Intro: Driving a Vehicle With a Manual Transmission
Hi, my name is Kyle Munkvold.
Everyone has that dream of owning a fancy sports car like a Lamborghini or a Porsche, but sometimes their cars have manual transmissions. Not only do some cars and pickups have manual transmissions, but most semis also have manual transmissions. If you want to get your CDL or even just want to learn how to drive a manual transmission it is really quite simple. I first learned to drive a manual pickup when I was 12. I was asked to drive our pickup from my house to my grandpas, which is about 2 miles away. At first I didn’t know how to even start driving but my dad started to walk me through it. A few months later I had to drive semi during harvest. By this time I had some practice and began to really get the hang of it, and I have been driving ever since. – Even though only 3.9% of cars on the road today have manual transmissions, I feel there is a need to know how to drive a manual vehicle. I’m going to show you how to drive a vehicle with a manual transmission in five easy steps. With these steps you will be driving with a manual transmission in no time.
Step 1: Starting the Vehicle
When you first enter a vehicle with a manual transmission you may notice a large bar coming up from the floor of the vehicle. This is your shifting column. In some cars it is smaller, but for most of the time they are normally located in your center counsel or between you and your passenger seat. Next, before you start the vehicle, buckle your seat belt and adjust the mirrors if needed. Once you’re comfortable with the wheel and mirrors, make sure the transmission is in neutral. You can do this by being able to move the column left and right freely. If it is in gear yet it won’t move. You want to make sure the transmission is in neutral before start-up because if you start the engine while in gear you will cause the vehicle to lunge forward or backward. If you are unsure of the position of the transmission you can press the clutch all the way to the floor. The clutch is the pedal to the left of the brake. The three pedals go from left to right, clutch, brake, and gas. The clutch allows the engine to run without turning the wheels.
Step 2: Putting the Vehicle in Gear
Once you have the vehicle running, you’ll want to start moving forward. First make sure the parking brake is released. Next move the shifting column all the way to the left. Now depending on the transmission, you may have to move the column up or down in order to put it into first gear. Some transmissions will have the far left (L) up (1) position be either the first or reverse (R) gear. There should be a picture of the gearing set up. But for now we will say that L1 is Reverse. So to put it into first gear, you will press the clutch in all the way, to the floor, and move the column to the far left (L) and down (2). ALWAYS PRESS CLUTCH TO THE FLOOR. If you don’t the clutch wont fully engage causing problems later. Once you have it in first gear release the clutch SLOWLY. If you release it too fast it will vehicle to lunge forward. Once you release the clutch you will begin to drive in first gear.
Step 3: Shifting
As you’re driving you will have to increase speed. After first gear comes second gear in the middle-up position (M1). Press the clutch in and move your foot off the gas pedal. This will decrease your RPMs allowing you to move to the next gear. Once you move the column to second gear, release the clutch and put your foot back on the gas pedal. Keep repeating the steps, Clutch, Shift, Gas, Repeat, until you get to fifth or sixth gear (5-speed transmission= 5 gears). You want to follow the same pattern of shifting, 1-2-3-4-5(-6).
Step 4: Stopping
Stopping maybe the easiest part of driving a manual vehicle. All you have to do it take it out of gear by pressing the clutch in and shifting the transmission into neutral. Once you have it in neutral you can press the brakes until you have come to a complete stop. Once you want to start driving again refer back to step 2.
Step 5: Parking
Once you have arrived to your destination you will take the vehicle out of gear, turn the vehicle off and either apply the parking break or put it back in first gear. MAKE SURE THE VEHICLE HAS STOPPED RUNNING otherwise you will start driving into your garage door. Now if you are parked up-hill, put the column into first gear that way it doesn’t roll backwards. If you are parked down-hill, put the column into reverse that way you don’t roll forwards. ALWAYS KEEP CLUTCH DISENGAGED OR YOU WILL ROLL.