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


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I'd say change to auto, driving safely needs to be natural without constant panic of gears and clutch, there are too many other dangers to worry about.

You can always re-learn the manual gearbox when you are confident.

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I don't know how it works there but here the instructors are always saying "both hands on the wheel" which I found stupid to be honest. It's always better to hold one hand on the gearstick so you can slightly try the gear, very slightly of course not to pull the gear out. Also it's faster if you need to change in fast situations in traffic.

 

It is hard at first to get used to it (my Benz had the weirdest gears I've seen) but once you get it you won't forget it! Good luck mate!

It's the same everywhere, I believe. They say that both hands on the wheel give you more control over the car in tough situations, but after the exam I never used both, I drive with my left hand on the wheel and the right on the gear stick. 

 

@ _Alexander: you don't worry about the clutch and the gears, it will be natural, like an instinct once you learn it. Before I got my driving license I was thinking the same, but after a few hours of practice I was like "wow, this is easier than I thought". 

 

Like I said before, the manual transmission gives you a feeling of control over the car, you decide how the car behaves, how it accelerates and so on. 

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OP, do you have anyone else who drives a car nearby? Mum/dad etc?

 

If so, this is what I did.  Watch them drive (by the feet) I was always watching my mums feet action for clutch etc, then when I got in for the first time, it just clicked.  OK I was getting confused at amount of pressure and biting points, but I understood the gist of it.

 

When left foot is down (clutch) the right foot (gas) is up and vice versa

 

You can always do this just sitting in a chair.  Put your right foot down for 3 secs, lift up, put your left foot down (bring up slowly) then put your right foot down for 3 secs (over and over) so your trying to mimic changing gear.

 

It will come eventually and everyone has different learning capabilities but stick with manual, as you can go either way then and if you get a job that requires a company vehicle or company car 10 out of 10, it'll be a manual company vehicle

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Also useful: newer cars show what gear they're in on the display, and give a rough estimate of when you need to change to another gear. Can be quite helpful while you're learning.

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I don't really understand them.

 

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

 

 

This concerns me.  You're wanting to drive a steel 1+ tonne of potential killing machine on the road and you don't care about it's fundamental operation?  If you don't have the aptitude to operate manual gears, then I'm not sure you have to aptitude to drive a vehicle full stop, it's not a glorified go-kart, there's far more to it.

 

There is a big problem in general if people don't actually know anything about what they're driving.  In my opinion there should be a decent size technical theory module you have to pass along side the other stuff, involving a fundamental physics (newtons third law anyone???) as well as the mechanical knowledge. Only after passing this should you even be allowed in a vehicle.  Driving should not be viewed as a right, it's a privilege to those who have the aptitude and can put in the time and effort to doing it properly.

 

Automatic-only licenses should be confined to those with disabilities and a genuine reason to only drive an auto.  If you're struggling, fine, it may take you longer than others. But the experience of learning will be better for you and those on the road around you when you ultimately pass.  It also gives you a better understanding of the car.  You pass and want an auto? Fine, no problem.

 

Keep at the manual, find a better driving instructor if need be. Just don't give up.

 

/end holier-than-thou rant

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Keep at it, Elliot; it'll eventually become second nature to you. :) I definitely struggled with the clutch when I first started learning to drive a few years ago. If your instructor gets annoyed when you stall and panic, then definitely find a new instructor; my original instructor was similar, but the current one I have is nothing like that, he's a real calming influence. One important thing he's taught me is that when you stall, don't panic, keep calm and don't try to rush getting moving again, as you'll just end up panicking even more. The most important part is to keep calm and relax; for me, music (at appropriate volumes, obviously) or idle chit-chat helps, and my instructor encourages it. I've come pretty far at the moment after 11 lessons with him; I had a dozen with my previous instructor a few years ago, and two hours with BSM in-between, but they were so long ago I was practically a beginner again with my current instructor, and now my practical test is booked for September 11th. :)

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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.

I think I had a 2 hour practice session myself.

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Manual? You guys are poor... aside from money there is no other justification for avoiding convenience.

