Wednesday, 18 May 2016

How To Drive A Manual Transmission/Stick Shift -1.

Have you ever wanted to learn at least the basics of how to drive a manual transmission?

Driving a vehicle with manual transmission, also known as a stick shift, can be seen as intimidating and stressful by many either young or old. Many drivers go through life without owning or even driving a manual transmission, but it is a good skill to have as these types of vehicles are popular and you never know when the situation where you have to drive one may present itself.

What is a manual transmission?

It is a transmission where the driver has to use a third pedal (the clutch) and manipulate a shift lever to put a car in gear.

Why Learn to Drive a Stick?

Someone who knows how to drive a manual transmission car can also easily drive an automatic, but the reverse isn’t true. Better to know it and not need it, than need it and not know it.

Manual transmission cars are generally less expensive than automatics. Because very few people today know how to drive a stick shift, the demand for them is low.

You would also love to know that manual transmissions get better gas mileage than automatic transmissions. If you have an interest in fuel economy, you want a car with a stick shift.

Did you know that if you have a dead battery, you can push start many cars equipped with a stick?

Cool cars, such as vintage cars or older sports cars and even today's high performance cars, often come with sticks! I mean, it makes no sense driving an high performance vehicle and all you do move and stop. It's no fun at all compared to an high performance car with a manual transmission.

However, this fun is considerably less if you drive in hilly or mountainous terrain often or commute in stop-and-go traffic. But when you master the skills of driving a stick, you will never switch back to an automatic.

Here’s our simple guide on how to drive manual transmission/stick shift.


First, you would want to get acquainted with the components of your dashboard down to the pedals and stick.

- The pedals: which includes the clutch, brake and gas/accelerator.

> The clutch pedal – which is absent on your automatic transmission car, is the pedal on the far left. You press the clutch pedal down completely before you shift gears up or down (Gear 1 to 5 or the reverse). The clutch disengages the spinning engine from the spinning wheels and allows you to switch gears without grinding the teeth of each separate gear.

> The brake is the pedal in the middle,  it’s used for slowing down or bringing the car to a full stop. 

> The pedal on the far right is the gas/accelerator, it is used for increasing your car speed. Works like the gas pedal on your automatic transmission.

> The gear/stick shifter: The gear shifter shifts the gears on your transmission, from one to five then reverse gear. Some older cars might come with four gears but most modern manual transmission vehicles come with five or six gears. On the knob of the gear shift you’ll find a diagram that shows each positions of the shifter in order to engage each gear.

> The tachometer: On most manual cars, there is a gauge on the dashboard called the tachometer. Higher RPMs mean more power, but there's a limit to this rule. The red area of the gauge, called the "red line," signifies RPMs that are too high for your engine. Shifting gears allows you to keep the RPMs from reaching this level.

The tachometer shows you how many revolutions per minute you are going. As a beginner driving a stick, the tachometer is a good way to help you determine when you should shift your stick up or down.

Generally, you should shift gears up when the tachometer is around “3” or 3,000 RPMs; shift down when the tachometer is around “1” or 1,000 RPMs. After some time of driving a stick shift, you’ll be able to figure out when to shift by the way your engine sounds and feels.

If you are still having doubts then you should keep this at your finger tips.

i)  When in motion and you are not sure if to shift up or down, shift up. This way you will do less damage to your car if you shift to a higher gear than a lower one, since the engine won't be revving. But if it feels like the car is being held back even after properly releasing the clutch then  you should downshift ( Not releasing your leg for the clutch properly could cause your car to stall).

ii) If you find yourself moving up on an hilly road, make sure it's at a low gear (Gear 1 or 2, preferably gear 1 depending on how hilly the road is). The steeper the hill, or the heavier the load in your car, the longer you should stay in a low gear. This will keep you from revving your car's engine.

Well, let us leave you to get acquainted with your cockpit. We shall be back to see if you're ready for the next stage of stick driving. Please do leave your comments or reactions below.


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