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Driving a standard tranny... (1 Viewer)

Paul McElligott

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Okay, I learned to drive on an automatic, largely because I had to learn on my mother's car, and have driven automatics ever since.

I wouldn't mind driving a manual (especially wouldn't mind the $800-$1500 savings when buying the car), but my lack of experience driving one makes me hesitant about buying one. Any suggestions for getting experience with a standard shift before it's time to buy a new one?
 
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I also learned with an automatic trans. What I did was just buy a car with a manual.I then had no choice but to learn. Just don't let it intimidate you. I'm sure you will pick it up quickly .
 

Paul McElligott

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I know the basics:

clutch, lift off the gas, shift, release clutch, go.

How long did it take you to get the hang of it?
 

ChrisMatson

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See if any of the rental car places near you have any manual transmission cars. Renting one for a day is a great way to learn. Go with a friend that knows how to drive a manual transmission, and then go to large, flat, open space like an industrial park, school parking lot, etc... Once you are out of 1st gear, it is quite easy. Practice stop-and-go and also try some reverse. You can do it.
 

Matt DeVillier

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my advice would be to practice on an older car first, until you get the hang of it, that way test driving actual means something. I'd say it too me about 2 weeks to get the hang of it, and another 2-3 to really get smooth. I learned/practiced on an older car before getting my new car, and I'm glad I did as it saved a bit of wear on the clutch :)

here's a tip - start the car on a flat surface, depress the clutch and shift into first gear. slowly release the clutch until you feel it engage and the car will slowly cleerp forward. remember that postion!

also, getting from stop to first gear smoothly is by far the hardest part. everything else is a breeze.
 

Andrew Pratt

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Once you go stick you'll never go back:) Actually the advice above is right on the money...you'll pick up the basic's pretty quickly and the rest will come with practice...and or a good teacher. I've seen a lot of people driving standards poorly but its really not that hard if you're willing to learn. Basically learn to "feel" the car and don't rely on the RPM guage and you'll be off to the races.
 

RobR

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You can go ahead and buy the car now. I bought my car without knowing how to drive a stick (and it was a new 1990 Mustang 5.0 convertible :D ). To start off, release the clutch half-way up, apply some gas, then slowly release the clutch all the way. The car will over-rev on the first few tries until you get the hang of it.
 

Malcolm R

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I did the same as Russell, always drove automatics then one day bought an automatic and just had to do it. It took some practice, and embarassment, but it didn't take too long to get the hang of it.

1. As RobR says, you will over-rev when you're learning. Get used to it. :)

2. You will stall the vehicle at traffic lights and stop signs, usually in the middle of rush hour, get used to it. :)

3. You may shift into the wrong gear by mistake, just press the clutch back down and get the correct gear.

Try and get some practice starting from a dead stop. As others said, that's the hard part. Once the wheels are turning, it's a piece of cake.

That said...I think my next car is an automatic. :D
 

Mike Lenthol

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Never driven a stick: I'm curious as to just how shifting is done in a car where you can't hear/feel the engine until past about 5000rpm? (Or when the radio is up)
 
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I say about a week. You will stall the car. You will over rev the engine . No big deal. I agree that renting one for a day or weekend is a good move . Good luck!!
 

Yee-Ming

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I've always wondered about the wisdom of allowing people to earn driving licences on automatics? here in Singapore you must learn on a manual (and take the test in one), even if after that you never use one again.

having said that, to add to the good advice already given by Chris and Matt, I'd also suggest renting an older car, for the reason that a slightly worn clutch doesn't "grip" as hard or as sharply as a brand new one. it's easier to get the hang of it, with less risk of stalling the car on numerous occasions (which can be frustrating and disheartening). I believe Japanese cars tend to have "softer" clutches as compared to European cars (though I can't say anything about American cars, which are not common here), so that's another thing to look out for in rentals to try out and learn on.
 

Todd Hochard

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I'm curious as to just how shifting is done in a car where you can't hear/feel the engine until past about 5000rpm?
Do you know of such a car? I don't. For every car I've driven, you can feel the powerband at any particular throttle position. So, if you are accelerating at 1/4 throttle, bumping redline without noticing just doesn't happen. At that throttle opening, you can feel the rev rate slow down, even if you can't hear the engine.

For the question asked- do you know any friends with manual cars?

Todd
 

Matt DeVillier

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(snip) and on the 2-3 shift in the Z at the track. Going into 1st at 70mph is NOT cool.
don't most transmissions these days prevent you from shifting into 1st when above a certain speed? I'm pretty sure all the VW's do (~3mph I believe). The only gear I ever miss is going from 4->3 instead of to 5, and not all that often (been driving my stick now for 8 mos). I wish I had a 6th gear sometimes =)
 

Mike Lenthol

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Do you know of such a car?
Pretty much any full size luxury Jap with 6+ cylinders. :) The only indicator of RPM in those is the tach, and the gas needle.

Feeling by the power band seems like it would not be very fuel efficient, as there is enough power below 2000rpm to flow with the traffic with a feather light touch on the gas.

How does real world auto vs. manual compare MPG wise?
 

NickSo

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Do rental car places have manuals??? I wanna learn manual too, but i have no place to get ahold of a manual tranny car... I'd think they'd all rent out automatic just coz the majority of ppl drive auto.. and they wouldnt have to deal with customers like 17 year old kids learning how to drive a stick burning out thier trannies ;)
 

Steve_Tk

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I'm curious as to just how shifting is done in a car where you can't hear/feel the engine until past about 5000rpm
I never look at my tach really. You really just get used to your car, and know when is right to switch gears for normal driving. If you are really flooring it then yeh you will usually switch when the tach jumps in the red.

I've never driven an auto for more than a few minutes when driving a friends car. It's weird because I always put my left foot down when I think I should switch gears and reach for the shifter when I don't need too.
 

Will Pomeroy

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don't most transmissions these days prevent you from shifting into 1st when above a certain speed? I'm pretty sure all the VW's do (~3mph I believe).
Thats just the effect of the synchro-meshs. The synchro is like a "mini clutch" in between every gear, that, when you shift, smoothly spins the gearbox up to match the road speed before you can completely put the gearbox into a specific gear. If you're going somewhat quick, the gearbox is going to be spinning at a rate proportional to the last gear that it was in (slower). When you try to put it into 1st when you're traveling at speed, the gears have to speed up so that they're spinning at a rate proportional to first gear, which in most cases is much faster than the rate that the gear box is currently turning, which can take a few seconds. Only then can you put the gear box into first. If its quiet, and the engine is idling, you can usually hear the the gear box spin up, if you try this yourself! Pretty neat, eh? :D
 

Dalila

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Driving a stick is both easy and rewarding. Best way to learn is to just put it into first move forward stop... put it in reverse move back stop repeat, repeat, repeat.

Getting the car moving is the hardest point when learning to drive a standard. Once moving, it can be more forgiving of bad shifts as you learn.

Another tip you may need is when you have to stop on an incline. A handy tip for the beginner is to pull up your emergency brake and with one hand on it, start your shift... as you feel the car pull release the brake (this way you don't have to panic about rolling back into someone.)

As for not being able to feel powerband under 5k. That's umm bullocks :) You can always feel the powerband in any car when you are the driver. Plus it's more than just that, there are also the audible, and visual clues. Hope this helped :)
 

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