Automatic trans, butt warming seats, power windows, satellite ratio, etc... FTW

Kind of rude, yeah?

 

 

Anyway, manual is optional on many vehicles here and sometimes costs more.

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*Wonders if there has ever been an automatic on Top Gear*

Absolutely. Top Gear is a car show, where they show fast (and slow) cars. The fast cars these days have automatic transmissions - the McLaren P1, Porsche 918, Ferrari LaFerrari, etc. Performance cars also usually have a launch control mechanism to achieve the best launch possible. A computer can and will shift much faster than a human can. 

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if your getting a manual cause its cheaper than a auto your gonna spend more replacing clutches than fixing the auto for sure.  plus its highly debatable that a manual is cheaper.  most of the time its the same and depends on the car.

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This concerns me.  You're wanting to drive a steel 1+ tonne of potential killing machine on the road and you don't care about it's fundamental operation?  If you don't have the aptitude to operate manual gears, then I'm not sure you have to aptitude to drive a vehicle full stop, it's not a glorified go-kart, there's far more to it.

What? No. Sorry. I love cars and so I can see myself doing that, but my wife couldn't care less about the car. To here it's just a tool to get from point A to point B. Just because she couldn't give a ###### about what goes on under the hood doesn't mean she isn't a safe driver.

 

There is a big problem in general if people don't actually know anything about what they're driving.  In my opinion there should be a decent size technical theory module you have to pass along side the other stuff, involving a fundamental physics (newtons third law anyone???) as well as the mechanical knowledge. Only after passing this should you even be allowed in a vehicle.  Driving should not be viewed as a right, it's a privilege to those who have the aptitude and can put in the time and effort to doing it properly.

And none of that has anything to do with safety. Sorry. The vast majority of accidents happen because people aren't paying attention, not because they have no idea about the physics going on.

Just because people drive manuals doesn't suddenly mean they're going to pay attention to the road, especially if it's on the freeway. It's going to be k I'm in 5th gear (or w/e gear), time for me to settle back and take my phone out.

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Don't worry about the gears, worry about first...the rest of the gears will follow.  You need to learn clutch engagement/disengagement before you learn anything else.  This is the most important of anything else that has to do with the "gears". 

 

The rest of the gears will follow suit once you learn engagement/disengagement.  It is really easy to figure out, if your engine is screaming you will want to change gears (I personally like to change gears during normal driving around 2-2500 rpms, eventually you will hear it and not worry too much about rpms...you want to keep the engine purring not screaming).  You will stall if your rpms get too low, but you will feel your car shudder (if this happens you need more gas or less clutch).

 

Once you learn clutch engagement you will learn the fuel to clutch ratio.  It shouldn't take more than 4-6 hours in a parking lot, stopping and going in 1st gear....if I can teach my sister in law to drive stick in the most unforgiving car possible where the clutch is either on or off, you can learn too.

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I think sometimes theres a danger in over thinking things.  I drove a manual for years and I have no idea wtf a 'fuel to clutch ratio' is, in fact if someone started telling me about that when I was learning I probably would have gone and got a auto too.

 

That being said hope you stick with it, its great being able to drive a manual but truth be told its not the end of the world if you get an auto, and youll likely find it easier going from an auto > manual later on in life because chances are when you do that it will be because you want to learn or have just purchased a sweet manual car and want to learn to drive that bad boy

 

Either way good luck with the driving :)

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you have been driving manual for a while and don't know how much gas to give it based on how much clutch you have given it?  how much gas/throttle you give it depends on how much clutch you let out.  too much gas and you are spinning wheels or burning the clutch out if not fully disengaged, not enough gas and you are bucking or stalling out.  fuel to clutch ratio, it isn't a hard concept to learn.  you learn first gear and reverse, you have the rest down pat.

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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.

 

I learnt this year, the hill that I live on really, really helped.

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Manual? You guys are poor... aside from money there is no other justification for avoiding convenience.

Automatic trans, butt warming seats, power windows, satellite ratio, etc... FTW

Actually, I prefer manual cars. It's more fun, and as someone who actually likes driving, I wouldn't consider an auto.

