There was a time when driving a manual car seemed to be preferred over driving one with an automatic transmission.
A car that has a manual transmission allows you to shift the gears during the drive, use three pedals for driving, and be fully engaged with the vehicle. Today, fewer than three percent of all cars in the market are sold with a manual transmission. There just isn’t as much of a demand for this type of transmission to be used for most vehicles, but if you think you might want to shift gears, there are a few things you need to know.
All that Shifting is a Lot of Work
Whether you need to speed up or slow down, you’ll need to use the stick and the clutch pedal to move along. You can’t accelerate as fast as you want in first gear and its hard to get started from a stop if you’re still in fifth gear. This means you’ve got to use the clutch pedal and the stick to get things going. When we say you’re fully engaged in the driving of your car when you have a manual transmission, the amount of activity is what we’re talking about.
There’s a Learning Curve to Driving a Standard Car
Before the automatic transmission was developed, manual cars were called standard. Parents used to teach their kids how to drive a car with a manual transmission because that was what they owned and what those kids would drive. Today, this skill isn’t taught at all. In fact, Driver’s Education courses used to include a portion of the instruction on manual transmission vehicles, but today its not even a thought. With 97 percent of the cars in the market using automatic transmissions, this makes sense.
The Old Benefits of a Manual Transmission Are Gone
Some drivers used to choose cars with a manual transmission because they saved money over an automatic transmission, which was an option and not standard, or because they would get better fuel mileage from a manual. Sports cars used to only come with manuals because drivers were convinced they could get better speeds faster than with an automatic. Today, these benefits are gone. Automatic transmissions are the standard offered with manuals being optional and most sportscars shift faster and better with an automatic than with a manual.
How do You Start a Car With a Stick Shift?
Many drivers that use a stick shift understand they should have the vehicle in a gear when parked. This acts as a secondary parking brake and helps to keep the car still. When starting this car, the clutch must be depressed and the gear put into the neutral position. This isn’t that much different from automatic cars that require you to push the brake pedal to start the car. If you’re parked on a hill and you do this, it’s important to make sure the parking brake is engaged, otherwise you might start rolling downhill.
How do You Drive a Car With a Manual Transmission
- Shift into Gear
- Slowly ease your foot off the clutch while pressing the accelerator with the right foot
- Remove your foot from the clutch
- Press in the clutch when it’s time to shift
- Move the gear shifter into the next gear
- Remove your foot from the clutch
- Repeat this process for each gear movement
- When slowing down you need to press in the clutch and find the gear that matches the slower speed
- Stopping requires you press the clutch and the brake at the same time
- Put the car in neutral while at a stop light and start again with first gear when it’s time to go
All of these actions sound like the can be hard to master, but the reality is, driving a manual car is much easier when you get used to the various actions. After a while, you forget that you have to do all of these things just to get across town. Eventually, you can become tuned into the engine noise and know when to shift into a higher gear or lower gear based on the sounds you year. This is called becoming engaged with your vehicle.
What are the Advantages of Using a Manual Transmission
All of the extra work to driving has to have some benefits right? Of course it does, here are a few of them:
- Ultimate control over a car
- Better acceleration
- Typically more affordable
- Making going up or down a hill easier for you
If you’re tired of driving a car just to get from place to place and want to add some fun to the experience, you might want to drive a car with a manual transmission to increase the experience and fun you enjoy during your drive.
Should You Drive a Manual Car?
If you want to learn something new and you’re a good driver, there’s nothing wrong with learning to drive a car with a stick shift. On the other hand, if you only want to get from one place to another with as little work as possible, an automatic transmission is what you want in your car. You’ll have to decide for yourself whether or not you want to have a car with three pedals and a stick that requires you to move it just to get going in any direction.
With More Electric Cars Coming, A Manual Might Not Make Sense
Most EVs use a single-speed transmission and don’t require shifting to get up to speed. The proliferation of electric cars could be exactly what causes manual cars to die off altogether. While that might be partially true, there are some modern cars that come with a manual transmission to give you the fun of driving a car that requires a bit of work. Having a car you have to shift to make it go is a personal experience and not for everyone, but you might enjoy driving a manual car.
Will you look for one of the cars in the three percent of manual cars in the market, or will you stick to the automatic models?
This post may contain affiliate links. Meaning a commission is given should you decide to make a purchase through these links, at no cost to you. All products shown are researched and tested to give an accurate review for you.