How to Drive Stick Shift




Introduction: How to Drive Stick Shift

I will be doing my best in trying to explain how to drive a manual car.

Things to keep in mind:

- Leaning how to drive stick shift is a process so if you find yourself getting upset. just take some time to yourself and come back to it later but don't give up.

-become comfortable with the car you're learning with. figure out how the pedals operate.

-Its best to practice on flat ground.

-Also don't forget to engage and disengage the emergency brake before driving off and after parking your car.

Step 1: Start Your Engine

Start the car by pressing the clutch the far left pedal all the way in and then turn the key.

Step 2: Slide Into Gear

-Again Press the clutch into gear. As you do that you are now able to move the shifter freely to the left and up into first gear.

- This process is repeated for every gear but getting into first gear is the hardest as you are starting from a complete stop.

Step 3: Moving Along

-To start moving you will need to release the clutch slowly as you so simultaneously give the car gas but not too much.

-When you start to creep forward little by little the car is now in the friction zone which is the car's sweet spot. keep giving the car gas and letting off of the clutch at the same time as it moves forward. once you let the clutch fully out and proceed to move on you are now in first gear.

Step 4: Keep Moving

-Another thing to keep a eye on while changing gears and driving are the RPMs which is usually located on the left side of the dash. This indicates when to change gears I usually wait until 2000 rotation per minute(RPM) to shift. But this varies between different drivers and vehicles.

Step 5: Down Shifting

-Down shifting is the same as the normal shifting as you pull in the clutch and slide the shifter into gear. But when you down shift you will feel a jolt in the car of some sort don't worry its normal.

Step 6: Reverse

-To put my car in reverse you have to pull the lever up directly below the shift knob. Then proceed to pretend like you're putting the car into first gear and hopefully as you release the clutch and give it gas it begins to roll backwards.

Step 7: Stopping

-When coming to a complete stand still or a slight pause I find that it is best to pull the clutch in and put the car in neutral so that you can focus on braking.

-Also to confirm that the car is in neutral wiggle the shifter side to side if it fails to wiggle the car is still in gear.

Step 8: Strarting on Hills

-It requires the driver to pick up his/her pace when shifting to the next gear. Expect the car to start to roll backwards as this is completely natural for stick shifts.(But overall its the same process as a normal start just with a faster pace to it.)

Step 9: Parking on Hills

-some people take extra precautions when parking on a hill. Also other people may not have the luxury of learning on flat ground but when parking some drivers prefer to keep the car in gear and turn the wheel to the opposite side of curb.

Step 10: Golden Rule

-Last but not least no matter where you park on hill or flat ground always pull up the emergency brake. Located right next to the driver seat. something simple that should be as natural as starting your car.

Step 11:

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    1 year ago

    One of the first things my driving instructor told me - "Never drive with slippers, it's dangerous".


    2 years ago

    In some states it's even illegal to drive with slippers, i don't know the rules at your place but it's odd to do an instructable doing something very related to the main topic that's at least not recommended because dangerous. You should at least mention that in the introduction. Anyway: nice car! :)


    4 years ago

    I would recommend NOT using the parking brake when parking on a hill! When you park on a hill there is a tendency to really yank hard on the parking brake. And you can actually do it so hard that you need professional help releasing it. Personal experience here! The mechanic who helped me said, in so many words, "Hey dummy, just leave the car in gear (1st if facing uphill, R if downhill) and that's all the brake you need! So now that's what I do. :)


    Reply 2 years ago

    If you "brake" with gears and then use the parking brake the last one will be only a backup. Anyway, a proper maintened brake have to do its job without an absurd pulling force.


    4 years ago

    Pro-tip for starting up hills with a manual transmission: Assuming you have a hand levered parking brake that works properly, use it!

    When you are sitting at the light (making sure to be considerate of another potential stick shift in front of you and not pulling up too close) yank that e-brake up enough to keep your car from rolling backwards, even if you are in neutral with no foot brake applied. As you let out the clutch you'll have plenty of oomph in first gear to get moving forward, you'll feel the car start to strain against the brake and it's time to let the brake go (meaning un-brake). Viola! No roll back at all!

    I'm not sure when I learned that trick but it doesn't seem to be used nearly enough and typically you are only putting pressure on the e-brake for a split second before you are charging ahead. Rolling back with a stick shift can be very scary and this method makes it a treat, it makes you look cool, and anyone in the car with you will be like "why didn't I think of that!"


    4 years ago

    Hey Jason, I enjoyed reading your instructable and growing up in the 80's and 90's driving a stick shift was something that most people had to learn. Now, unless you are driving a sports car there or rugged off-road vehicle, like I do, it has become a dying art. I would agree with most of your step except up-shifting at 2000 rpm's when most manufacturers or race pro's continue to state that the optimal shifting rpm is at or near redline. I would probably do a little research into it and one other thing is there are a lot of spelling errors throughout your post even in one of the step titles so I would spell check it. I think the first paragraph has two or three spelling errors.

    Other than that I thought it was a very informative post and the steps are written in a matter that can be easily followed. Also, that is a very nice car!

    Floyd Holland
    Floyd Holland

    4 years ago

    Nice and complete ible! I'm dutch and here in Holland you are required to learn the stickshift in order to get your drivinglicense. So basicly everyone who is allowed to drive knows this. One pointer: in cold weather your handbrake can freeze stuck. Simple sollution: always put your car in gear (1st or R) in order to prevent rolling of the driveway. And don't drive with slippers on! It's pretty dangerouse since your slipper can get stuck under the clutch... you won't be able to stop. Speaking out of experience :)

    DIY Hacks and How Tos

    It is amazing how many people don't know how to drive a stick. Thanks for sharing this with the community.