How to Drive Downhill With a Manual Transmission

by Contributor

Steep mountain roads often have beautiful views but also hold serious hazards for divers. Keeping a manual transmission car under control takes skill and practice. Learning the techniques for driving down a long mountain incline saves wear and tear on the brakesand engine and, most importantly, gets you down the hill safely.

Use the brakes sparingly. Long mountain roads can quickly overheat brakes causing them to go soft or fail completely. Watch for signs of overheating brakes such as a burning smell or smoke from the wheels.

Learn the normal sound of the car's engine by listening during everyday driving conditions. Knowing the proper operating RPM range of the car is essential for driving down an incline.

Drop the manual transmission into the gear that causes the transmission to slow the car but watch the RPM of the engine closely. The engine must be working at a slightly higher RPM than during normal driving. If you are continually tapping the brakes you should drop one gear.

Slow the car for a corner by depressing the clutch and shifting the manual transmission into a lower gear. Blip the throttle to get the RPMs up and release the clutch. Put pressure on the brake to bring the car to the speed required for the corner.

Return to the higher gear once the road straightens out to accelerate. Be prepared to shift more often that usual as steep inclines require more adjustments. Continue to monitor the brakes and pull over in a safe area if signs of overheating appear.

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.