Driving a Vehicle with a Manual Transmission

DiuSee

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I recently bought my new car, and this is the first time I've ever had a chance to drive a manual, and I'm wondering if you can provide any tips to driving. Thanks in advance!
 

avanti

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remember to clutch...no but seriously, ask someone with experience to show you, then practice - practice - practice, in 10 minutes you'r a natural..
 

DiuSee

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I remember to clutch, but it's been taking me longer then 10 minutes, and I have trouble finding that sweet spot where the clutch and the flywheel meet, off the line.
 

avanti

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I don't want to sound boring, but I don't think there is a magic formula, be patient it might take a while to find the sweet spot, practice makes perfect:thumbup:
 

BlitzR

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Don't Subaru's need more of an aggressive clutch action.
I think if you apply it too soft you will wear the clutch and too heavy you will stress the drive train. Maybe...
 

Fiete

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Well, all I can tell you about using a manual gearbox is just general stuff like "Looking at the gear lever while shifting is a bad idea..." that doesn't help you 'cause you already know that kinda hints. I hope...

I guess the secret of a manual is to shift without thinking about what you're doing. Like the others already said: practice is the key to become a "driving god". And that doesn't take minutes, it takes months until everything happens automatically, without thinking of the clutch's sweet spot or which gear to choose...

And when you're got used to your car, you still have to adapt, when you have to drive another car. Because different cars, different behaviour of the clutches: when I started driving I had an old Golf Mark 2 that was tortured for nine years by an old lady who used the clutch pedal as a rest for her left foot. The result was a weak clutch with a sweet spot near the upper position. I just had to look at the clutch pedal and the clutch slipped instantly. But I got used to it and thought I was a good manual shifter until I had to drive a friends car with a brand new razor sharp clutch. Damn I stalled that bitch a hundred times, a police car next to me also made me nervous, that was a bad day for my ego.

I have driven many different cars during the last ten years, so I need to adapt for a new car only a couple of minutes.

It might also help if you have the opportunity to practice with a different manual car (not as nasty as an Impreza), preferably with an experienced manual driver as a passenger like avanti said. The more cars you have driven, the easier it gets to get used with a manual.

By the way: Did you ever had driving lessons in a manual car or is it uncommon in Canada?
 

teeb

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If you've never driven a manual before, do what driving instructors do to teach it. Go somewhere calm and not very busy, and practise starting from a standstill. Try getting the clutch to the 'biting point' - where the car is starting to rock forward when the handbrake is on.

More importantly, practise hill starts - moving off from being parked / stationary, and heading uphill. There is a fair bit of clutch control here, and it can be tricky to begin with. The practise means you won't make a fool of yourself at traffic lights by stalling at the front of the queue.

Oh, on that note : if it's your first time with a manual, you *will* stall. Everybody does. It's part of the learning process. Don't be too worked up about it; these things happen. Just learn from the mistake.
 

Cobol74

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I've been driving 23 years nearly all on manuals and I still stall the damn thing. Could just be me though!
 

eddysdaman

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Clue: It has boost.
My tip to learning the sweet spot is find a small incline that is completely unused by other drivers and just play with the throttle and clutch to keep you balanced and at a standstill. Do this for a while and you'll start to pick up on where that sweet spot is without thinking, you'll become natural like others have said. :)

EDIT: Oh and if you are worried about stalling, just remember, more gas is better than no gas. Most cases of stalling are due to lack of fuel getting into the engine, so if in doubt, accelerate more until you're used to knowing at what revs your clutch kicks in... if that makes sense .... eh it helped me
 
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DiuSee

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Just want to start of by saying, thank you very much for you replies. :bow: Most I've heard or know already, but there is nothing better then re-enforcement of the basics. :happy:

Well, all I can tell you about using a manual gearbox is just general stuff like "Looking at the gear lever while shifting is a bad idea..." that doesn't help you 'cause you already know that kinda hints. I hope...

