someone from there knows if it’s changed.
Brakes=easier, cheaper, costs less, less time consuming than replacing the clutch. I think I’m just worried about overheating the brakes like I’ve seen others do in the mountains where I’m from. Then again I always owned older cheaper cars so maybe that’s not an issue with a car that has ABS and traction control?

Ok found this in Maryland DMV so this pretty much answers my question I think? or part of it
Transportation Article

21 1108 a Driver of motor veh. coasting downgrade in neutral gear and transmission… Fines $ 70.00 Points 01 Cont. to Accident Fines $ 110.00 Points 03

I echo pretty much everything Circuitsmith said. All I have to add is that it’s your car, so if your boyfriend isn’t treating it the way you like your car to be treated, you shouldn’t let him drive it. In fact, the whole idea of letting him drive your car is a little outdated. It sounds like you’re a better driver than he is, so perhaps when you go somewhere in his car you should be driving his car.

Shifting to a lower gear to ‘maintain’ a reasonable speed descending a long hill is virtually harmless to the drive train. Downshifting to drastically reduce speed can shorten the life of a great many parts.

minimizing the time that the clutch is depressed will likely increase its life.

There are a great many driving styles, some better than others. But with manual transmissions there often seems to be a fanatic obsession with some particular function in the process that for some interferes in relationships.

My wife drove automatics with her left foot always resting on the brake pedal. Badgering her to move he foot nearly resulted in accidents so I decided to keep my mouth shut and replace the brakes annually, if not sooner. Life is full of trade offs. Some things just aren’t worth fighting over.

And personal advice is just part of the free service we offer here, @backyardmec. Take it or leave it.

You clearly inderstand the implications of clutch riding. It’s one of the best ways I know of to kill the clutch plate and to abuse the throwout bearing.

Riding with the clutch in neutral readuces control. And anything that reduces control is bad.

I thinik it’s time for BF to buy his own car. Or make it clear that if he wants to drive your car he has to drive by your rules. If he refuses, than you know you have a BF that cares more about his machismo than he does about you…and you might reconsider his worth as a BF.

If you choose to accept his behavior, than may God be with you.

If the clutch is all the way down, the clutch is not wearing. But the throwout bearing is. When that fails, replacing it amounts to a clutch job.

Every time you shift to neutral, you have to shift back into gear. This subject the synchro to more than usual amount of wear. And if the clutch is released without rev matching, you place a shock to the cv joints, engine mounts, gears, just to name a few.

Speaking of rev matching, it should be done to reduce or eliminate clutch wear, especially on down shifts. Preferably, the clutch should be pumped twice to reduce synchro wear.

Sounds like the op’s bf is ingrained with carburetor. In the past, a high speed engine sucks in more fuel. Coasting with the engine disconnected saves fuel. This is no longer true with modern fuel injection.

Meybe there’s a reason HIS car is a piece of junk! :slight_smile: I agree with others. Let him ride in your car, don’t let him drive it. Problem solved.

Let me clear up a couple things from my last post. I said I was not a fan of downshifting, I meant that I am not a fan of going down through the gears as you come to a stop. I will downshift for a long downgrade. downshifting one gear for a long downgrade does not cause any appreciable wear and tear on either the clutch or transmission, and safety is far more important than getting a few more miles out of the clutch.

Holding the clutch down doesn’t do as much damage to the throwout bearing as many here indicate. Yes it does add wear, but a throwout bearing is really a rugged little device that is very under loaded. I would always replace the throwout bearing whenever the clutch is replaced, but I don’t think I have ever seen a clutch job that was required because the throwout bearing failed.

But coasting is not safe and that is really the only thing I see now that your boyfriend really needs to stop doing. Maybe if he understood that when his foot is off the gas and the rpm is higher than normal idle speed, the computer cuts off the gas to the fuel injectors. If he pushes in the clutch, then the engine speed drops to idle and the fuel is turned back on. He is actually wasting gas by coasting. I think that will appeal to his sense of economics.

Other than putting additional wear on the throwout bearing, it’s also possible for a clutch disc to glaze if it’s brushing constantly against the flywheel and pressure plate. That in turn leads to clutch chattering, shortened clutch life, etc, etc.

While not wanting to get into the middle of a relationship that is none of my business, there could be some relationship strain involved when a clutch repair bill comes due; especially if you’re the one footing the bill.

I salute you for thinking ahead and your dad’s involvement in teaching some automotive principles along the way.

The Law in Maryland about coasting downhill in neutral is really for truckers to avoid a “runaway” truck on a steep long downhill grade. I doubt even a trucker would get a ticket unless it was written as part of an accident investigation. Yet, it is a law and might have some impact on boyfriends behavior.

Using the brakes over downshifting actually has some advocates who believe it is easier to replace brake pads over a clutch. Some truth to that. A poorly executed downshift will put more wear on a clutch than a properly done downshift. So, if the downshifting is “jerky” that is bad technique and braking would be less wear on the car. So, how well does your bf downshift is the question?

Depressing the clutch for a long time, and some stoplights in some states are very long IMO, isn’t the best for the clutch. It can put wear on the throwout bearing and the mechanism that pulls the clutch disc away from the pressure plate. Unless someone does this an awful lot all the time I doubt the wear is significant.

Basically, I don’t think bf techniques are causing any real or significant damage to the clutch or transmission. Dad may have been right, but I’m not sure this is a fight worth fighting if your bf is one of the “keepers” for lots of other reasons. If he is a dud, then this could give you some extra reasons to dump the guy.