So I'm trying to learn how to drive stick

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 10, 2008 4:25 PM GMT
    And im quite lost
    i stalled my friends car a good 5 times before i called it a day
    so anyway do any of you have any pointers or tips to help someone whose learning
    its the whole braking and going forward thing that confuses me
    thanks!
  • Timbales

    Posts: 13993

    Nov 10, 2008 5:26 PM GMT
    It's really all about the timing of releasing the clutch and pressing the gas at the right times. Each car can feel a bit different. I think the best way to find a big empty parking lot and practice there.
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Nov 10, 2008 5:31 PM GMT
    Boy does this bring back memories.....

    I have a weird slant on saving gas dollars and in Kansas, many people drive stick. When I was in college, I was determined to get there! I enlisted one of my best friends from HS who had a stick shift and he gave me lessons.
    I certainly jerked his car around, but it paid off. All three of my vehicles are stick shift.. I can't imagine driving any other way.. and sometimes its a little weird to drive my Dad's vehicle which is automatic.


    Btw, every car's clutch is a little different so you are always going to have a little "jerking around" when you start. Just get the timing down of when to push in the clutch and change gears... you'll get there!
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Nov 10, 2008 5:35 PM GMT
    Yeah... this does bring back memories

    I LOVE little convertible sports cars icon_cool.gif

    When I was in college I had a Triumph Spitfire
    The dam thing was in the shop more than the road but it was a blast
    when it was
    Stick shift is all about being the Top ..... It's all in the timing
    You have to listen to the engine
    and when it whines .... hit that clutch
  • EricLA

    Posts: 3461

    Nov 10, 2008 7:02 PM GMT
    First practice with just the clutch with you foot off the gas entirely. Put the car in gear and very slowly release the clutch until you first get contact and the gear begins to engage. Practice this several times so you can get comfortable where this "sweet spot" is. In the future, you never need to depress the clutch pedal much below this point. If you're pushing it to the floor, you're pushing it too far. It's a waste of effort, and I also think leads to poor shifting habits.

    You can get the car to move in first gear without the gas by using this very slow engaging process. So you might want to practice this a bit. When you're to start using the gas, just do so as you're still practicing this slow engagement of the clutch with the gears. Think of the action between the two feet as almost like a teeter totter.

    Do not treat the clutch pedal as a hot potato, as if you have to get off of it as fast as possible. Take it easy. Release it easily and as necessary. But, you do not want to keep your foot on the pedal unless you're ready to shift. If you keep your foot on that pedal unnecessarily, you could put undue pressure on the clutch plate and cause it to wear quicker.
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    Nov 10, 2008 7:11 PM GMT
    It's very interesting reading comments from guys in the US about 'stick' shift.

    In the UK manual transmissions are very much the norm (though automatics are becoming more popular, largely because of manual overrides and improvements in economy). My grandparents own a garage ('shop', I think, in the US) and so I first started driving (on private land) when I was five, with my father operating the clutch. When I was seven I was able to reach the pedals on a Mini and so was able to learn to drive it. Driving a manual car has therefore been second nature to me for most of my life.

    When taking tuition in order to pass my driving test the instructor gave me some very specific advice. 'Set' the gas pedal by pressing it about as far as a Pound coin (not sure what the equivalent size is) would if it was under your shoe then raise the clutch until it 'bites' and, as the car moves off, continue to apply the gas and raise the clutch in unison (generally to keep the same engine RPM until the clutch is fully engaged, then to raise the RPM in order to accelerate).

    An American friend of mine and I went to collect a new car of his in Germany a couple of years ago, which had a manual transmission. He was surprised to see me using the emergency brake (hand brake in the UK) for hill starts and had been taught to use the foot brake in the US. I would very quickly get into the habit of using the emergency brake for hill starts as it allows you to concentrate on using the two pedals that you need to (gas and clutch) and feel the car start to squat down at the back as the clutch bites.
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    Nov 10, 2008 7:18 PM GMT
    Also, when braking you want to wait until the car is almost about to start stalling then press the clutch pedal. 'Coasting' (allowing the car to move without the clutch engaged at all) removes one of the best methods you have to control the speed of the vehicle, so you want the clutch to remain engaged for as long as possible.

