Post # 1
My husband and I recently just bought a new car, but it’s a manual. I have been practicing driving the new car but I feel like I can’t seem to get it. I mean I have been able to go from being stopped to being in motion but I can’t get it to be a smooth transition. It always seems to be very jerky and my clutch to gas ratio is off. I have kind of a lead foot and its either I don’t put enough gas or use too much gas….
I understand that I need practice and to be patient but I just wanted to get some tips or advice on how you guys learned to drive stick or what made it easier for you guys!
Post # 3
@DivineGoddess: My dad taught me how to drive manual before I learned automatic. I practiced for WEEKS and felt comfident. Went on the road and about nearly got in a huge wreck and have not touched a manual since…..
Post # 4
@Britt214: I feel you! I have only been practicing for 2 days (well more like 3 hours) and I felt pretty good around my neighborhood and in an empty parking lot, but I drove on the street last night and kept stalling in the middle of the road (thank god there were no cars on the road at the time) but it freaked me out and made me lose confidence. Unfortunately its our only car right now so I must push forward! Haha
Post # 5
Driving stick is really knacky. For me at least, I practiced and practiced and always seemed to be jerky, but then suddenly I just GOT IT and was smooth from there out. Just keep at it! It’s all about getting a good rhythm of moving from clutch to gas… especially at the beginning, I found it often helped to be a bit heavier on the clutch then I thought I had to be.
Post # 6
@DivineGoddess: it’s all just practice until you build your confidence. I have been driving a manual for 15 years and I still stall once in a blue moon 🙂 it happens!
Post # 7
@DivineGoddess: When moving from a stationary position, very slowly lift your foot off the clutch. Very slowly. There should be a subtle point (my instructor called it the “friction point”) where the car starts to vibrate a little bit more. That’s when you slowly hit the gas/acceleration and begin to take your foot off the clutch. Don’t just lift it off once you get the gas going, try to balance it out to make it smooth.
I actually learned better when I drove barefoot, because I could “feel” the car. I still drive barefoot to this day! Sure it’s a pain taking your shoes off and putting them back on every time, but it definitely means a smoother and thus safer drive for me.
Hope that makes sense!
Post # 8
@DivineGoddess: imagine a midpoint between flooring it and having the pedal completely free. Take your time and try to get your foot coming off he clutch and the gas foot to the midpoint at th same time. It’s okay if the engine revs a bit. Pretty soon it will be second nature. Remember, you just need the clutch to switch into gear, that’s it.
Post # 9
Don’t worry… you will get it! The best way is to just do it. I know that sounds stupid but I was horrible for the first couple of weeks because I was so apprehensive. Then we decided to go on a cross-country trip and I learned REALLY quickly!
My husband was having hard time learning. One night I drove us to a friend’s house and I ended up drinking way too much so he had to drive us home haha! He was really proud of himself and improved a lot from that.
The best advice I was given was to stay calm. The worst that can happen is that you will stall out. That’s it. So when it happens just say, “okay, that was the worst that could happen and it did” and then it’s a little easier to calm your nerves to move on.
It helps to let your foot up slowly so it won’t be so jerky. It just takes some time for it to feel natural, but it will… I promise!
Post # 10
- Wedding: August 2013 - Rocky Mountains USA
It just takes time to get used to it. You learn the exact balance between gas and clutch, but it takes time.
One trick: if you’re on a hill, you can pull partway up on the parking brake to stop you from sliding backwards before you get the gas to kick in.
Post # 11
Stay calm. If you’re able to actually get the car in motion, you’re 90% of the way there.
Getting the car to go forward smoothly vs. jerky is just a matter of practice. Actually, every stick shift car is different – the clutch will feel different every time. Don’t worry about it being jerky. Just focus on sloooowly releasing the clutch. There should be a small “catch” when you ease up on the clutch where the car will begin to roll forward on its own. Tap the gas at that time and you’ll be smooth sailing. Pull up on the clutch too soon and obviously you’ll stall — but there’s a “sweet spot” where you’ll be able to FEEL the car is ready for the gas. Keep practicing and you’ll see what I mean.
You’re doing great and practice is really the best way to learn. It took me months to be able to regularly move forward from a stopped position on a stick shift car, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be solid.
Post # 12
Practice, practice, practice! And you get the real experience driving by driving on real roads. I know it can be scary at first, but you’ll improve much more quickly.
Post # 13
I learnt in a manual (stick shift) car and did plenty of ‘kangaroo hopping’ in my time. Trust me that one day soon it will just click and you will have the knack forevermore after that. One thing my instructor did which was helpful was have me very slowly lift my foot of clutch (without accelorating at all) so I could feel exactly when the car kicked in. You won’t stall it doing this if you are slow enough and the car will actually start to move once you have fully released the clutch.
Post # 14
@DivineGoddess: It just takes practice! Think how many hours you had to drive before you were comfortable driving an automatic… it won’t be quite that many since you already have the non-shifting-related driving skills down, but it will be more than three hours!
I would suggest finding a nice isolated place where you can practice without stress and just driving in circles. I used the road around the parking lot of a local mall after hours- it had lots of hills to practice on, and no traffic at all! It probably took about two weeks of nightly practice before I was comfortable on the road- but you will get the hang of it, I promise.
Post # 15
Thanks everyone! Your support is making me feel alot more confident! when my husband comes home from work tomorrow I will be sure to keep practicing. 😀
Post # 16
I totally second learning barefoot. You can feel everything so much better, but it really is just practicing until its muscle memory. You’ll get it, don’t worry!