4 Tips to Make the Switch from Automatic to Manual Transmission

Want to switch gears and start driving a manual transmission car? Whether you’re a relatively new driver or you’ve already clocked countless miles, it can take some getting used to when it comes learning to navigate a stick. Here are four tips that can make the transition from driving an automatic transmission to driving a manual easier.

1. Learn the basics

While every manual transmission car is somewhat unique, they’re all made of similar types of parts and function based on the same basic principles, regardless of whether you’re driving in Calgary, California or Cameroon. While an automatic car changes gears as you accelerate or decelerate independently, in a manual, the driver performs this function. Manual cars have an extra pedal called a clutch and a corresponding stick shift that allows this changing of gears to take place. Each time you speed up, slow down and start you’ll use the clutch and shift to change gears. The basic method requires these basic things in the following order:

  • Pressing down on the clutch pedal (and turning on the ignition if you’re starting).
  • Shifting into the next gear.
  • Easing the pressure off the clutch pedal while simultaneously pushing down on the gas pedal.

While this isn’t overly complicated in theory, in practice it can take some getting used to before it becomes intuitive. Stalling is common when you’re starting out, which is why it’s best to get in some driving time before you start trying to navigate congested intersections and early evening traffic.

2. Find someone to teach you

While it’s possible to learn how to drive a manual transmission on your own, it can be very reassuring to have someone teach you the ins and outs. When you’re first starting, it may take some time before your confidence and dexterity return to where they were previously behind the wheel. If you don’t have a trusted friend or family member to show you the ropes, many driving schools in Calgary offer lessons that could perform the function of getting you adequately acquainted with driving a stick.

3. The right place to learn

Choosing the right location to get accustomed to driving a manual is crucial for your safety and that of other people. The best tactic is to find a flat parking lot with no foot or vehicle traffic. Industrial areas on the weekend can be great places to learn. Shopping centre parking lots after hours are another possibility.

4. Practice, practice, practice

The more frequently you drive your manual car, the quicker you’ll learn. Starting, stopping, and steep hills will all become intuitive parts of driving given effort and enough time behind the wheel.

Keep your manual transmission in good working order

To avoid problems, regular transmission maintenance with National Transmission will allow you to keep your motor running smooth for years to come. Should you need a clutch repair or transmission parts here in Calgary, we can help with that too. Call us with any questions or keep our number handy for when you need us.

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