    It's also worth noting that you should never 'ride' the clutch (i.e. keep the clutch in a semi-engaged position for too long). If you want to creep forwards then simply engage first and disengage it when necessary. If you 'ride' the clutch then it will burn out rapidly.

    When you are stationary you should be in neutral with the hand brake applied and your feet off of the pedals. Some people keep their foot on the brake pedal, which is fine, but if you keep a gear engaged it can be easy to engage the clutch accidentally and stall the car or move forwards/backwards and hit something.
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    Nov 10, 2008 7:19 PM GMT
    Treat the balance/use of the clutch and accelerator much like you would the balance between a cock and the asshole it's entering. Sounds crude, but works.
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    Nov 10, 2008 7:39 PM GMT
    Curious did you ever play video games? I find this inability to use a stick is related to being female and/or not having played video games.
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    Nov 10, 2008 7:41 PM GMT
    hah thanks everyone
    i kinda understand
    but i think i just need some more real experence
  • MikemikeMike

    Posts: 6932

    Nov 10, 2008 7:42 PM GMT
    It's like sex, to some it just comes more naturally!!icon_smile.gif
  • metalxracr

    Posts: 761

    Nov 10, 2008 7:47 PM GMT
    Don't worry, it will just click with you. It won't take long before it becomes second nature to you. All you need is lots of driving time.

    I prefer to buy only manual transmission cars. There are rare exceptions though.


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    Nov 10, 2008 7:47 PM GMT
    RoddenShaw saidWhen you are stationary you should be in neutral with the hand brake applied and your feet off of the pedals. Some people keep their foot on the brake pedal, which is fine, but if you keep a gear engaged it can be easy to engage the clutch accidentally and stall the car or move forwards/backwards and hit something.


    I think you should keep your foot on the brake pedal even if you leave the car in neutral. This will engage the brake lights which will help identify you to other drivers (especially the one behind you).
  • drakutis

    Posts: 586

    Nov 10, 2008 7:50 PM GMT
    RunintheCity saidTreat the balance/use of the clutch and accelerator much like you would the balance between a cock and the asshole it's entering. Sounds crude, but works.


    I agree on getting the balance down, but now you've made me horny!!! icon_razz.gif
  • TallGWMvballe...

    Posts: 1925

    Nov 10, 2008 7:50 PM GMT
    RoddenShaw saidAlso, when braking you want to wait until the car is almost about to start stalling then press the clutch pedal. 'Coasting' (allowing the car to move without the clutch engaged at all) removes one of the best methods you have to control the speed of the vehicle, so you want the clutch to remain engaged for as long as possible.

    It's also worth noting that you should never 'ride' the clutch (i.e. keep the clutch in a semi-engaged position for too long). If you want to creep forwards then simply engage first and disengage it when necessary. If you 'ride' the clutch then it will burn out rapidly.

    When you are stationary you should be in neutral with the hand brake applied and your feet off of the pedals. Some people keep their foot on the brake pedal, which is fine, but if you keep a gear engaged it can be easy to engage the clutch accidentally and stall the car or move forwards/backwards and hit something.



    This is VERY good advice --- both of his posts,
    I leaned on a 54 Ford sedan -- 3 on the column! and then all my cars and motorcycles have been manual transmissions until the last 8 years when I had t have a mini van which comes with automatic,
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    Nov 10, 2008 7:50 PM GMT
    jomach333 saidhah thanks everyone
    i kinda understand
    but i think i just need some more real experence


    ... just do it. Pay no attention to anyone who gives you grief if/when you stall coming out of a stop light. Most likely they're driving an automatic and thus just not as cool as you icon_smile.gificon_smile.gificon_smile.gif
  • metalxracr

    Posts: 761

    Nov 10, 2008 7:51 PM GMT
    yo_mamali said

    I think you should keep your foot on the brake pedal even if you leave the car in neutral. This will engage the brake lights which will help identify you to other drivers (especially the one behind you).


    I completely agree!! You need to let cars behind you know you're stopped.
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    Nov 10, 2008 8:10 PM GMT
    yo_mamali said
    RoddenShaw saidWhen you are stationary you should be in neutral with the hand brake applied and your feet off of the pedals. Some people keep their foot on the brake pedal, which is fine, but if you keep a gear engaged it can be easy to engage the clutch accidentally and stall the car or move forwards/backwards and hit something.


