Learn How to Drive a Car With Manual Transmission

Published: 01st June 2011
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Learning how to drive a car with a manual transmission is fiddly at first, but will become second nature with practice. Getting familiar to the physical feel of the gear lever, the brakes and the clutch is obligatory when you are first learning how to drive. The left foot needs to be used whilst driving; this is essential in order to depress the clutch for changing gear.

A driver that is accustomed to driving an automatic transmission type car will find driving with both feet strange and uncomfortable, because it is natural to rest the left foot whilst driving.

Gear lever

Learning how to drive a manual transmission itself is confusing as well to the new learner driver. Sitting in the vehicle on a driveway and practicing shifting from first to second and second to third gear and so on, is the best way for learning the gear positions. The driver needs to practice with the clutch pedal down while changing gears as this is essential to learning how to drive a manual car.

Eventually, clutch control biting point will become second nature as well. Once a person understands how the clutch and the gear change function together, it is time to move off.

Starting the engine

Starting the engine on a manual transmission after the preliminary checks requires checking the parking brake is on and checking the gear lever is in neutral, switch on the ignition, check the oil and ignition warning lights go out. With your left foot press the clutch pedal fully down. Move the gear lever into first gear or reverse to start off and then slowly and smoothly let the clutch pedal up until the engine tone changes slightly, this change means the clutch is at the biting point.

Clutch control

With experience you will find the biting point easily. Keep the left foot still in this position. Some cars will want more gas to start moving, and others will start moving as soon as the clutch is released. You must be able to find the biting point confidently Releasing the foot off the clutch too fast will result in a stalled engine, and then the whole process must be started over again.

Practice makes perfect and getting familiar with the car is all part of any driving experience, not just the manual style cars.

Moving off

However, if the car didn't stall; you should prepare to move off if safe to do so, with your right foot press the accelerator pedal slightly and hold it steady. Slowly and smoothly let up the clutch pedal to the biting point; hold the clutch steady in this position.

Now make your final safety checks, check all round the car, use your mirrors and decide if a signal is required. If itís safe to move off release the parking break and the same time let the clutch pedal come up a little more. The car will begin to move, tight clutch control is needed so keep the clutch pedal just above the biting point.

Gently press the accelerator for more speed and let the clutch up smoothly, keep your left foot just over the clutch pedal and as s you move away look over your right shoulder to check the blind spot.

Changing Gear

In order to make progress, once the car reaches the point where it seems to need a little more power, remove the right foot from the gas pedal, press the clutch down with the left foot and move the gear lever into the next gear. Let the clutch out smoothly while at the same time as pressing the accelerator pedal. (Donít forget to put your hand back on the steering wheel).

Generally, the best time to move to the next gear is at about 3000 rpm's. When it is time to slow down, the car can be stopped at any time by progressively pressing the brake pedal. But, there will be a point where the gear lever will have to be moved into neutral when fully stopped, otherwise it will stall and require to be restarted.


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