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What does a manual gearbox do?

A manual gearbox, also known as manual transmission, is a complex mechanical system that transmits the power from your engine firstly to the drive shafts and then to the wheels. As you probably know, manual transmissions change gears when the driver presses the clutch pedal and uses the gearstick to shift the gear.

It is the gearbox that allows drivers of manual cars to accelerate from stationary as you move up through the gears - not to mention allowing you to reverse into those tight parking spots.

A manual gearbox is connected to the engine through a clutch. The clutch experiences more wear and tear over time than most other parts of your car, due to the heat and friction produced by its many moving parts and components. Although manual gearboxes are specially designed to carry the enormous loads caused by transmitting the engine's power, some wear is inevitable. Mostly, the gearbox will still work with some wear, but over time problems can occur.

From time to time, you should have your gearbox oil checked and changed. It is important to do this as major issues can arise in gearboxes that are not properly looked after. You should always get any worrying symptoms checked out by a professional as soon they develop. Enter your VRM and post code above to find local garages who can diagnose and fix any issues.

How long does a manual gearbox last?

There is no set number of years or miles that a manual gearbox will last. However, the average lifespan tends to be around 150,000 – 200,000 miles. There are different variables which will have an effect on how long your gearbox will last. For example, using fluid which has not been recommended by the manufacturer, incorrect use of the gearstick or how often you have your car serviced.

What’s involved in a gearbox service?

Manual gearbox repairs and replacements can be inconvenient and very expensive. Gearbox oil (also known as manual transmission fluid) is the key to keeping your gearbox healthy and you should always ask for this to be checked during your annual service if it's not already included. If you book a service through BookMyGarage, the mechanic will follow our service schedule, and all of these include checking for transmission oil leaks (whether you book an interim, full, or major service). If there are any leaks or the oil needs to be changed/topped up, they will do this for you too.

Many manufacturers recommend that you have your manual transmission fluid changed every 30,000 to 60,000 miles.

What are the possible signs that there are issues with your manual gearbox?

Some signs of possible gearbox and clutch problems are:

  • a funny smell and limited acceleration
  • whining, clunking and humming sounds
  • leaking oil or low oil level
  • a grinding or shaking gearstick
  • the car refusing to go into gear
  • noise when the car is idling in neutral
  • gears slipping or popping into neutral
  • judder when driving off
  • engine accelerates and car doesn’t move

The most common manual transmission issues are resolved by replacing the clutch. There are three parts that are usually replaced during this process; the clutch disk, pressure plate and throw out bearing.

What should I do if I think there is a problem with my manual gearbox, or my clutch

If you suspect an issue with your clutch or manual gearbox, you should have it seen to promptly. Enter your VRM and post code above and you can compare all of the garages in your local area. You can use their reviews, prices, location and extra services offered to select a suitable garage and then book online. You can either book a diagnostic check, where the mechanic will diagnose any issues, or book a service and your transmission will be checked for any oil leaks and topped up if required (amongst a number of other checks).

About SEAT

SEAT is a Spanish automobile manufacturer that was founded back in 1950 by the Instituto Nacional de Industria, a state-owned industrial holding company based near Barcelona. Currently a subsidiary of the German Volkswagen Group, this Spanish company is known for producing cars for a sportier, more youthful demographic. Producing cars and other vehicles using the Volkswagen platform has helped the Spanish brand build a reputation as makers of reliable, high-quality products, too.

SEAT has a variety of vehicles across the spectrum - from SUVs and crossovers to city cars and estates. They also offer some off-road cars with the Leon X-Perience, and a very spacious Alhambra that seats seven and offers great value for money.

About the SEAT Ibiza

The SEAT Ibiza is a supermini with good looks, a good engine and a lot in common with its Volkswagen rival, the VW Polo. It was updated by SEAT toward the end of 2015 with a new high-quality interior made of better materials than its predecessor, and with a new “infotainment” system that works with the driver’s smartphone to easily display apps.

Known for being easy to drive with a lovely gear change, light steering, and a very adaptive clutch, the Ibiza’s steering and suspension also had an update last year in hopes of improving the road quality of the car, making it more stable and a little more fun too.

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