165 posts in this topic

I am currently learning to drive in a manual car.

 

I've had 7x 1h lessons and I am still struggling with the clutch and gears. I don't really understand them.

 

A large part of me doesn't care about understanding them. I just want to drive.

 

I know automatic cars are more expensive to buy and maintain, as well as the lessons being more expensive.

 

Apparently the average amount of hours it takes to pass a driving test (I presume this is based on manual lessons) is 40 hours of lessons and 20 hours of personal practice.

 

Should I give myself another 3 hours of lessons (to total 10 hours) before I choose to instead learn in an automatic car? Or is it normal for people to still struggle with clutch/gears after their 10th hour of lessons?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Took me about to 1/2 through learning to drive and then it just sort of clicked. A lot of learning how to drive IS learning clutch control.  Getting an auto is taking the easy way out. 

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Took me about to 1/2 through learning to drive and then it just sort of clicked. A lot of learning how to drive IS learning clutch control.  Getting an auto is taking the easy way out. 

So it took you around 20-30 hours of overall driving before it clicked?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think I had about 30 hours of lessons (admittedly I failed twice) to pass, I would definately stick at it as you don't want to limit yourself later on. I don't know how logn it took to get a full grasp on gears etc but you will get it eventually.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think I had about 30 hours of lessons (admittedly I failed twice) to pass, I would definately stick at it as you don't want to limit yourself later on. I don't know how logn it took to get a full grasp on gears etc but you will get it eventually.

I feel my driving instructor feels I should be getting it by now and he gets annoyed when I panic and stall because I can't remember what gear I am in or should be in or I forget to press the clutch to break (or press it when I don't need to! - so bloody confusing, sometimes you need the clutch to break, sometimes you don't, I don't understand - I'm ready to give up)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I started taking lessons at the age of 17 and knew absolutely nothing about manual gearboxes prior to my very first lesson. My dad used to be a driving instructor before I was born, but by the time I was a teenager, he had moved away from manual cars and has only driven automatic since. All in all, I took at 30 x 1hr lessons and maybe 5 x 2hr lessons before I was ready for my test and I passed on my second attempt.

 

I definitely would say stick with the manual. Once you have passed on manual, you are free to drive automatic. I've been driving manual for 12 years now and I finally bought an automatic after getting sick and tired of manual and clutch control in traffic crazy London! But having that manual experience is definitely something you don't wanna miss out on!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It will all just click into place, just takes a bit of time and practice.

I found just learning to balance the clutch on a slight gradient helped me understand what was happening when I dipped the clutch and the car started to roll back, and when i pulled the clutch up while increasing the revs.

You also have to remember if you pass your test in an automatic, that's all you can drive in the future. At least if you learn the clutch you will have the best of both worlds.

Have patience my young padawan.

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I started taking lessons at the age of 17 and knew absolutely nothing about manual gearboxes prior to my very first lesson. My dad used to be a driving instructor before I was born, but by the time I was a teenager, he had moved away from manual cars and has only driven automatic since. All in all, I took at 30 x 1hr lessons and maybe 5 x 2hr lessons before I was ready for my test and I passed on my second attempt.

 

I definitely would say stick with the manual. Once you have passed on manual, you are free to drive automatic. I've been driving manual for 12 years now and I finally bought an automatic after getting sick and tired of manual and clutch control in traffic crazy London! But having that manual experience is definitely something you don't wanna miss out on!

Why? I'm perfectly happy buying automatic cars all my life. I don't see a downfall to it (cost isn't a downfall for me).

 

Americans get by just fine with automatic cars.

 

I won't have a need to drive someone else's manual car.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Everyone is different, you've got this far so I say crack on and keep going.

 

Do you have anyone close by who could take you off the road and have extra help getting more time in another car? It would help you out, might be more relaxed to.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

7-hours? i need to learn it in half day, just to understand it.

Now i can do a downhill with just brakes & clutch, without any need pedaling the accelerates which increases my gas mileages.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you are having a problem with being smooth in changing gears here is what to do - release the clutch slowly and when you start moving (if you were stationary) just stop releasing it for 1-2-3 seconds, then continue releasing slowly. If the car is a diesel you won't need giving it much gas. If not and is a bit underpowered you'll need to give some gas (especially on hills).

 

If you have a car to practice - just do this - go to a parking, and try starting in second/third without gas (this is harder than first with gas) with the thing i told you above, if you do this smoothly you'll be able to start everywhere with any car.

 

Just pause for a second until the car is rolling (btw this is the time to start giving it gas)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Give it more time than 7 hours and if your driving instructor is not being supportive then switch to someone else. It really does make a world of difference if you're doing lessons with someone who has more consideration and patience. I was like you at first but you should soon get the hang of it after a while, 7 hours in is not a long time so stick at it. You can always buy an automatic once you pass your test but since you're in the UK it would be beneficial to be able to drive both.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I feel my driving instructor feels I should be getting it by now and he gets annoyed when I panic and stall because I can't remember what gear I am in or should be in or I forget to press the clutch to break (or press it when I don't need to! - so bloody confusing, sometimes you need the clutch to break, sometimes you don't, I don't understand - I'm ready to give up)

If you're instructor is getting annoyed with you and making you feel uncomfortable and/or panic, then definitely get rid of him.

