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How to Drive a Standard Car

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Driving a standard car is not as hard or daunting as it looks.  I know, you are sitting in the driver seat, or are thinking about it, looking over the gear stick either wondering what is it or have an idea on how it works.  Then as you are sitting there you feel with your left foot a third petal.  There is so much going on that it feels overwhelming but it really isn't.

Benefits

There are a few benefits to owning and driving a standard as opposed to an automatic.  Some of them you may know and some you may not.  

  • They can be cheaper. Because there are fewer people that are driving standards these days they tend to sit at dealerships longer.  When it is just sitting there dealerships are loosing money and usually are willing to work with you more on price. This is especially true with family cars. 
  • Cheaper to fix.  When a transmission breaks down in an automatic the bill can reach upwards to $3,500.  A standard's transmission is basically the clutch which costs in the hundreds to fix.
  • Sports cars.  If you ever want to buy and drive a high-end sports car or even cars like The Subaru WRX STI you are going to need to learn how to drive stick.  Most of them only offer standard transmissions.  Some high-end cars now offer an automatic transmission but are heavier and less fun to drive.
  • Fun to drive.  Driving a standard is so much more fun to drive then an automatic. You are fully engaged while driving. Not only are your feet and hands doing something but you also have to feel the car.  Are you going to rev the RPM's or shift at 2000 RPM's and save on gas.
  • Less likely to be stolen.  Because there are fewer people who know how to drive standard there is less potential an average car thief is going to steal your car.  There is not only less demand but a decent chance they don't know how to drive a standard

How To Drive

With these directions I am assuming you are driving somewhere where you will be safe.  Please don't go out until you are comfortable that you can drive your car.

So you are in the car and wondering how to make it go.  Obviously you have start the it first. In order to start the car you need push the clutch in, the peddle on the left, with you left foot all the way to floor and turn the key. Presto it turned over!  Now that it has started you need to start driving it.

  • Disengage your parking brake.  You don't want to try to drive with it still engaged
  • With you foot still pushing the clutch in move the gear stick into first or reverse depending on which direction you need to go.  To get to reverse depends on your car.  Mine reverse gear is next to first and I have to push down on the gear stick to engage it.
  • Now that it is in gear and your left foot is pushing in the clutch take your right foot off the brake and slowly start giving your car gas.  
  • As you are slowly giving it gas you want to slowly let off the clutch at the same time.  The car will start moving and could start to shudder.  If it starts to shudder you want to either give it a little more gas or push the clutch and try again.  Eventually you will get a feel for how much gas while you disengage the clutch.
  • When you are ready to up shift make sure that you let off the gas and push the clutch in.
  • Like before move the gear stick into the second gear position, let off the clutch as you give it gas again.

 

Everybody stalls their car eventually even people who drive a standard everyday.  There are times I will stall my Jetta; usually at a light or pulling into the drive way. If you stall and your car jerks and shudders don't give up. You will eventually get a feel for the car, how to change gears and possibly even have fun driving  a standard.  Don't give up! 

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Comments

Sep 22, 2014 11:29pm
PhilVecc
Very good article! Standards also seem to be more fuel efficient.
Sep 23, 2014 6:38am
dtroms
Older standards are defiantly more fuel efficient. The newer automatics are now as fuel efficient as the standards because of the refined engineering automatics now have.
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