How to Drive a Manual Car in the Mountains

by Editorial Team

The mountains are where stick-shift vehicles really shine, giving you full control over shifting for steep climbs and descents. But if you're only accustomed to driving on flat land, you may need a primer before tackling the ups and downs.

Step 1

Pay careful attention to road signs identifying upcoming mountain passes or summits and steep downhill grades.

Step 2

When the road begins to climb, you'll feel the engine decrease in power if you're in a high gear. When this happens, engage the clutch and put the car into the next lower gear.

Step 3

If the engine continues to feel like it's lacking power and drops below about 1,500 RPMs, downshift again. On a very steep grade, you may need to shift several times into consecutively lower gears.

Step 4

Just as you reach the summit, take your foot off the gas. Be sure the car is still in a lower gear.

Step 5

Keep your foot off the gas and let the transmission slow you down. Brake as necessary, but if you find you are braking frequently, downshift into the next lower gear.

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