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While cars equipped with manual transmissions are slowly being phased out of the new car market, there are still plenty of used ones to be had. Whether you buy a new or used car with a manual transmission, the dilemma remains the same, you need to know how to drive it. Does that mean it’s a stupid idea to buy a manual transmission car if you can’t drive a stick yet?

It’s worth it to learn how to drive a manual transmission

Interior detail of a Porsche 997 GT2 RS sports car.
Interior detail of a Porsche 997 GT2 RS sports car. | Daniel Pullen/Future Publishing via Getty Images

Whether you’re planning to buy a car with a stick shift or not, it’s still worth it to learn how to drive one. Knowing how to drive a stick opens you up to a multitude of cars on the new market as well as all of the ones available on the used market. Ultimately, it’s not a stupid idea to buy a car with a stick shift, even if you don’t know how to drive it. If anything, you could be buying the best car that you have ever owned.

If you can’t drive a car with a manual transmission yet, here are some suggestions

Driving a car with a manual transmission isn’t rocket science, but it can be tricky if you have never tried it. I’ll skip the basics of learning how to drive a manual transmission car and get straight to the issue at hand. If you’re looking to purchase a stick shift car, but don’t know how to drive it, the best-case scenario would be to learn as much as you can before test driving your desired car at the dealership.

In order to learn, you’ll first need to find someone with a manual transmission car that doesn’t mind the possibility of a burnt clutch. These brave prospects can include, but are not limited to:

  • A relative
  • A really nice friend
  • Your high school French teacher (if you’re as lucky as Doug Demuro)

All jokes aside, your primary objective is to at least be able to get out of first gear and at a comfortable speed so that you can test out the car that you want to buy without too many issues. If you don’t know anyone that has a manual transmission car, then you can also try the following agencies:

  • A rental car agency
  • Turo – Just make sure to get insurance and have someone that can drive stick pick up the car with you. Just remember to take it easy as not to damage the car so you can return to the owner in one piece.

What if you can’t find a car to drive?

Ashante Infantry works on her hill starts as she learns to drive a standard car. | TANNIS TOOHEY/TORONTO STAR

Is It Worth Learning How to Drive Manual?

If you can’t find a manual transmission car to drive and learn on, then you may be able to drive the car that you’re buying around the lot or on nearby surface streets. Just let the car salesperson know your situation and that you’re serious about buying the car. That way, they may be a little more sympathetic when letting you drive it and even cater to your situation.

When I sold cars at a dealership, I had a couple of different prospective buyers that didn’t know how to drive stick but were interested in a manual transmission car. One of them actually purchased the car and I taught them how to drive it in the parking lot afterward. For the other customer, I drove the car and taught them the basics while doing so. They were appreciative but didn’t buy the car.

Either way, I was happy to help each person when it came to driving a manual transmission. So, you never know, you may get a salesperson that will help you out. However, your experience may vary.