The number of new cars with a manual gearbox decreases annually, but that does not mean that you do not have to learn how to operate one. It is true, you can almost always navigate from point A to point B without using a stick-shift and a link, but there will undoubtedly be a time when your only option is something other than an automatic one. You may be forced to drive your friend's pickup home after he or she has drunk a little too much. You may find that you look at the perfect hatchback at your local dealer, but discover that it is in fact equipped with a manual. Or maybe you should rent a car in Europe, where you know how to drive the stick.
Knowing how to operate this type of gearbox will be of good service to you ̵
Below you will find our simple manual for manual driving, so that you can operate everything from compact economy cars to sedans to forklifts using a clutch pedal and a stick (self-propelled forklifts are for wimps!). There is really no substitute for first-hand experience, but our simple instructions are a great place to start.
Step 1: Familiarize yourself with the link and the stick shift
Assuming you own a vehicle with a manual gearbox, sit on the driver's seat and note the various functions and components while the vehicle is not moving . Get a feel for the clutch, the third pedal that is directly to the left of the brake. It is the core of the difference between automatic and manual. Familiarize yourself with its resistance and when you feel it grab. Then find the gear lever, or "stick", which is usually located in the center console between the front seats or next to the steering wheel. Make sure your seat is adjusted so that you can easily reach all three pedals.
Then examine the shift pattern, probably laid out on top of the shift knob. This diagram generally shows a series of lines and numbers that correspond to each gear. Pay attention to the placement of the individual gears, in particular reverse, often accessible by switching back from fifth gear. Occasionally, for example, many Volkswagen vehicles drive backwards by pushing the switch button down (or pulling the switch valve up) and going down from the first. There is also a neutral gear in the "gray area" between each notch, so you can release the clutch pedal while the car continues to drive. For example, if you press the clutch and place your gear lever between the first and second gears, you will be put in neutral. Automatic transmissions do all this … automatically.
Step 2: Practice shifting with the engine off and the emergency brake on
This is the golden rule of manual gearboxes: shifting starts with the clutch but ends with the gas. With the engine still off, press the clutch onto the floor and put the gear lever in first gear. Then release the pedal while pressing the gas slowly. If the engine was on, this would push the vehicle forward.
To go to the second one, release the gas and press the clutch back in. At this point you simply repeat the previous step, only go to the second, then third, then fourth, and so on. Simply put, switching requires the following three actions:
- Press the link with your left foot.
- Manual shifting with your right hand, usually in gear order.
- Slowly depress the accelerator pedal with your right foot while simultaneously releasing the clutch.
The faster you drive, the faster you can reverse the clutch, but keep in mind that flexibility counts more than speed. Beginners should take the habit of switching directly from the first gear to the second gear, not the third.
Step 3: Simulate a real driving scenario
Practicing with the engine off is a good start (no pun intended), but it is not entirely comparable with the real-world scenarios that you encounter on the road. The next step is to actually practice driving, preferably in a flat area that is relatively free of traffic and pedestrians – parking lots, back roads, etc. Remote locations with little traffic also offer sufficient time if you switch off the engine. However, try not to panic; motorcycle blocks inevitably go hand in hand with learning to drive a stick.
Although you can only practice as long as you have a valid driver's license, consider taking a friend who knows how to drive a stick. Make sure the car is in neutral, press the clutch and turn the ignition key to start the vehicle. After you have selected the first gear, drive slowly forward when the car starts, releasing the clutch and at the same time pressing the accelerator pedal. Whatever you do, don't accelerate too fast. If the tachometer indicates more than 3000, or you are traveling at about 15 km / h, press the clutch and shift from the first to the second gear before releasing it, and repeat until you reach the desired speed. Master this technique and you are ready to take the Toyota Supra for a spin – assuming it will get a manual transmission someday.
Starting on a hill
The most complicated part of driving a car equipped with a manual gearbox starts on a steep hill. That's because you have to operate the clutch pedal to engage first gear, the accelerator pedal to get the car moving and the brake pedal to prevent the car from rolling backwards. It's tricky – unless you have three feet.
This is when the parking brake – usually placed directly between the front seats – is useful. After stopping, pull up the parking brake so that the car does not roll backwards. When it is time to move again, begin as you normally would on a flat surface while releasing the parking brake at the same time. Timing is central here. Releasing the handbrake too slowly will prevent the car from moving, while releasing it too quickly will cause the car to reverse. However, make sure it is just right and the brake holds the car long enough to drive away.
Don't worry if you stand still; it happens to everyone. Apply the parking brake again, put the car in neutral, start the engine and try again. With a little practice, you'll move quickly through downtown San Francisco.
General transmission terms you need to know
Clutch: A clutch switches two independent axes on and off. In a vehicle, it is used to couple or disengage the crankshaft (which leads to the engine) from the drive shaft (which leads to the driven axle). The clutch is engaged by default, but pressing the clutch pedal disengages the clutch to change gears.
This video from the learning technology channel provides an excellent overview of the link and its role in a transmission.
Gear: In a vehicle, gears transfer power from the crankshaft to the drive shaft. There are several gears to change how the engine power rotates the wheels of the car. Smaller gears are used to bring the car up to speed. Larger gears are used to build and maintain that speed.
RPM (revs): Revolutions Per Minute is a measure of how many rotations on a fixed axis are completed in one minute. In a car, the tachometer measures the rotations of the vehicle's crankshaft. For example, if you are idling at 1000 rpm, your car's crankshaft rotates around its axis 1000 times per minute.
Tachometer: Within the meter cluster, the tachometer measures your RPM. The tachometer is usually right next to the speedometer, but in some performance vehicles it is centered between the meter cluster. As you accelerate, the revolution counter needle will climb up to the & # 39; red line & # 39; while the motor usually shuts off power. You must switch before the needle reaches the red line.
Shifting up: Moving the stick from a lower to a higher gear is called "shifting up". To switch, you must engage the clutch and hold onto the desired gear notch.
Switching back: The reverse of switching. It is when you move the stick from a higher gear to a lower gear.
Double clutch: Drivers will normally disengage the clutch and move the stick directly from one gear to another. This transition is based on synchronization to adjust the rotation speed of the crankshaft to the rotation speed of the drive shaft. To prevent the synchronizer from being used, operators can disengage the clutch to move the stick to neutral, release the clutch pedal and then release it to go from neutral to a new gear. The pause in neutral ensures that the crankshaft and the drive shaft can synchronize.
Gearboxes with double / double clutch: Gearboxes with double or double clutch use two clutches, each with its own set of gears. For example, on a six-speed gearbox, a clutch is responsible for gears 1.3 and 5, while the other manages 2.4 and 6. The advantage of a dual clutch is that the transitions between gears are faster; while one gear is engaged on one link, the other link prepares the next higher or lower gear.
CVT: A CVT is neither a manual nor an automatic transmission. Instead of gears, a CVT relies on a belt and pulley system that offers an infinite number of ratios. In other words, the transmission never switches.
Don't forget to have fun!
We promise that you will inevitably stop dozens of times if you learn how to use a clutch pedal – we did. Don't let it discourage you. Once you get the hang of driving a stick, it becomes second nature and you never have to think about it again. Good luck, have fun and be safe.