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What is the Best Way to Learn How to Drive with a Manual Transmission? Is there anything I should do to get prepared?

asked Sep 05 '10 at 13:42

Craighton's gravatar image

Craighton ♦♦

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a car [not new!] and an empty lot! nothing compares to figuring it out and learning the hard way. You'll end up a much better driver for it

answered Sep 05 '10 at 13:46

Brandon%20Pierce's gravatar image

Brandon Pierce

Dont be scared to give it gas if you drove auto you should be able to steer the rest is easy after you master pulling off

answered Sep 05 '10 at 13:47

dre__j's gravatar image


First master clutch control - this is you using your left foot and holding the car still just using the clutch. If you can find a slight incline, all the better - you can feel the car a lot better.

Then master slowly moving away. Try it without gas first (if the car isn't diesel, then ensure you're on flat road - the car will struggle, otherwise) and slowly engage the clutch fully into 1st Gear. Then learn mastering applying gas whilst engaging the clutch. You'll soon get the hang of it.

When changing gear, just remember that the clutch can be depressed as fast as you like, but must be lifted up (re-engaged) slowly.

If you've never driven before and this is your first time learning, get with a driving instructor. They'll teach you far batter, quicker and faster - they do it day-in-day out, after all.

answered Sep 05 '10 at 13:51

swinnie's gravatar image


The basics: Practice in a large parking lot where there's a lot of room.

  • Be as smooth as you possibly can at all times.
  • Don't just lift your foot off the pedals, raise them slowly. (take 1-2 seconds to remove your foot from the pedals - gas, brake, even more for the clutch.)
  • If the car starts bucking, press and hold the clutch down. Then try again.

Don't worry about the car dying. Just take a deep breathe, relax, and start again. The big parts are to stay calm and relaxed, and don't do anything jerky (to fast). Also, learn to feel with your feet.

And never use the clutch to hold the car in place on an incline. It overheats the clutch, and prematurely wears it out. (And if someone comes up behind you, your brake lights won't be on to tell them you are stopped.)

Good luck!

answered Sep 05 '10 at 13:53

r0ckrat's gravatar image


edited Sep 05 '10 at 13:55

Accelerate the vehicle with the throttle, not the clutch. That means don't "slip the clutch"--don't leave the clutch half-engaged for any longer than necessary for a smooth takeoff. Engage the clutch quickly and with the engine at a low RPM (ideally you can get the RPM to match your current speed at the next gear ratio, but you'll get a feel for that after a while), and then proceed to use your gas pedal to accelerate the car. Let off the gas, disengage the clutch, shift, engage clutch and THEN use the throttle to accelerate through the next gear.

answered Sep 05 '10 at 14:03

dmeyer302's gravatar image


Here's a few tips just to get you started with the gearing. It's a long winded post i'm sorry but it would be way easier to show you.

I'm guessing that you will be sitting on the left side of the car, USA etc

Center for neutral, top right for 1st, bottom right for 2nd, back to center and straight up for 3rd, straight down for 4th and diagonal left for 5th.

When you go back down the box you can go straight to neutral and go to any gear you want, but i'm guessing the instructor will tell you to go back down the box gear by gear so that you use engine breaking. I think it's generally safer. Remember that you can go to any gear in the box when you go up, you don't always need to methodically go through each.

I think it's bad habit to slow down and go say from 5th straight to 2nd or 1st because you are less in control or so they say.

With the manual take some time to find the biting point, that point where you can hold the car in a gear without it going forward or backward and you can make tiny adjustments to keep it there, u'll feel it through your leg, when you find that bite then you can slowly put on some gas. I'm not in a car right now but it's probably about 2k rpm you can slowly let the clutch all the way out and as you do that, apply more gas, if it stutters then you simply have not given it enough.

You can hold the car on the biting point on a bill too, you might need to give it a tiny bit of gas to hold it there. I often do this at traffic lights although your instructor will tell you to put the handbrake on. But if you don't have your hand break on and someone crashed into you from behind then you will get less whiplash.

On the flat you can get rolling by using the clutch to go from the bite point and then slowly pull it out and the engine will pull away slowly on idle.

And don't look at the gears as you change them and don't look at your feet.

When driving look where you want to go and you should naturally steer there. Same as if you look at that pretty girl for too long on the sidewalk with the short shorts then you are going to drive either into her or into the nearest lamp post.

answered Sep 05 '10 at 14:14

SignOff's gravatar image


edited Sep 05 '10 at 14:18

Took me about 10 minutes to get the feel of how much gas to use until the clutch engaged, then I was off. Took me a couple of days to get the hang of starting while on a hill without rolling backwards but I used the emergency brake to help with that. Have someone with experience drive the car first while you look at their feet. You'll notice they take a little time to get used to the clutch/gas relationship if it's a car they have never drove, they are all a little different.

answered Sep 05 '10 at 14:15

teddgcm's gravatar image


edited Sep 05 '10 at 14:17

Its the most easiest thing to do. People say it's hard to drive a manual but it ain't. I am English so we have to learn how to drive a manual really.

I don't have a licence myself but I used to have a "Past" where I took cars out with out the owners permission. lol

And when I say owners permission I mean.....Steal. lol

Like I said all in the past.

It's easy to drive a Manual. Get a banged up car and learn from that. And watch some youtube videos, they help.

answered Sep 05 '10 at 15:52

Database's gravatar image


Try not to burn the clutch. Most important part as far as I'm concerned. If you feel the clutch start grinding, let off the clutch as fast as you can and get on the throttle. You will probably spin your tires a bit but tires cost a lot less to replace then a clutch. Just remember that. Trust me, I know from experience.

answered Sep 05 '10 at 22:26

chadt4's gravatar image


Well here in India, We have cars with manual transmission... So for obtaining perfect skills, a trainer is required as they would tell you the exact instructions. But make sure you do switch gears properly without burning too much of gas. Switching gears while the RPM 3 is the best to get the best mileage for your car. Never max RPM. Also if you have to slow down like from 80 to 30 and if your gear that you have already selected is high, then immediately hold down the clutch so as to prevent the engine from stopping.

First, When you drive it, It would be difficult, but Practice every day to get expert into this! ;)

answered Dec 18 '12 at 13:29

Tharun's gravatar image


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Asked: Sep 05 '10 at 13:42

Seen: 11,808 times

Last updated: Dec 19 '12 at 19:10