Driving a stick shift

When you're first learning how to drive most people led to at least learn how to start driving on a stick shift. This is because even though most of the time, people use automatic transmissions, it's also good to have the education to at least operate a manual transmission. However, it can be a little intimidating especially on hills or any kind of sloped surface. In order to give yourself a little reading material for education purposes, you can look this topic up ahead of time.

The first thing you'll notice is that instead of just a gas pedal and a brake pedal, you now have three pedals to deal with because there is the addition of the clutch. The clutch is the main part of this whole process because it allows you to move from gear to gear. Timing this is important because you want to make sure the RPMs of your engine are up high enough to switch gears without making it grind or getting stuck in between them. Typically, this is one of the parts that requires a lot more practice, especially if you are driving in snow.

Using the Clutch Pedal

Starting a stick shift is different also because you need to keep the clutch pressed in while you hold the brake pedal down as well. Sometimes getting from the point where the vehicle is actually started in into the first gear can be especially hard. There's really no way to get around it except besides hands-on practice.

The ideal objective is that you hold onto the brake, and then use your left foot press in the clutch while you put it in first gear. However, even if you leave it in first gear such as at a stop sign, there is still a trick to taking your foot off the brake pedal and then applying the gas without killing the engine. This is why stopping on hills can be frightening for brand new stick shift drivers. Once you're able to accomplish this, it gives you a feel for how you should do it next time as well. It does take a few run-throughs to get it down, but you will if you keep practicing.

Manual Transmission Shift Layouts

As far as learning where the gears are, most of the transmission controls are in the shape of an H. This means that first and second will be on the left side and you'll have to shift to the right side to get to third and fourth. Some cars will also have a fifth gear and this should be on the same side. However, what you need to learn for this portion is exactly how far to move the gear shift to slide the gears together. This is the part of the training where you'll often hear gears grinding because the driver is still trying to figure that part out. As you improve in this area, you'll be able to shift from one gear to the other seamlessly.

One tool that you'll find especially helpful is the RPM gauge on your dashboard. When you see the needle moving higher and it coincides with the higher pitch of the engine, you'll know it's time to shift to a higher gear. Learning about driving a stick shift might seem a little overwhelming but it's worth the effort. By reading up on some tips before you actually attempt hands-on experience, at least you'll have a better idea of what your objective is. Then, you can put that knowledge into action and use real-life examples to improve your abilities.

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