Tips & Tricks
Before your stick shift lessons, it’s a good idea to understand the mechanics of the car and concept of manual transmission. Here are some tips and tricks to keep in mind when getting ready for your driving lessons or if you already took a lesson and would like to just refresh your memory.
- Locate the clutch to the far left and adjust your seat accordingly to make sure your foot can push it all the way down comfortably.
- Cycle through the gears with the car off, but imagine that you’re really driving so you can get use to clutching in and out while changing gears.
- Release the clutch very slowly with minimal or no gas at all, it will help you locate the friction point. The place where the transmission and the engine make contact.
- When you locate the friction point, you will feel the car begin to move, the engine shutter and the RPM’s drop. Then add some gas and slowly, but smoothly finish letting out the clutch while increasing the gas accordingly to the car’s response.
- It’s a good idea to get into the habit of putting the car in neutral when its time to come to a complete stop instead of just resting on the clutch.
- Remember when changing gears to push the clutch ALL the way down. Sometimes you may think you have, but if isn’t all the way down, it may make gear changing more difficult and grind the gears.
- Hills are Hell, but they are a necessary skill to have when driving manual. The trick is to avoid panicking. If you begin to roll back, DO NOT panic and step on the gas excessively or release the clutch too quickly (or both). A hill start should be just like any regular start. The only difference should be that you have to ride the clutch out a little longer and give it slightly more gas as you’re releasing to aid the car’s climb.
- The best way to reduce the roll back on a hill is to find the catch point quicker. This doesn’t mean to jump off the clutch. While gently applying minimal gas (to avoid stalling) start raising your foot off the clutch quickly until you reach the catch point. Hold your foot there until the car starts to move forward, balance and gradually come off the rest. A good trick for hill starting it to find the friction point with your foot still on the brake. Release the clutch until you feel the friction point, then take your foot off the brake, give it a little gas, wait for the car to move a little and start to slowly increase the gas and gradually release the clutch. I wouldn’t do this trick unless you’ve gotten familiar with the catch point and can comfortably find it first.
- A good way to grasp the right balance of gas-to-clutch when starting up is to first find a flat, empty area. Then with the car in gear and your foot on the clutch, rev the engine to about 1.5 to 2 RPM and hold the gas there. Next, start releasing the clutch slowly and keep your eye on the RPM. When the clutch begins to catch, the RPM will drop, your job here is to give it enough gas to keep the RPM at the same place without letting it drop.
- Relax and have fun. Don’t panic or sweat it. Everyone starts out confused, anxious and making plenty of mistakes at a new skill. Patience, positivity and a clear mind will be your best friend here!
Below are some Videos I uploaded to help give you an idea of how to approach your stick shift lessons.
Stick Shift Lessons
Reverse & Parallel Parking
If you have any questions, please refer to the contact page.