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How To Drive A Stick
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So you want to know how to drive a stick? Learning how to drive a stick can be either extremely easy or extremely hard depending on if you have the right information. My best piece of advice is to find someone who knows how to drive a stick and have them take you to an empty parking lot and teach you. Below is a short summary.

Car Orientation:

In order to learn how to drive a stick shift you are going to need to know where a few things are.

  • Stick Shift: usually located to the right of you between the driver and passenger seat.
  • Gas Pedal: located at your feet on the far right if you're sitting in the drivers seat(note: this is for cars where the driver sits on the left side of the vehicle).
  • Brake Pedal: is going to be the middle pedal
  • Clutch Pedal: is going to be to the left of the brake.

Using the Stick Shift: The stick shift will either have 7 or 8 positions depending on the type of car you have. They are 1st gear, 2nd gear, 3rd gear, 4th gear, 5th gear, 6th gear, neutral and reverse.

In order to shift gears you will have to push the clutch in all the way, this disengages the transmission from the engine and will allow you to shift. If you don't push in the clutch you will probably be able to take it out of gear, but will end up grinding the gears trying to put it into the next gear.

  • 1st gear in most places is going to be to the far left and up(towards the engine).
  • Second gear is going to be far left and back(towards the trunk) directly behind first gear.
  • The horizontal space between the two is neutral. You know you are in neutral when you can move the stick shift back and forth freely in the horizontal direction.
  • Third gear is just to the right of first gear on the engine side.
  • Fourth gear is directly behind third gear and to the right of second gear.
  • Fifth gear is to the right of third gear.
  • Sixth is directly behind fifth gear and to the right of fourth gear.
  • Reverse will usually be to the right of sixth gear or to the left of first gear. Some cars you might have to push the stick shift down(think towards the bottom of the car) in order to shift into reverse.

Driving a Stick Shift:

  1. In order to start a manual transmission car you either have to have the car in neutral or the clutch all the way in. The car will not start otherwise.
  2. After you have the car started, push the clutch in and shift the stick shift into first gear.
  3. Slowly let out the clutch. Eventually, you will feel the transmission engaging with the engine. At this point the car will start moving forward. Now you can slowly push on the gas pedal as you are easing off the clutch. Soon the transmission will be fully engaged and you will have taken your foot completely off the clutch.
  4. As you gain speed you will start to hear the engine running at a high RPM at some point at this point you will want to take your foot off the gas, push in the clutch, shift to second, let out the clutch and push on the gas again.
  5. Repeat for the remaining gears.

Problems You Might Encounter:

While learning how to drive a stick shift you might encounter a few problems:

-Car dying: You're letting the clutch out too fast and/or not giving it enough gas.

-Car Lurching: You are letting out the clutch too fast.

-Car Bogging down: If you can't speed up or it takes forever to speed up you need to downshift. This means you need to shift from a higher gear to a lower gear, such as from fourth to third gear. You will most likely encounter this as you drive up a hill.The same method is used to downshift as is used to upshift. Follow the instructions in this article and not knowing how to drive a stick shift will soon be a thing of the past!

Street Talk

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