Tips, Tricks & Trends

Learn How to Drive a Manual Transmission the Right Way

As the saying goes, “There is more than one way to skin a cat. “ This definitely rings true for learning how to drive a manual transmission vehicle. Of course, nowadays, no one really cares and the driving a manual is a lost art, however, for those who actually do want to learn, we came across a great way to get it down; by drilling.

What do we mean by drilling?

We mean drilling as in “breaking down the process to simple parts and doing them over and over again.” Sure, there are many different ways to learn, however, it’s very common for beginners to get excited about learning the mechanics of driving a manual and then immediately want to start driving on the street with other cars.

For some, driving on the street for the first time – while barely learning how to get out of first gear – can be a scary experience. It can also be very dangerous for them and all of the other drivers on the road. So learn to be patient and practice the parts over and over again.

Man drives manual transmission
Driving stick shift | Motortion/Getty Images

Drawing out the process

A quick search on YouTube on how to drive a manual will reveals hundreds, if not thousands, of “how to drive a manual transmission” videos, and most of them will show you different ways of basically doing the same thing.

However, we happened to come across one video, in particular, that was interesting:

No, not because of the Civic Type R, but mainly because the host in it, Juliana Chiovitti, goes over the basics very thoroughly.

In the video, she says to find the “engagement point” of the clutch pedal until the car moves forward, then stop the car and repeat the process multiple times. She then goes on to tell the viewer to do the same with the gas pedal in order to figure out how high to rev the car when taking off from first gear. And then says to repeat that over and over.

What’s so great about that process?

We like this process because we had yet to see anyone actually tell viewers, or beginners, how to effectively find the engagement point and smoothly accelerate in such a basic manner, and then tell them to repeat over and over again, for weeks, if necessary.

We realize it’s such a trivial thing, but engaging first gear (and reverse) are arguably the hardest parts of driving a manual transmission car. In the video, Juliana does cover shifting and downshifting, but as she says, it’s a much simpler process than first gear.

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Mom gives her daughter a driving lesson. | Daisy-Daisy/Getty Images

Some people cause confusion

In contrast, we have seen many other videos in which the person instructing is almost struggling to figure out how to describe finding the engagement point, only to demonstrate it in a confusing way.

They often tell the viewer to lift off the clutch pedal while simultaneously easing onto the gas pedal, however, we don’t think that anyone that driven an automatic all their life would know what “easing” onto the gas pedal would actually mean.

Teach patience and repetition

The point is, if you can break the process of driving a manual transmission down in “easy to understand” parts and then reinforce the importance of doing it over and over again, it might just help beginners learn much more quickly so they can have more fun and, more importantly, stay safe.