When it comes to learning stick shift, reversing and parallel parking can’t be ignored. The concept is the same, but the mechanics are very different. For starters, if you’re parallel parking on an up hill or down hill, rolling will interfere with the process.
- Reverse pulls off using the same rules as pulling off in first gear
- Reverse is not always in the same place on every car, be sure to check
- Reversing is usually done slowly, which means you’re never off the clutch
- Use the emergency brakes to hold the car for careful inching on hills
- Park by putting the car in gear, turning the wheel and pulling the e-brake
- Reverse by moving your foot up and down the clutch for accuracy
Reversing in a manual car is a little different than an automatic car. Instead of resting on the break, your feet will be by the gas and the clutch. Getting the car moving in reverse is the same as getting the car moving in first gear. The only difference is in reverse, our goal isn’t to gradually gain speed. Our goal is to be slow and precise. Think of the clutch as a push. Whenever you need a push, add gas and come off into the friction point. The car should be maneuvered into the parking spot with little burst of friction and release.
To keep the car moving slowly and avoid a rapid speed up, add gas while releasing the clutch. It’s important to maintain your position on the friction point and inch up or down on the clutch accordingly. If the car is speeding up, go down on the clutch and let it’s own momentum carry it into the spot until you need to move again. When you want to move , repeat by adding a little gas and coming up to the friction point again for a “push”.
Using the reversing techniques above, parallel parking in a stick shift car will be much easier to deal with. The only problem is hill parking at this point. Parallel parking on a downhill is very tricky because now the car will roll forward when you’re trying to reverse. To avoid this, I suggest pulling up the emergency brake and making sure the car is secured by that. Give the car gas and start releasing the clutch until there is enough tension and the car wants to move. At this point, slowly drop the brakes, carefully hold on to the clutch and gas. Allow the car to roll in to the spot. You can tweak the pace by inching on or off the clutch slightly while maintaining consistent gas. Use the Emergency brakes every time you have to stop and adjust wheel direction to make sure it doesn’t roll into the car in front.
For parallel parking on an uphill, life is a little easier. You can just come off the foot brake and let gravity do it’s job. The car will roll into the parking spot.Just stay on the foot brake to control the pace. Adjusting and straightening the car out might be a little difficult now because you’ll have to move forward (up the hill). Use the emergency brakes to build up tension, then release them gradually and straighten the car out.
At the End of Parking
When the car is parked and you’re ready to get out, you can do a three things. What I recommend though is doing all three. Pull up the emergency brake, turn the wheel all the way to towards the curb and leave the car in gear. Turning the wheel will add extra resistance just in case it budges, it will roll into the side walk. Putting the car in gear will make sure it’s held by the transmission, this isn’t 100% though. Doing all three is the safest way to park.
You want to leave the car in the opposite gear of where the car is facing. For example, if you’re parallel parking facing downhill, leave the car in first gear, turn the wheel towards the curb and pull the brake up. Now you turn the car off, come off the clutch slowly, then the foot brake. If you’re parking facing uphill, everything is the same except instead of putting the car in first gear, you’re putting it in reverse. Just remember opposites!