How to Drive a Manual Car

by Todd Bowerman

Most new vehicles come equipped with an automatic transmission as a standard, but it is still possible to pick up a manual car, depending on what type of vehicle you want to drive. Cars with a manual, or standard transmission, rely on the driver to shift gears as the vehicle accelerates. Learning to drive a vehicle with a manual transmission can be frustrating at first, but with a little practice will soon seem like second nature.

Place the key in the ignition and press the clutch pedal to the floor mat. Manual transmission vehicles will not start if they are in gear.

Apply pressure to the brake pedal with your right foot. Turn the key to start the ignition.

Release the emergency brake. You will find the release either on the center console or under the driver's side dash, depending on the make and model of your car.

Place your right hand on the stick and slide it into the first gear position -- first gear is the slot all the way to the left and up in most cars.

Slowly release the clutch until you feel it start to catch, and then apply gentle pressure to the gas. The idea is to take off as smoothly as possible.

Give the car more gas as it accelerates, and remove your foot from the clutch.

Gain some speed and then depress the clutch again, while simultaneously releasing the gas.

Shift into second gear, which is directly below first. Slowly release the clutch and give the car gas again to get up to speed.

Repeat this process all the way through fifth or sixth gear, depending on your car's transmission type.

Depress the clutch and hit the brakes at the same time when you need to slow down. Pop the car into neutral while you wait at a light or stop sign, then start shifting from first. Neutral is usually the space in-between up and down on your stick.


  • check It is easiest to learn to drive a manual car on a flat surface.
  • check The more you drive, the more comfortable you will feel with your car's particular quirks. Every vehicle shifts a little differently.


  • close Always set the emergency brake when parking a manual transmission vehicle.

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