If you’re a natural born car lover (like us), you likely have a special affinity for manual vehicles. Some believe that the ability to drive a manual vehicle is truly a lost art, while others prefer it for the performance (manual transmission usually have better acceleration), less weight and less of a power loss than automatic transmissions. Although there are exceptions to ever rule, of course, those of us who drive stick are certainly bias.

So, if you currently drive a manual vehicle (or perhaps you’re stepping into one for the first time, there are a few things you need to know. We’re here to help.

Here are 5 things you need to know if you drive a manual vehicle.

1. Be mindful of your clutch.

If your clutch wears out, you’ll need to replace it immediately (which will cost you a pretty penny). Be mindful of the wear and tear you place on your clutch. You can perform simple measures, like being careful to not keep your car in gear when you’re at a stop light, for example. Instead, toss it in neutral.

2. Your gear shift is not a hand rest.

It might feel comfortable, but be careful – resting your hand on the gear shift can wear down your clutch, and it’s pretty unsafe. Fact: the weight of your hand can cause certain parts to rub together. It’s a bit surprising that this actually impacts your vehicle, but it does.

3. Don’t floor it.

This can be said for any vehicle, manual or not, though it’s especially important for a manual vehicle. Don’t floor your gas when you move from a red light to a green light. Instead, switch your vehicle’s gear and accelerate slowly.

4. Don’t shift without engaging the clutch.

If you drive manual, you know that the clutch disengages the engine from the transmission when you push in the pedal. If you try to shift gears without engaging your clutch, it can seriously damage the transmission and engine.

5. Driving manual means you really have to predict what happens next.

By this, we mean that your focus on the road needs to be 110%. Driving manual means that you need to predict what happens – like when a light will turn red, or if a four-way stop is approaching. You will need to switch gears in a relaxed manner. The better you treat your vehicle, the longer you will have it without requiring repairs.

We love our manual vehicles here at Waterloo Honda, and we know that so many of our customers do, too. One of our favourites heading into 2018 is the Honda Accord Sport, an incredibly impressive vehicle with plenty of bells and whistles. If you drive manual, we’d love to hear your feedback on Facebook – what other tips do you have for manual drivers?