    I think you should keep your foot on the brake pedal even if you leave the car in neutral. This will engage the brake lights which will help identify you to other drivers (especially the one behind you).


    The difficulty with this is that pedals often move in an impact which can cause damage to your leg. Equally, having your leg in a fixed position with no room to move can hurt it during impact. I was recently hit from behind having just stopped the car. Because I still had my foot on the brake pedal the weight of my body moving forwards was transferred down it, which hurt my knee. If something was to hit you from the front (or you were to be propelled into something in front of you) there's a good chance that the pedals would move backwards which can do some severe damage to your leg.

    If you are worried about visibility then you really ought to have your daytime lights or headlights switched on, which will also switch on the rear lights. In fog (thick fog) use your high density lights.
  • auryn

    Posts: 2061

    Nov 10, 2008 8:37 PM GMT
    learn the timing quickly... do not keep your foot on the clutch. don't tackle hills until you know how to handle the clutch.

    I live in a city full of hills, so I had to learn how to handle hills fast and still hate driving a manual when i'm stopped on a hill. freaks me out, but i've rarely stalled on a hill.

    once you learn, the downshifting from 5th to 3rd will be your friend.
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    Nov 10, 2008 8:54 PM GMT
    Timberoo saidIt's really all about the timing of releasing the clutch and pressing the gas at the right times. Each car can feel a bit different. I think the best way to find a big empty parking lot and practice there.


    That's what I did, back in 1984, when I bought a Mazda RX-7 and had no idea how to drive it. It just took practice, and yeah, I also stalled the engine a lot before driving stick became second nature. Hell, I still stall out once in a while, and I've been driving stick for 24 years.
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    Nov 10, 2008 9:16 PM GMT
    I have been driving manuals since I was a kid and love them (it has some sexual vibe to it)...but once I moved to LA..my Lord..it's a pain in the ass here. When I was living in SF there were streets I would not drive down, having to stop going uphill, people would pull up right behind me and I would sometimes roll back and hit them.
    Sticks are fun to drive, but I would not have one in a dense urban area. Keep working at it.
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    Nov 10, 2008 9:23 PM GMT
    Wait, absolutely nobody has tried to turn this into a sexual innuendo?

    I'm sadly disappointed in the RJ community... icon_sad.gif
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    Nov 10, 2008 9:31 PM GMT
    TallGWMvballer saidI leaned on a 54 Ford sedan -- 3 on the column! and then all my cars and motorcycles have been manual transmissions until the last 8 years when I had t have a mini van which comes with automatic,


    A man after my own heart. I passed my first driver's license on a manual in the mid-1960s. And those 3-speed "standards" were so quaint, if about as sporty as a bench front seat. My cars have been about half & half manual & automatic, since some only came with auto.

    And of course all of my motorcycles have been clutch, with the exception of this Vespa I use as an urban errand runner, here in South Florida. I've never worn out a bike clutch in my life, and take pride when passengers can't tell when I've shifted. In fact, most of my bikes with clutch cable adjusters never needed to be touched for the entire time that I owned each of them.
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    Nov 10, 2008 9:36 PM GMT
    Auryn saidlearn the timing quickly... do not keep your foot on the clutch. don't tackle hills until you know how to handle the clutch.

    I live in a city full of hills, so I had to learn how to handle hills fast and still hate driving a manual when i'm stopped on a hill. freaks me out, but i've rarely stalled on a hill.

    once you learn, the downshifting from 5th to 3rd will be your friend.


    well i live in florida so there are no hills anyways
    and yea i got yelled at for clutching and gassing at the same time...my bad icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Nov 10, 2008 9:45 PM GMT
    Growing up on the farm, of course I started driving stick when I was about six or seven years old. But lately, I've been using the hand brake more and more often on hills. Years ago, everyone gave you room to roll back four or five feet at the stop signs, but nowadays they crowd your ass. Just ease off the clutch a bit before releasing the brake and away you go without any rollback.

    I do have a bone to pick with Suzuki, though. My quad has an odd sort of clutchless-manual transmission. Instead of simply removing the clutch, they replaced it with a second rear brake lever identical to the clutch lever. Switching back and forth between the road bike and the quad without extreme concentration is likely to get me killed, very embarrassed, or both.