Manual transmissions often feature a driver-operated clutch and a movable gear stick. Most manual transmissions allow the driver to select any forward gear at any time. Most cars typically use four to six forward gears and one reverse gear.
Manual cars are the most common type of car on the road in the UK and that is reflected in the large amount of instructors who teach in them. Manual cars are cheaper to buy, cheaper to maintain and if you pass your test in a manual, you can also drive an automatic. This does not apply the other way around.
Driving a Manual
Learning to drive in a car with a stick shift is not easy for most people, but with time and practice it can be mastered. But it’s worth it because sometimes you may need to drive a manual car. For example, when you go on holiday. Most car hire firms across Europe mainly stock manual cars.
Here is how it works:
When you look at the floorboard you will see three pedals. From left to right, they are: clutch, brake and petrol.
Have a look at the gear knob in the center console. Printed on it you will find a diagram which shows you in which position each gear is situated.
Ensure the hand brake is on and the vehicle is on a level service in an area where you have lots of room.
Press your left foot onto the clutch pedal and move the gear lever into the neutral position. You can tell when it is in the neutral position because it can be freely moved from the left to the right by about three inches.
Start the car.
Press your left foot onto the clutch pedal and keep it down firmly. Move the gear lever into first gear.
Apply the foot brake with your right foot and release the hand brake.
Slowly begin to release the clutch and when you hear or feel the engine begins to slow down, slowly press down on the accelerator as you continue to release the clutch. The car will begin to move forward.
Accelerate until the car has reached about 2,000 rpm, then take your foot off the accelerator, press down on the clutch pedal and pull the gear lever directly down through neutral into second gear, all the way until it cannot go any further.
Release the clutch pedal gently and simultaneously press onto the accelerator to carry on driving in second gear.
Repeat these steps until in your top gear.