The manual transmission is on the way out. Even high-performance cars, which in the past sported stick shifts, are now being equipped with pro-racing-style manuals that eliminate the stick and the clutch.
That said, the stick shift hasn’t completely vanished. It’s common in Europe and a decent number of peppy, fun-to-drive cars.
If you’ve never driven a stick shift, it may seem daunting. But it actually isn’t very complicated at all.
With just a little practice, anyone can become competent in a short amount of time.
It is also a very useful skill to have, especially if you enjoy driving. It makes you more alert and in tune with a car.
Plus, a manual transmission can save you money. Base prices for cars with manuals are typically lower than their automatic brothers. And when you choose when to shift, you also control fuel consumption. It could mean fewer trips to the pump.
[And earlier version of the story was written by Travis Okulski.]
1. Sit in the car, get comfortable, and get used to the idea of using your left foot while driving. Ideally, you'll have the car in a flat parking lot.
4. Each clutch is different. An easy way to get to know it is to slowly release it without applying any throttle until you feel the car start to move. Now that the car is creeping, you can slowly release the clutch all the way and apply the gas.
6. When it's time to shift again, slide down the clutch, shift the car to the next gear, release clutch, and repeat.
Now, if you really master the technique, you can heel/toe shift, which means you are braking while shifting. It's complicated. Check out F1 legend Ayrton Senna doing a masterful job below.
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