Introduction: How to Drive a Stick Shift

Hello, how would you like to learn how to drive a stick shift? I have been driving a stick shift sense I was 15. With this knowledge driving a chevelle SS or going over the road trucking could become something of a second nature. I will show you how this is done in number of steps. This is really quite simple of a process that anyone can make something great with.

Step 1: Starting the Vehicle

First, we will start the vehicle. First make sure to push the foot brake down and release the parking brake, if the parking brake is not engaged then make sure that the vehicle wasn’t left in gear to keep it from rolling. So far, the foot brake should be pushed in and either the parking break released or put the vehicle put into neutral. For most stick shift vehicles neutral is in the middle and the stick should be able to wobble freely from side to side. Refer to the owner’s manual to verify the orientation of the gears. Now that the vehicle is in neutral and the parking brake is not engaged press the clutch all the way back. With both the clutch and the foot petal engaged put the key into the ignition and turn the key all the way clockwise to start the car.

Step 2: Gear Positions and Specifications

Now the vehicle will be shifted into first gear. To start, keep one foot on the brake and one on the clutch keeping them both engaged. Grab the stick and make sure to keep one hand on the wheel. Move the stick into the first gear spot. That may differ on different makes and models of vehicles, so make sure to check the owner’s manual to verify were the gears are located.

Step 3: Taking Off

The third step we will start driving the vehicle in first. Now that the vehicle is in first gear, have both the petal brake and the clutch engaged and have one or more hands on the steering wheel. Then slowly let the clutch out until the vehicle shakes a little and starts to sound like its pulling something. At this point the foot petal brake needs to be released and the pressure needs to be applied to the gas. As the gas is pressed down release slowly on the clutch, listening to the sound of the vehicle. The sound of the vehicle is very important in stick shifts as it will give clues that the clutch is being released to fast or that the vehicle is not getting enough gas or it is getting too much gas. If the vehicle stalls, do not worry it will not wreck the vehicle, but it will probably jerk and be uncomfortable. When the vehicle is stalled refer back to step one and continue from there. While stopping, push the clutch in right before pushing the brake in or once comfortable with the process it might be done at almost the same exact time.

Step 4: Shifting to Second Gear

Now the hardest part is done. For the second to last step the vehicle will be shifted through the gears while gaining speed. Make absolute sure that full attention is on the road or in a private area such as a field or driveway. Once the vehicle is moving and in first gear, it will need to be accelerated up to around 3000 rpm. This will vary between vehicles so refer to the owner’s manual to be certain. Once the vehicle is around the shifting range, push the clutch in will releasing the gas at the same time or slightly before. Grab the shifter and move it into the second gear position. Make sure to refer to the owner’s manual to verify gear positions. Slowly let the clutch back out while applying slight pressure to the gas. If the vehicle starts to shake or jerk, the vehicle is not getting enough gas or the clutch was let back out too late. If that starts to happen, push the clutch and the break in and stop the vehicle and start over from gear one. This will take practice as it is a learned skill and will vary between vehicles.

Step 5: Wrap Up

So far, the vehicle should have been started and shifted up to at least second gear. Shifting through the rest of the gears will require the same processes as step four, but the speed of the vehicle will be the only thing that will be different. Now at this point some people prefer to shift down to slow the vehicle down using the back compression from the engine. That will not be in this guide but if that is desired there are other guides that will teach that skill. Most people will push the clutch in and shift into neutral and apply the brake, as to slow down using only the brakes.