Learning to drive a manual car, 7 hours in - considering automatic


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Gears sorted after a few hours.  But now I drive an auto - and would never go back.

 

Just work on the theory that you need to clutch to change gears.  Use your ears as to when to change.  Then eventually you can change without clutching ;)

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You don't really need to understand it to drive it. It's so damn easy, and a good skill to have. It might be of some use one day.

 

Still, there's nothing wrong with buying an automatic. It's far more simpler and comfortable, specially in heavy traffic. Just remember, NEVER use both feet to drive and automatic. Imagine you have just one.

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I can change gears easily, I just have trouble remembering what gear I'm in, when to change, what to change to in different circumstances (e.g. braking, slowing down to turn) etc.

 

I can say if you stick with it, you will learn.  You may be more comfortable in an automatic.  But you guys shift left handed, I tried it, so weird.  But I guess you use both hands anyway and can adapt either way.

 

That being said, I'm getting to the point I don't want a manual anymore.  Traffic is getting to the point I get stuck quite a bit and have to constantly manage the clutch.  My leg can get sore after an hour in traffic.

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Elliot which car does your driving instructor use?

 

From what I remember the amount of hours and lessons also depends on the driving instructor and how much he wants to make from you ;).

 

In places like Birmingham on the outskirts you might be able to get a good price and might even need fewer lessons compared to some schools that will ask for a higher price within the city. 

 

Again all of this varies greatly depending on where you take your lessons and with whom.

 

If you have a bad instructor, I would advise changing him! And definitely learn manual even if you are getting an automatic later! 

 

I would advise going to an empty parking lot and practicing with a mate if at all possible .. will save you some money and help you remember which gears to go into. 

 

 

Edit:

There might be situations in your life where you will need to know how to drive a manual! << consider this.

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The first car that I ever drove was a manual and I loved them, but pretty much after getting a full time job and having to drive in traffic everyday I would never ever consider a manual anymore. Sorry I just don't want to spend 2 hours of my day pressing the clutch in every minute. It's just tiring.

Plus most modern automatics get the same, and in some cases, better gas mileage than manual cars and they're still reliable if you make sure to get the ATF changed when it's supposed to be changed (pretty cheap to do so too). If you get a car with a CVT gearbox then the difference is like night and day, those transmissions take off like a bat out of hell and fly up hills without any effort on your part.

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If you will be driving in cities mostly, automatics are the way to go. A few hours stuck in traffic balancing your clutch can quickly tire your leg.

 

For more rural or open driving, manual gives a much more pleasurable experience.

 

For me, manual gears took quite a long time to learn as well, but you will just get it one day. You say you don't think you'll ever need to drive a manual, but you never know what the future brings. I would stick with it, but change your instructor if you're unhappy with how he's teaching you.

 

A a general rule of thumb, most junctions if they are "open" (you can see round them while approaching) are 2nd gear. If you can't see round them as you approach change down to first. Most islands are 2nd, but larger islands can be done in 3rd.

 

 

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As others have noted, it can take a fair amount of hours to get the accuracy of changing gears to a reasonable level. It's easily the most frustrating part of learning to drive manual. I'd estimate it accounted for at least half of the time I learned to drive when I lived in the UK. Learning in an automatic takes a fraction of the time and effort because it's just a far easier sequence of events.

 

Now I drive an automatic because basically everything is automatic here in Canada. Driving a manual is still good fun though even though it feels "backwards" because I learned in a right hand drive car. If my wife was capable of driving manual (she isn't...I've seen her try) then I'd probably buy a manual again. It's more engaging and generally better on fuel.

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

 

 

Yeah, something like that. It got to the point where I thought I was never going to get it and then it just sort of happened and everything fell in to place. One thing to mention though was that outside of lessons I was practicing in my own car.

 

If your driving instructor is getting stressy because he thinks you should have it down by now then maybe you should consider switching instructors. Not everyone learns at the same pace or in the same way and some instructors may teach things in a certain way that just wont work for you.

 

I do feel its worth while sticking with it, even just understanding how it works helps with car control.

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My 4th vehicle (first brand new one) was a 93 4X4 Ford Ranger and just as I signed the deal I told the salesman my father would drive it off the lot, he asked why, I told him I had only drove a manual once for about 10 minutes in a 78 Chevy a year ago, and didn't want to risk it around all the new cars *first time I think I really seen anyone jaw drop IRL....  By that night I was driving over all the place (that ranger had a smooth as silk shift to it and could shift with one finger).