I guess the secret of a manual is to shift without thinking about what you're doing. Like the others already said: practice is the key to become a "driving god". And that doesn't take minutes, it takes months until everything happens automatically, without thinking of the clutch's sweet spot or which gear to choose...

And when you're got used to your car, you still have to adapt, when you have to drive another car. Because different cars, different behaviour of the clutches: when I started driving I had an old Golf Mark 2 that was tortured for nine years by an old lady who used the clutch pedal as a rest for her left foot. The result was a weak clutch with a sweet spot near the upper position. I just had to look at the clutch pedal and the clutch slipped instantly. But I got used to it and thought I was a good manual shifter until I had to drive a friends car with a brand new razor sharp clutch. Damn I stalled that bitch a hundred times, a police car next to me also made me nervous, that was a bad day for my ego.

I have driven many different cars during the last ten years, so I need to adapt for a new car only a couple of minutes.

It might also help if you have the opportunity to practice with a different manual car (not as nasty as an Impreza), preferably with an experienced manual driver as a passenger like avanti said. The more cars you have driven, the easier it gets to get used with a manual.

By the way: Did you ever had driving lessons in a manual car or is it uncommon in Canada?
I've been going around with my dad, and my dad is a little critical... not really its more like quite critical, but unfortunately this is the only manual that I have access to, and its mine... :cry: Also, I have had driving lessons in an Automatic, but unfortunately manual cars are not common, so I believe that all driving lessons in Canada are with automatics.

If you've never driven a manual before, do what driving instructors do to teach it. Go somewhere calm and not very busy, and practise starting from a standstill. Try getting the clutch to the 'biting point' - where the car is starting to rock forward when the handbrake is on.

More importantly, practise hill starts - moving off from being parked / stationary, and heading uphill. There is a fair bit of clutch control here, and it can be tricky to begin with. The practise means you won't make a fool of yourself at traffic lights by stalling at the front of the queue.

Oh, on that note : if it's your first time with a manual, you *will* stall. Everybody does. It's part of the learning process. Don't be too worked up about it; these things happen. Just learn from the mistake.
Yeah I've stalled so many times to the point, where my battery had dried up, and I had to have my car boosted. It sucks, but in southern Ontario, we're not really blessed with hills. So I've been using my drive way as a practice hill, its not the most incline ever, but hell is it ever hard to figure out at times. And worst my parents gave me the garage to park in, but the drive way has sank a bit, and its a bit of a climb up into the garage. Don't really want to crash my car into the shelf just before the wall.

My tip to learning the sweet spot is find a small incline that is completely unused by other drivers and just play with the throttle and clutch to keep you balanced and at a standstill. Do this for a while and you'll start to pick up on where that sweet spot is without thinking, you'll become natural like others have said. :)

EDIT: Oh and if you are worried about stalling, just remember, more gas is better than no gas. Most cases of stalling are due to lack of fuel getting into the engine, so if in doubt, accelerate more until you're used to knowing at what revs your clutch kicks in... if that makes sense .... eh it helped me
Its weird, but usually if I accelerate, my car stalls quicker. :dunno:
 

bartboy9891

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^ I've only driven a manual once, my friend decided that his car didn't deserve the abuse so he put an end to it. But I found that I instinctively release the clutch quickly when I give it more revs. I think that's the same problem you are having.
 

I<3myV8

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Small tip.

Release the clutch slowly to try to find the spot where the clutch meets the flywheel. When you find it, and the car starts moving, don't be tempted to let go. Keep it pressed a bit longer.

Then you can increase the revs and let go rest of the way. If there is jerkyness, you are letting go the clutch too early.

My tip to learning the sweet spot is find a small incline that is completely unused by other drivers and just play with the throttle and clutch to keep you balanced and at a standstill.
I personally wouldn't do this because it stresses the car. I think slowly reversing into a parking spot is a good exercise for clutch control. Or going forward very slowly. If you can move the car very slowly you found that sweet spot. To move very slowly you have to keep the clutch at the bite point.

