If you already know how to drive an automatic transmission vehicle, it just takes a little practice and effort to learn how to shift gears manually using a stick shift. Here are some things you need to know in order to master driving a vehicle that has a manual transmission. Motor vehicles with manual transmissions cost less to purchase and they use less gasoline. So, now you know why you would want to purchase such a mode of transportation, and now you can read how to drive it.
To successfully get from one place to another and back again, you do not need to be able to downshift. The car will downshift for you. So, at first just worry about mastering shifting upwards. Lower gears are lower numbers. Correct shifting goes in numerical order. You start out in first gear, gain momentum, shift to second, increase your speed, shift to third. Continue on in this fashion. If the vehicle you are driving has four gears, then, obviously, fourth gear is your highest gear. When someone tells you a car is a five speed, this means fifth gear is the highest. The numbered gears do not include reverse or neutral. Neutral means you are not in any gear. If a vehicle is in neutral and on flat ground, it will not move. Put the same car on a hill in neutral, and it could roll backwards. It depends on the grade of the hill.
Usually shift knobs show the shift pattern. Different manual transmissions have different ways to go into reverse. Again, it is advisable to begin driving forward before working on backing the vehicle.
The big difference between automatic and manual transmissions is that there is an extra pedal in the manual. If you don’t press the extra pedal called a “clutch” with your foot at the same time you turn the key, the car will not start. You can try all day, but it will not happen. The recommended foot positioning for a manual is your left foot on the clutch,which is the leftmost pedal.Your right foot goes between the brake (middle pedal) and the accelerator, or gas pedal. If someone tells you to “give the car some gas” (say you are helping someone jump start a car) she wants you to press the far right foot pedal.
You can start a car no matter what gear it was left in when it was parked. However, some people recommend starting the car in neutral unless you are parked at the top of a hill, in which case it would be safer to start in first gear.
Once you have mastered how it feels to “put the car in first gear” you can easily up shift to the other gears. Sometimes when you are first learning, it will help you if you keep your left foot on the clutch at the same time you are accelerating at least once. However, this will probably cause your car to “peel out”. Quickly, you will not need to keep pressure on the clutch as long once you get a feel for what people call “the sweet spot”. What is meant by the sweet spot is that point at which the gear catches.
So, the following is a scenario of how you will get your manual transmission vehicle from your garage to your place of employment, and then back home again. Our example is a garage that is at the top of a sloping driveway. First, make sure the emergency brake or hand brake is engaged. Secondly, put your left foot on the clutch (far left), and your right foot on the middle pedal, the brake. Press the clutch fully into the floorboard. Insert the ignition key. Turn the key. Once the car has started, release the hand brake, and move the gear shift to reverse. You can keep your left foot on the clutch and fully remove your right foot from your brake. The car will zip backwards in reverse. Once you are backed up, your next move will be to go forward in first gear. Be sure your left foot is on the clutch and your right foot is on the brake. As you ease your right foot off of the brake, the left foot pushes the clutch towards the floor board. When you give the car some gas, pressing the accelerator with your right foot, the left foot comes off of the clutch. As soon as the car gains momentum, there will be a whirring sound. This means it is time to shift gears again. Stop pressing the gas with your right foot and start pressing the clutch with your left foot at this point. Once your foot is pressing the clutch, you shift the stick shift to second. When you reach about 30 miles per hour, and your RPM (revolutions per minute) are at around 3 (there is a gauge for this), you shift in the same manner from second to third gear. You don’t need to shift to fourth gear unless you are going around 40 MPH (miles per hour). If you have a 5-speed and are going 50 MPH or faster, you can shift to fifth gear. Okay, when you come to a stop sign or a stoplight, press clutch and the brake at the same time to come to a complete stop. If you are at the top of a hill, do the same thing, then switch to first gear, and “rev it” or “give it gas” so you don’t stall or roll backwards. You might stall or roll backwards the first 30 times, but eventually you will get the hang of it. When you get back to your driveway, which, as you will remember is a sloped driveway, you do not need to shift gears. However, if you do have to stop for another car, then go up the driveway in first gear.
Stick shift driving is fun and a dying skill. Since automatics are so easily accessible, there is not as great of a need to learn how to operate a manual transmission as there used to be. If you can master shifting gears yourself, you will ultimately have more control over your vehicle. Impress your friends and people you meet with your abilities to drive. If you are ever stranded somewhere and there is a manual transmission vehicle with gasoline in it, you can be the one to save everyone by driving to safety. Of course, you need the keys too.