What Causes A Gearbox To Break?
The gearbox of any vehicle is the driving force behind getting us on the road safely and at the right speeds. Without a gearbox, we wouldn’t be going anywhere and so it’s vital to make sure that it’s always in top shape to improve overall safety as we drive. However, even when we think we’re taking care of our cars, our gearboxes can still break down – the question is, what causes these breaks? While the possibilities are endless, we’ve compiled some of the most common causes of gearbox issues, below.
Bad Driving Habits
We all have bad driving habits, whether they never went away after learning to drive, or they’ve developed over time but some of these bad habits can be more detrimental to your engine than others. In a lot of cases, you might not even realise that a particular driving habit is a bad one, or that it can have an effect on the health of your gearbox. Some of the common habits that can cause damage include:
- Keeping The Clutch Slightly Depressed – Try and avoid driving with your foot on the clutch – when your foot is putting even slight pressure on the clutch pedal, this can damage the clutch by causing wear, burning and more.
- Resting Your Hand On The Gearstick – A lot of drivers can travel along with the hand resting on the gearstick, but this can cause issues for the selector fork. Permanent pressure on the gearstick, and therefore the selector fork, can cause wear over time, leading to a breakdown in the future.
- Getting Lazy With Gear Changes – When driving at speeds anything between 20mph and 40mph, it’s easy to get lazy with changing the gears to suit the speed. Travelling to work, for example, you could move between 30 and 40 regularly and sit in fourth gear, which can cause issues in the long term. Take the time to switch to the optimum gear to prevent wear and tear.
- Resting On The Clutch – Resting on the clutch at a traffic light can wear down the components due to the pressure of sitting engaged for long periods of time. Use the handbrake instead to prevent wear and increase the life of your gearbox.
A Lack Of Care
As car owners, it’s our responsibility to look after our vehicles, whether that’s quick home checks or a full garage service to keep things in top shape. Without the proper care, issues with a gearbox can go unnoticed or unchecked, leading to full breakages and damage in the future.
Poor oil quality, for example, can cause clogs and blockages within tubes and pipes, reducing the quality of the drive and in some cases, causes the engine to overheat and the gearbox to suffer as a result. Checking your oil regularly, keeping your engine coolant topped up and making sure you get regular checks for not just your gearbox, but the whole vehicle, can help you catch any potential issues before they can cause irreparable damage.
There is a lot of talk of reliability in the car manufacturing industry, and rightly so. Some car manufacturers are considered to produce more reliable vehicles than others and a lot of this comes down to the engine quality and gearbox. According to What Car?, Lexus, Toyota, Suzuki, Tesla, Subaru and Kia are some of the top brands for reliability when it comes to cars up to five years old, with Hyundai, Mini, Skoda and Honda just behind. While driving habits do have a big part to play in this, manufacturing can have an effect on how long your gearbox lasts and how often you should really have it serviced and checked.
The Wrong Engine Oil
As mentioned earlier, poor quality engine oil can cause problems with your gearbox but more prominently, the wrong type of oil can have the same detrimental effect. Each vehicle will state a particular oil type for different reasons – high performance cars, for example, will need a high-performance oil, while synthetic oils are only appropriate for certain models. European cars in particular can also need particular additives, which is why it’s vital to make sure you’re always putting the right oil in your vehicle or having a professional do it for you.
Without the right oil, your engine can overheat, sludge can build up within the pipes and serious damage can occur which isn’t always easily fixable. Repairs are costly, so its best to stick to the right oil type regardless.