So I just came into possession of one of my dream cars: a 5 speed Mustang GT. I was able to find an absolutely pristine 2007 that has clearly been dearly cared for by its previous owner. It is, in a word, perfect. That being said, it does have 88,000 miles on it. It drives like new, and given the condition of the car I’m quite sure the prior driver took excellent care of the clutch and transmission. I aim to keep it that way.
I’m a competent manual driver. I’ve driven stick occasionally for the past 15 years, and I definitely know the basics of keeping the clutch and transmission healthy. Don’t ride the clutch, don’t slip it on hills or in stop and go traffic, etc. That being said, I’m certainly not an “expert” with a 5 speed, and quite frankly, I was never trying to “take care” of any of the prior manual cars I’ve driven. I’m sure I did them some harm from ignorance, lack of proper technique and laziness.
I want this car to last as long as possible. Does anyone have some tips for how to “baby” a high mileage clutch/transmission? I’m much more interested in maintaining the health of my car than peeling out or racing away from red lights. I’m happier letting her rip on the open road.
More specifically, I’ve read that the general “theory” of clutch health is to minimize the time that it is partially engaged. You either want the pedal down or up as much as possible. Of course when shifting gears there must be some time the clutch slips. My question primarily applies to starting from a stop. If I’m extremely careful, I can slooooooowly ease the clutch up and get the car moving with no gas at all. I’ve heard some people say this is the best thing for the system. That makes sense on the one hand, as I’m sure it is harder on the clutch to engage when the engine is revving. On the other hand, the slow clutch release means more time partially engaged.
So my first question in its most specific sense is: is it better to start up with a slow clutch foot and minimal gas? Or a smooth but quick release with more gas?
Any other tips to “baby” the clutch? I’ve heard people say that ideally, don’t give the car any gas until after you complete an up-shift. Is this true? What about down shifting?
Thanks in advance for helping me keep my new car happy!