When it comes to driving a manual car, you can expect a few difficulties at first. However, learning how to drive a manual car is what gives you a better car experience. The position of gears matters a lot and the wrong shift can result in the car spiraling out of control or stalling.
A manual car has 3 pedals: accelerator, brake, and clutch.
Using the accelerator and brake pedals is pretty simple. It’s the clutch that makes it difficult to drive a manual car. The clutch works by cutting off the engine. Most people face difficulty in changing the gear while keeping their attention on the brake and the accelerator. This is why it is important to learn the position of the 5 gears in a manual transmission. Today, most gears have a line diagram drawn at the top so that people don’t have any confusion while changing gears.
Understanding the Gears
To give you a basic understanding of how gears work in a manual car, we have outlined the movements for you below:
- When parked, a car is always in the neutral, which means the gear is in the middle
- To change into 1st gear, shift the stick left and then forward
- To change into 2nd gear, shift the stick backward
- To change into 3rd gear, shift the stick upward to the middle, right and then upward
- To change into 4th gear, shift the stick backward
- To change into 5th gear, shift the stick upward to the middle, right and then upward
To change into reverse gear, bring the car into the neutral gear and then shift the stick to the extreme right and then downward (the reverse gear varies in certain cars).
Steps on How to Drive a Manual Car
- Get into the car fasten your seatbelt
- Insert the key into the ignition and start the engine
- Place your foot on the clutch pedal (on the left) and press it down
- Shift the stick into 1st gear
- Place your foot on the accelerator pedal (on the right) and gently press it down to rev up the engine
- Lift your feet from the clutch pedal slowly until you feel the car vibrating (this vibration is called the “bite point.” It indicates that the clutch plates are falling into place)
- Put down the handbrake and slowly remove the foot from the clutch pedal and simultaneously press on the accelerator pedal
- Keep pressing on the accelerator pedal and raising your foot from the clutch pedal until the car is moving forward and your foot is no longer on the clutch pedal
*Remember, don’t take off your foot from the clutch pedal immediately or the car will jerk forward, closing down the engine. You will see red lights on the dashboard, indicating that the car has stopped involuntarily.
Tips on Avoiding Clutch Damage
Don’t Press the Clutch at Junctions
It can be tempting to hold the clutch in traffic to make a quick getaway but this tactic can wear down the clutch. Always stop and put up the handbrake. Use the clutch only when traffic starts to move.
Don’t Press the Clutch on Hills
When going down a hill, don’t use the clutch to get your car from one point to another. This might cause too much friction between the plates and it’s possible that the clutch plate might get burned.
Don’t Rev Up the Engine Unnecessarily
Don’t press the accelerator pedal too much when you are in traffic or going down a hill. This maneuver destroys the clutch plate’s life and results in too much wear and tear.
These tips will help you keep your car in good shape. The less wear and tear on the clutch plate, the longer your engine will maintain its function. Now that you know the basics of how to drive a manual car, you might have a better chance of passing your driving test with flying colors.