5 Speed Blues

December 31, 2019

Have you ever had a customer buy a manual transmission car that really should have bought an automatic. Instead, the type of driver that shifts into 5th gear by 25 mph because the shift light said so. Then, they bring it to you without a clutch and only 5,000 miles on it.

A new group of students just started the Manual Transmission class at Oklahoma Technical College so I brought in a clutch disc with no clutch material on either side and nothing but clutch dust within the bell housing. I ask the students, “What could cause this?” They came up with every answer you can think of, from racing, to dumping the clutch, and the best one: double clutching. (Now there’s another story on just what double clutching really is). I gave them a day to ask their co-workers and gear-head friends and return with the cause of the problem. Again, several brought back very interesting answers.


The only way this can happen is to down shift from 5th gear to a lower gear, like 2nd, when decelerating quickly from a high rate of speed. When this happens, the engine will sound like it’s about to explode. This is a good indicator that you’re destroying your clutch.
When a car comes in with no clutch, you can let the customer know when, where, and how this happened. They’ll be amazed that, because you’ve been through the Manual Transmission class at OTC, you know your stuff!

Tony Muglia
Department Head,
Oklahoma Technical College