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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)

 

Get another driving instructor :)

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I'm amazed that there is different licences for Stick vs Auto, but anyways you should learn to drive a stick in case of an emergency, as much as you say you will never need to drive one, you never know, so its better to know how to drive one then not know. Its really not hard, and about the gear I still don't know what gear I'm in half the time, and I drive a motorcycle (its Manuel) everyday its all about knowing when to shift down and up, and not worrying about the gear number. I understand somewhat bad traffic tho, I lived near seattle for a few months, so I do agree with most people saying auto is the way to go after the test much more enjoyable in traffic. But yeah pass the test on a manual so you at least know how to drive one, and have the proper lic for it 

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all you really need is launching once you can launch from a hill or w/e you can just drop the clutch in the rest of the gears until you get the hang of it down the line

 

my first manual car it took me about 2 weeks for me to get the clutch from the go pedal to just somthing to push to make the rpms go down with no prior manual transmission experiance

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Don't do it man. My other half is currently (after 12 years) retaking her test for a manual licence. 

She did an automatic test due to a health problem at that time and she says its been nothing but a pain in the arse since. Lack of vehicle choice, vehicle cost etc etc.

 

Once manual gears clicks in your mind, you wont even think twice about it.


Get another driving instructor :)

 

 

Yes, your instructor is crap.  Change!

 

I'm with these guys ^^

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Are lessons mandatory in the UK?  I only ask because I took 3 x 1 hr classes and thats it.. took my driving test and was done with it (this was an automatic but still seems like alot of practice driving)

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Knowing which gear you and in and when to change will come will experience. As you become more familiar with the car and what it sounds like you will start to intuitively know when it is time to change and that will only improve over time with confidence. If you are driving with the radio on I'd strongly suggest turning that off, also keep an eye on the rev counter because that will be a good indicator to know when you need to change because you will learn between x and y rpm is where the car is happy in that gear (each car is slightly different in those rpms).  

 

I do feel you should think about finding another instructor though because from the sounds of it your current one is doing you no favours and is denting your confidence.

 

Stick with it and you'll soon be changing gears without thinking about it.

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No offense, but if it's taking you that long to learn and you're getting frustrated, just get an automatic. The last thing I would want is someone on the road who's inexperienced with a manual and nervous to drive it. 

Spoken like a true Jeremy Clarkson :p

 

But you must know how to drive a manual transmission before you go to Automatic. What if you are stuck with a hot girl / emergency where the responsibility falls on your shoulder to drive someone else's car with Manual transmission? You cannot say "Sorry I only drive Auto." Expect a big laugh. But I can think of countless scenarios where manual gears can save the day!

 

Tip: Drive on empty road. Change gears when RPM needle hits 3000 RPM. Press clutch, quickly shift to next gear and slowly release the clutch. You have to release clutch very slowly on 1,2,3 gears. From 4 onwards, clutch can be released immediately. You can go beyond 3000 RPM once you get more understanding your car and gearshift. Time will come when you will change gears just by the level of engine sound.

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I've never driven clutch (manual) car before.  I went to buy that car with a friend.  Test drive it and then drive it home.  That's how fast I learn how to drive clutch/stick-shift/manual car.  Whatever you prefer calling that type of car.  Drove on the freeway/highway too.

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There is a class that teach you how to drive a manual?? didnt know that lol.

 

Anyway, my bro taught me took me about 30 mins to learn the basic and weeks to get used to the car I am driving. It is all about timing and balance between clutch and gas. If you pass 1st gear easily, then it is so much easier with the rest of the gears.

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This tread made me sign in from work to answer it.

 

0. On the drivers seat make sure car in neutral (wiggle the stick). hand brake on

1. Clutch fully depressed + start engine

2. hand brake off (you are not on a hill up/down)

3. Release the clutch until you feel a slight vibration then you accelerate slowly and enough for the vibration to go away and releasing the clutch fully.

4. As you accelerate and rev go more than 2.5 depress clutch and change gear.

 

NOW!!!!!!

Since you are a beginner do the following to help you with avoiding stalling.

1a. Slow down the car by pressing the brake only until the car is going 10kph or lower. Once there Press the clutch in all the way while continuing to brake. Once stopped put it in 1st. DO NOT!!!!!! press clutch when you are at 60kph and hit the brakes as you would not have enough space to stop unless you slam on the them.

 

*note:

as you progress, try the following.

1b. As you hit the brakes and slow down, when the RPM drops below 1500, press clutch and change 1 gear down. Repeat as you get to 1st gear. Once there, when you are below 10kph press clutch and continue slowing down with brakes until stopped.

 

in both 1 a and b, the car will not stall because clutch is fully depressed below 10kph.

 

Keep us updated on your progress man. Stick driving is one of the things you will love once you get the hang of it.

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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).

 

How old are you? What if in the future you need a job where driving a company vehicle is a requirement? You could be limiting yourself in future. 

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Are lessons mandatory in the UK?  I only ask because I took 3 x 1 hr classes and thats it.. took my driving test and was done with it (this was an automatic but still seems like alot of practice driving)

no, not mandatory

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Americans get by just fine with automatic cars.

 

:rolleyes:

 

Almost every car I've owned was/is a manual. 

 

It's not about what country you're from, it's about how much you enjoy driving.  Not much can compare to driving a fun, manual transmission car in the hills or mountains.

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