 

Panicking, stalling and not knowing what gear you are in is all part of the learning process and if your instructor can't understand that, then you need to get another instructor!

9 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I feel my driving instructor feels I should be getting it by now and he gets annoyed when I panic and stall because I can't remember what gear I am in or should be in or I forget to press the clutch to break (or press it when I don't need to! - so bloody confusing, sometimes you need the clutch to break, sometimes you don't, I don't understand - I'm ready to give up)

 

Usually, if you brake to slow down a little, you will not need to press the clutch. If you slow down a lot (enough that you would have to switch down gears), then you need to press the clutch while braking. This way you can also switch down the gears while braking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I feel my driving instructor feels I should be getting it by now and he gets annoyed when I panic and stall because I can't remember what gear I am in or should be in or I forget to press the clutch to break (or press it when I don't need to! - so bloody confusing, sometimes you need the clutch to break, sometimes you don't, I don't understand - I'm ready to give up)

The speed can tell the difference, what gear you're in, but practice will make you perfect. take your time & keep practicing.

if your instructor can't answer your "confusing" questions, he is not the good instructor.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Driving a car with a manual transmission didn't really click with me until I went and read up on how it actually works internally, then it made a lot more sense.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Keep trying, practise and you'll get there. Keep taking lessons and if you have a family member or friend that is willing to help, go out and practise with them (on quiet roads) For me it was less about understanding it and doing what feels right, which you'll get the hang off. I've been driving for years now and still select the wrong gear sometimes :P 

 

If your driving instructor is not being supportive and patient definitely switch, see if you can find a private tutor, I usually find them to be more patient. 

 

And just so you know, it will definitely take more that 7 hours to be comfortable with a manual. 

 

Besides, we all know that manual cars are more fun to drive ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OP, in a radio article I heard many years ago, "the average driver needs one hour practice per year of age to reach test standard", So a twenty year old learner driver should need twenty  hours of practice. Dont give up, you've hardly started, give it time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I feel my driving instructor feels I should be getting it by now and he gets annoyed when I panic and stall because I can't remember what gear I am in or should be in or I forget to press the clutch to break (or press it when I don't need to! - so bloody confusing, sometimes you need the clutch to break, sometimes you don't, I don't understand - I'm ready to give up)

 

I have to admit, I think 7 hours is a little long but that's nothing to get down about. I learnt to drive in manual (currently have an auto car) but when this car's lease is up next year I will be switching back to manual. 

 

You just need to keep calm by the sounds of it, I admit when I was learning I struggled at first with when it was needed etc and got into a bad habbit of using the clutch as soon as I broke no matter what. 

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's a little difficult to explain in words and much easier when shown practically, but as I was learning the way I used to see it was kinda like the following:

 

1. From stationary, clutch down, first gear, slowly release clutch until you feel the biting point, where the car begins to gently jerk forward and at this point start to press the accelerator allowing you to move off and then gradually release the clutch.

2. With the clutch completely released, give more acceleration and listen for the engine, when it starts to get to a loud rev noise and you don't feel the car is picking up speed, clutch down and change to 2nd.

3. Once in to second, release the clutch again and give more acceleration.

4. Again, once you hear the engine begin to rev and not pick up speed, it's time for clutch down again and in to 3rd and so on.

 

For local driving, especially in London where I live, you'll hardly need to go above 3rd or 4th.

 

For slowing down, I was always told to gently start braking and then press down the clutch and then heavier on the brake until your car comes to a gradual stop. If you are stationary and will be for a while, put the car in to neutral and you can release the clutch completely and either hold down on the brake, or pull up the handbreak and you can relax you legs fully.

 

That's a very rough guide, but it makes more sense as you gain more experience.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I suggest learning how a clutch works before doing any more driving.

 

Watch in sequence:

 

 

 

Hopefully you can see where the engine and gearbox connect to in the last video (and what happens when the clutch is pressed and lifted [part attached to the black cable]). In real life, the clutch isn't just on or off, but linear. The more you lift it, the more it will engage (across a particular region).

 

To me, it sounds like your car has a sensitive clutch (the case with most small cars [ie. hatchbacks/sedans/station wagons]); I've been in cars where lifting a clutch 1cm too high will cause their engine to stall. You have to get used to it; it's all about getting the feel.

 

Manual gives you so much more control.

 

Edit: this seems like a good video also (easier to learn from real-life parts):

 

 

So too the first two minutes of this one:

 

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Clutch down > Select Gear > Come off the clutch steadily 

Clutch down > Select higher / lower gear > Come off the clutch steadily

 

When breaking 

Break until just before you come to a stop > Clutch down to stop it from stalling and select lower gear if needed

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

See, an automatic offers me all the control I need to travel around. Hence the reason they're sold in the first place - they do the job fine.

 

I don't see the point in bothering to learn how gears work etc. in order to drive.

 

As I said, cost isn't an issue to me (including fuel costs) so why would I need to bother the complicated system of gears and a clutch system when it seems to me Brake and Accelerate are all I need?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you can drive manual, you can drive any car.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you can drive manual, you can drive any car.

As I said on the first page, I won't need to drive any car but my own (or possibly a rental car - which isn't a problem, they have automatic cars).

 

I haven't completely given up on manual transmission but I'm going to need some genuine reasons other than money (which isn't a problem) and "being able to drive any car" (look at the sentence above).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.