Driving a manual car, also called stick shift for the first time can be tricky. It requires a bit more training to handle a manual car than to drive an automatic car. Unlike an automatic transmission, a manual requires the driver to shift gears during driving. In this article, we cover the basics you need to know to start and stop a manual car.

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Key Terms To Know About A Manual Car

Tachometer

On most manual cars, there is a gauge on the dashboard called the tachometer. Tachometers or revolution counters on cars, aircraft, and other vehicles show the rate of rotation of the engine’s crankshaft, and typically have markings indicating a safe range of rotation speeds. This can assist the driver in selecting appropriate throttle and gear settings for the driving conditions. You can use the tachometer to determine the current RPM of the engine. 

Clutch Pedal

The clutch pedal is located on the left side of the driver’s side of the vehicle. Normally, it’s meant to be operated with the left foot while the brake and gas pedal are operated with the right foot. Pushing in the clutch pedal allows you to disengage the current gear and change to a new gear.

Gear Shifter

Located in the central console of your car is the gear Shifter. When you drive a manual car, you need to be skillful in using the gear Shifter to shift between gears and put your vehicle in neutral. You’ll notice that the shifter has a diagram on the top of it. This is sometimes called the “shift pattern” and tells you the location of each gear. Manuals have several different gears ranging from 1 to 5, depending on the type of car (some have a sixth gear). Then, like all cars, they have the “R” for reverse. Putting the gear shift into the center position will put it into neutral.

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How To Start A Manual Car

Make sure the handbrake or parking brake is engaged 

Make sure that your vehicle’s hand brake or parking brake is on to ensure that it doesn’t go anywhere while you are attempting to start your car.

Depress the clutch pedal 

As I said earlier, the clutch pedal in a manual car is usually located on the left side of the driver’s seat. This is to make it easy for you to operate with your left foot. Before you can start the engine for a manual car, you need to first depress the clutch pedal all the way down with your left foot.

Put the transmission in neutral 

Using the gear Shifter, you can put the transmission in neutral position. You will know the gear shift is in neutral once it’s in the center position. 

It’s important to ensure that the car is in a neutral position before attempting to start the engine of a manual car. This is because most drivers tend to leave their gear in first position after parking just in case the brakes give out. If you don’t return the gear to neutral, the car will jerk forward once you attempt to start the engine. This can cause potential damage to the transmission, the car’s exterior and other nearby vehicles. 

Put the key into the ignition 

Put the key into the ignition, but hold on

Start the car 

Start the car once you have your left foot pressing down the clutch pedal. Wait for the engine to start before letting go of the key. Once the engine is running, it is safe to take your foot off of the clutch, but make sure the parking brake is pulled up.

How To Stop A Manual Car

The steps to stopping a manual car is similar to how you start the car. 

  • Get Into A Parking Position

To Safety stop a manual car, it’s best to get into a comfortable parking position

  • Depress the clutch

Once the car is in the right parking position, you should depress the clutch pedal using your left foot until the gear shift is in neutral. Once the gear shift enters neutral position, you can safely lift your foot. 

  • Engage the parking brake

Keep your foot on the brake pedal, until your car’s parking brake is up. Once the parking brake is up, the driver can remove their foot from the brake. The car is now parked.

  • Put the transmission in neutral  
  • Turn off the engine

Once the transmission is in neutral and the parking brake up, you can safely turn off the Engine using the ignition.

CONCLUSION

With these tips, driving a manual car for the first time shouldn’t be difficult anymore. 

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