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Manual Transmission Auto Driving Guide

Learning how to drive an automobile with a manual transmission is a useful skill to acquire, even though the majority of cars sold now are equipped with automatic transmissions. Despite the common misconception that driving a stick shift is harder, it's actually not as complicated as it sounds once you understand what's going on behind the scenes with the gears. The main difference between an automatic transmission and a manual one is the gear ratio. A manual transmission has a one-to-one ratio. The most common types of manual transmission gear ratios that you'll encounter include the following: 3-speed, 4-speed and 5-speed.

Most vehicles come with their own guidelines that explain the difference between gears and when to shift. As a general rule, shift from first to second once you exceed 12 mph; second to third after exceeding 20 mph; third to fourth after exceeding 27 mph; and fourth to fifth after exceeding 30 mph. There are two ways to determine when you are supposed to shift. The most common is by watching the tachometer and shifting as the engine RPM increases. Alternatively, some people prefer to listen to the engine instead. This method takes more practice, but it also allows the driver to keep their eyes on the road.

When driving with a manual transmission, you will use a gear stick to shift gears, which is where the term, "stick shift," comes from. It is also known as a shifter, gear selector and a clutch. Generally, the knob on the top of the gear stick will have a shifting diagram on it; otherwise known as a shift pattern. However, it's better to commit the gear positions to memory so that you don't have to constantly look down to shift. To switch gears, you will press down on the clutch pedal and then move the stick into the correct position. To prevent excessive wear on the vehicle, do not accelerate while you are shifting gears and try to use engine braking when driving down hills.

The clutch is an assembly of plates that work together in order to provide power to the wheels. While slowing down, it's important to remember that you have to disengage the clutch, which is just pushing in the clutch pedal while slightly pressing down on the brake pedal. To come to a complete stop, push in the clutch pedal and apply pressure to the brakes while simultaneously matching the gear with the road speed. For example, you don't want to be at a crawling pace while still in fifth gear. When down shifting, it's recommended to rev the engine up prior to shifting so that the engine speed matches the road speed.

On a final note, driving a vehicle that has a manual transmission takes practice. If you don't feel comfortable learning on your own, then consider taking a basic instruction course; these are often offered by the state. Know ahead of time that you'll probably make silly mistakes, and expect to stall a lot in the beginning! However, once you get the hang of using the clutch and the brake simultaneously, driving gets a lot easier. Fortunately, it's a skill that sticks with you once you master it.


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