What’s the point if an automatic will do all of the thinking for you? Yes, an automatic transmission calculates the gear ratios and does the shifting for you but where’s the fun in that? That’s like playing a video game that shoots all of the targets for you. Driving a manual transmission is having full control over one of the world’s most powerful machines. Wouldn’t you want better gas economy without sacrificing horsepower? The beauty of a stick is that you don’t have to. You have full control over how much gas your giving your engine, and you get to decide how fast you want to accelerate at all times. Have you ever had to replace a transmission? I have, and let me tell you it’s not cheap! Because a manual transmission has multiple gears you can replace them individually at a much lower cost. So now that we’ve decided that stick is the way to go, can you drive one?
1. SAFTY FIRST – Know your car.
When you first get into a vehicle with a stick shift you’ll notice an additional pedal all the way to the left. What’s this one do? That’s your clutch. Simply put, the clutch cuts off power to your engine allowing you to switch gears. When your clutch is all the way in your basically in neutral, so although your engine is spinning, it is no longer connected to your wheels.
The clutch is used with only your left foot; the gas and break are used, as usual, with your right foot. When you first get into the vehicle press the clutch down all they way and make sure you can reach it comfortably. Your gear selector has been replaced with a manual shifter. With your right hand you’ll want to practice going through your shift patterns so you get a feel for where all of your gears are. Press the clutch all the way in and go to first, then second, then third, fourth, and fifth. The gears are lined up in an H pattern. When the car is not in gear you should be able to wiggle your shifter; this is neutral. You...