Tips for Learning How to Drive a Manual Car
If you didn’t learn to drive a manual transmission vehicle when you were young, it may seem impossible to attempt it now, when you’ve been driving the same way for years. But just because you’re used to automatic transmissions doesn’t mean you can’t master a stick shift. Here are some tips for learning how to drive a manual car as a rookie.
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Learning how to drive a manual car is much easier when you follow these steps
Familiarize yourself: Once you get into the driver’s seat of the manual transmission car you plan to learn in, look around you. Take time to adjust your feet placement so you know where the clutch pedal is when you need to reach for it with your left foot. Also, study the gear shifter and how the gears are arranged. You should be able to reach for and operate both of these without having to take your eyes off the road and look for them. Check out the tachometer (RPMs) too, since that’s not something you’ve likely ever looked at before.
Practice timing: The hardest part of mastering a manual transmission vehicle is getting the timing right so the car doesn’t stall. You can practice by keeping the car turned off and emergency brake on while you move through the steps. Press down on the clutch, move to the next gear, and slowly release the clutch as you press down on the gas. Repeat this process until it you have a smooth, natural rhythm.
Start in empty lots: If you can master low gears at low speeds, you can master the faster ones, so start your attempts under 20 mph in an empty parking lot. It’s safer if your car stalls here than on a public road. Plus, this will give you time to learn how to read and monitor the RPMs. Bring along a friend who knows how to drive stick so they can coach you on your timing.
Feel the car: If you’re “doing it wrong,” the car will let you know. Listen for the engine suddenly increasing in volume and RPMs fluctuate, since that indicates the need to shift to the next gear. If you feel resistance when shifting, you might be moving to the wrong gear. Many people who drive stick shift know when to adjust gears by habit, but that’s not a skill you’ll have for your first drives. So, take the time to learn the speeds at which you normally have to shift so you know when they’re coming.
Practice makes perfect, so only when the car stops stalling and you’re comfortable shifting gears can you move to public roads. Once you reach that point, the rest will come easily.
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Source: Digital Trends