Still Important to Know: Manual Transmission

For the most part, cars are built without a manual transmission with a vast majority being automatic, which begs the question of why would you need to drive a car with a stick shift? The fact is, you may never need to know how to drive a stick, but if you do, you won’t be limited to what vehicles you can choose. At the most basic form, being able to drive a vehicle that has a manual transmission with three pedals and a stick shift, can be a lot of fun on the track in a car that’s a sporty model.

Another reason to know how to drive a stick shift is the need to be able to drive in an emergency. If you have a friend who does the driving and they drive a stick shift vehicle when an emergency arises during your fun and adventure you may have to be the driver if your friend becomes incapacitated and unable to take the wheel. This is a skill that seems to be lost and needs to be one you’ll be able to perform when it’s time to head out on the road.

Get in and Get Going

You need to start out in neutral when you’re ready to get going and you want to have a person who’s experienced in driving a stick shift next to you for the ride. In order to make sure you’re in neutral before you turn the ignition you need to push the clutch pedal in with your left foot and put the car in neutral by moving the stick into an area that’s not one of the gears. These transmissions don’t have an actual N for Neutral on the gear selector, just select an area between the gears.

While you’re holding down the clutch with your left foot you need your right foot on the brake. Start the engine and move the shifter into the gear you need which should be either R for Reverse or 1 for first gear. Once you’ve engaged the gear, let out the clutch slowly as you use your right foot to give the car a little bit of gas. You will roll a bit if you don’t make sure you feel the friction point, where the gear engages while you’re starting to move and get your drive going.

If you’re moving forward, you’ll hear when the engine reaches an rpm level that requires shifting. When that happens you’re going to need to let off the gas, push the clutch, shift and then push the gas again. Eventually, you’ll be able to do this quickly and be able to drive smoothly like you can in a vehicle that uses an automatic transmission. Even parking can be tricky, but if you remember to use the parking brake and have the vehicle in gear when you park, you’ll be able to accomplish this task as well. As with anything else, practice makes perfect and with a stick shift, you might even discover you can have more fun.


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