Hello and welcome to my new Instructable! By reading this I hope you gain the operational and technical knowledge you need to learn how to drive a standard shift car.
But first let's consider the following scenario...
You are a middle-aged paleobotanist on the island of JURASSIC PARK!! Even though things seem okay at first, some evil fat guy has shut down the power to the electric fences containing all the vicious man eating dinosaurs! You are somewhere near the T-Rex pen enjoying a cool glass of water when the ground starts shaking and the water ripples. You turn around to see a very hungry looking six meter tall Tyrannosaurus Rex coming at you at almost thirty kilometers per hour! Luckily, there's a jeep just a few meters away. After making a quick dash, you hop in the driver's seat and turn the key...but nothing happens! As your eyes turn toward the shifter to confirm that it's in 'park' you see the unfamiliar 'H' pattern of numbers on top of the shift knob. You realize that this jeep is equipped with a manual transmission...and since you don't know how to drive it you can't even get the engine started. It's too late to learn because the T-Rex has already flipped the jeep over and is proceeding to peel off the roof to gain access to it's next snack. Sadly, you realize that this is what you get for forcing your husband to trade in his '64 Corvette convertible for a minivan because you refused to learn.
Don't be caught in this situation! Read on to find out how you could have escaped from the T-Rex's mighty jaws!
Step 1: Advantages of a Manual Over an Automatic Transmission
Most models of cars sold in north America come with the option of having a manual or automatic transmission. Even though the vast majority of cars in North America are automatics, the manual transmission comes with many advantages.
Initial Cost: Manual transmissions are a lot cheaper than automatics. Choosing to buy a manual over an automatic saves you an average of $1000, depending on the make and model of the car.
Higher Gas Mileage: Manual transmissions are lighter and normally have more gears than their automatic counterparts. Also, a manual transmission doesn't have a hydraulic pump, which puts a big load on your engine. This can save you between 5% and 15% at the pump, depending on the make, model, driving conditions and driving style.
Lower Maintenance / Repair Costs: Automatic transmissions need regular fluid changes and are vulnerable to fluid leaks which can be very destructive. Many manual transmissions do not require any regular maintenance whatsoever. Repairs are usually more costly on automatics.
Better Control: With a manual transmission, the driver decides what gear to use. The best gear can be selected for the conditions (eg. low gear for going up steep hills or towing). Under these conditions, automatics often shift too high and end up wasting the engine's power.
Performance: In general, manuals have better acceleration and quarter mile times than automatics.
Fun: Automatics are boring as hell to drive. Manuals are fun as hell to drive!
Just a side note. If you have a manual car and for some reason you battery goes dead and you can't start the engine...just get your buddy to give you a little push and you're good to go! Can't do that in an automatic!