14 Oct, 2020
It was part of the American dream. Hitting the open road, shifting gears, and enjoying your freedom. Well, two-thirds of that statement is still correct, but the shifting gears part seems to be disappearing. Amazingly, only 5 percent of production cars have a manual transmission. And as low as 18 percent of drivers know how to drive a stick shift. Regardless, learning how to operate a manual transmission is still useful, and that is why we will help guide you in learning how to shift gears like a pro. But first, let us look at the components that go into driving a manual car.
The first thing you will notice when you settle yourself into a manual car is a strange third pedal called a clutch. In case you were wondering, the clutch is the pedal located closest to the driver's side door. What its purpose? The clutch is used to engage and disengage the moving parts in the drive shaft. When engaged, it interrupts power allowing shifting to occur without grinding.
A gear shifter is found in both automatic and manual cars. However, the gear shifter in a manual car is used more frequently. As its name states, the gear shifter enables you to shift gears. When you engage the clutch, you shift the gears. Important note: before you attempt to drive, it’s vital to learn where each gear is located. Become accustomed to how it feels so you aren’t winging it while you are driving.
Locate a safe area while learning. An empty parking lot is ideal. Prior to beginning your session, ensure the parking brake is on (manuals roll when in neutral). Additionally, it helps to have a seasoned driver assist you while you learn. It’s not difficult to operate a stick shift, but it takes practice. Relax and have fun.
If you ask for assistance from a friend or family member who can operate a manual transmission, practice regularly, and exercise patience, you will be heading out on the open road in classic style. Have fun and stay safe.