Back on topic though, don't use other people's gauges to measure yourself - everyone takes a different amount of time to learn to drive. I did it in about 20 hours, whilst I know my mother took about 60. My friend did about 20 and then gave up.

Clutch control is more of a knack than anything - it needs to be an instinct - so try not to think about it too much. What part of it are you struggling with? Setting off, or using gears to accelerate or decelerate?

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I've completely abandoned manual cars in favour of automatic. It reduces the steps required to drive and allows you to focus fully on the important things, which means it not only increases comfort and conveniece but also safety.

If you enjoy driving sporty and breaking the speed limits or drive on race tracks, and possibly if you're a bush whacker, go for manual.

If your car is a means of transport there's no reason to go manual.

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Theres nothing to understand to with manual car. Once you get the hang of the clutch the rest is easy. Just change gears when you can hear that the car is either having trouble or its reving to high. I learnt how to drive in a few hours and that was with my dad not even an instructor. Once you can control the clutch and find the biting point rest is easy.


I've completely abandoned manual cars in favour of automatic. It reduces the steps required to drive and allows you to focus fully on the important things, which means it not only increases comfort and conveniece but also safety.

If you enjoy driving sporty and breaking the speed limits or drive on race tracks, and possibly if you're a bush whacker, go for manual.

If your car is a means of transport there's no reason to go manual.

so youre trying to say people who drive automatics are much safer at driving? The thing is the whole manual thing just happens subconsciously, not sure how you used to drive, but I don't even think about it. It just happens.

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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.

 

How do you know you'll never have a need to drive someone else's manual car? What about in an emergency? Don't forget that you're entitled to drive an automatic car with a manual licence but not the other way around (i.e. you can't drive a manual car with an automatic licence). 

 

Even if you dislike manuals now, I would strongly recommend you persevere with it as you'll have a lot more choice in what car to buy, as automatics are not that popular here. Plus it's not that difficult once you get the hang of it. Clutch control is one of the hardest parts of learning to drive, but you'll get the hang of it before your test. 

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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.

 

You need a lot of driving around in places with regular gear changes, i.e. in a town. You learn to know what gear you're in instinctively, but on the rare occasions you do forget, you can tell from the position of the gearstick. Someone could put my car in any gear while I've got my eyes closed and I'd know what gear it's in from the position of the stick. 

 

Edit:

 

In addition...

 

If the car is in gear and the clutch is not pressed, the wheels will be driven by the engine and will cause the car to move. This is why you can put a car in, say, second gear and take your feet off all pedals, and the car will drive along at a steady 10mph or something like that even if you're not giving it any gas. 

 

If the car is in gear and the clutch is pressed down, the wheels will not be driven by the engine. In other words, if you press in the clutch, the car will eventually stop moving of its' own accord even without you having to brake. This is because the engine is no longer driving the wheels.

 

If the car is not in gear, then it doesn't matter whether the clutch is pressed in or not.. you'll eventually stop unless you're going downhill, as the wheels aren't being driven by the engine. 

 

Logic would therefore dictate that you need to press down the clutch (a) when changing gears and (b) when stopping/slowing down to a near stop - to prevent stalling. 

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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.

Elliot, I'm an American, and right now (since I've moved back to the states) I drive an automatic.  But I lived 6 years in Europe and my second car there was a manual transmission.  I had learned briefly how to drive one some 20 odd years ago, but found that within a few hours of driving I was able to handle the stick pretty well.  At first I still would accidentally try to start from 3rd instead of 1st gear, but that passed after several weeks.  

 

You may think that you'll never have need to drive a manual, but you never know.  Someone who has a stick may want you to drive them home in their car, or you may have your car in the shop and need to get a rental, and all they have is manual transmission.  I think especially if you're in Europe you should have the skill.  I personally miss driving my little VW Golf III.  I felt like I was really having some control over the car.  When I moved back to the US, I felt like all I was doing was steering the car, not really driving it.  

 

Most everyone I know that can drive a manual says they prefer it to automatics.  If I had to get a second car to drive to work each day, I would try to get a manual (although I realize it's kind of hard to find one here in the states).

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