Its weird, but usually if I accelerate, my car stalls quicker.
I think the problem is that you want to move quicker, and you instinctively let go of the clutch quicker. Even when you give it a lot of gas you still have to move the clutch half-way, to the bite point where it meets the flywheel. You can't skip this step.

EDIT: Oh and if you are worried about stalling, just remember, more gas is better than no gas. Most cases of stalling are due to lack of fuel getting into the engine, so if in doubt, accelerate more until you're used to knowing at what revs your clutch kicks in... if that makes sense .... eh it helped me
The throttle only dictates how fast or slow the car will move off the line. I wouldn't worry about it. Getting the clutch to that bite point is the key. When you are parking in your garage it is better to stall the car in a standstill by not giving it enough gas, as opposed to giving it a lot gas, letting go to early, and crashing into the wall.

I find that new cars have a very soft, sensitive, and indirect clutches so you have to be gentle.
 
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eddysdaman

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The throttle only dictates how fast or slow the car will move off the line. I wouldn't worry about it. Getting the clutch to that bite point is the key. When you are parking in your garage it is better to stall the car in a standstill by not giving it enough gas, as opposed to giving it a lot gas, letting go to early, and crashing into the wall.
LOL

I hadn't though about it that way ... but since I never did it I guess I assumed no one else would ... which is blatantly stupid because its almost always going to happen to someone :p
 

poptya

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ehhh IMO manuals are overated. They suck in traffic and you cant really do much else while driving them. I bought a manual mazda RX8 and spent 2 months teaching myself to drive it. After that much time I had stopped stalling it but upshifts were ludicrously jerky. I gave up, sold it, and am looking for a sequential one instead. Manuals are better at the track and can do burnouts, other than that, they are just wasted effort. And since hardly anyone goes to the track, and tires aren't cheap, theres no point.
 

avanti

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It is strange to think about that ppl are having such trouble driving a stick, I understand that it can be tricky in the beginning but why do ppl give up so easily..? Here everyone and their grandmother drives with a manual like it was the most natural thing in the world..

When I was old enough to practice legally I drove every day for two years, always with a manual, then I had one lesson at a driving school and passed my test on the first try.

You just have to practice, practice and practice again, young ppl these days are so unpatient...:no:
 

teletubby-warrior

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ehhh IMO manuals are overated. They suck in traffic and you cant really do much else while driving them. I bought a manual mazda RX8 and spent 2 months teaching myself to drive it. After that much time I had stopped stalling it but upshifts were ludicrously jerky. I gave up, sold it, and am looking for a sequential one instead. Manuals are better at the track and can do burnouts, other than that, they are just wasted effort. And since hardly anyone goes to the track, and tires aren't cheap, theres no point.
No offense, but I laughed when I read this...
 

Karoug

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During the winter there is nothing better than a RWD car with a manual gearbox! :D
 

Mischief007

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ehhh IMO manuals are overated. They suck in traffic and you cant really do much else while driving them. I bought a manual mazda RX8 and spent 2 months teaching myself to drive it. After that much time I had stopped stalling it but upshifts were ludicrously jerky. I gave up, sold it, and am looking for a sequential one instead. Manuals are better at the track and can do burnouts, other than that, they are just wasted effort. And since hardly anyone goes to the track, and tires aren't cheap, theres no point.
You're from California, makes sense.

I've been driving manual cars for 6 years and there is only one advice, which has been already mentioned, practice practice practice. I still have trouble with mine to do smooth shifts but from what I hear, I'm not the only Ecotec/5-speed owner to complain. You will get the hang of it in no time. My uphill starts are almost no rollback compared to other people that I've seen driving.

And yes, if you find a driving school with a manual car in Canada, but a lottery ticket.
 

DiuSee

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I've been practicing my ass off, and I've been getting better, but stilll stalls iy once or twice. It's screwed up though, I put up one of those new driver tags, so people would know and maybe they would be a little more courteous, but people will still tailgate. Some Canadians just can't drive according to the rules of the road.
 
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