I enjoyed a Toyota Corolla for a week in exchange for my thoughts. Everything shared is 100% my own.
While the automatic transmission car is widely popular in North America, it is slowly gaining momentum abroad. With so many of you planning trips overseas I thought I would attempt at giving you tips and give it a go at sharing with you How to Drive a Stick Shift. It is quite easy and a repetitive mechanical process that can shy some away from renting a car in another country. Don’t let the fun stick shift put a damp in your travel plans!
What you need to know before driving a stick shift
Physically the differences you will see in the car are the gear stick and an extra pedal next to the brake. It is called the clutch. Your right foot will still focus on the gas and the brake pedals. Your left foot will take care of the clutch which will need to be pressed in when shifting gears. The gear stick has numbers on it which represent each gear. “R” stands for reverse.
How to Drive a Stick Shift
It is easy. All you need is to understand the process and as much practice as you can get. That is where all the fun will come in. Follow these steps:
- Before you start the car, press the clutch all the way in.
- Then press in the brake and turn the ignition on.
- Holding both pedals in, move the shift stick to first gear.
- Let the brake pedal go
- Press the gas pedal. While you learn to listen to the engine for clues as to when to shift gears, rev the engine to 1500 RPMs. Cool mom tip: If you lower that 1500 RPMs the engine will stall. Not a problem since you can start the process all over again until you get the hang of it.
- Start letting the clutch go slowly as you press the gas pedal. Once the car starts rolling you can let go the clutch completely.
- When you reach more or less 3000 RPMs press the clutch all the way in and move the stick shift into second gear. At 3000 RPMs repeat the process until you go through all the gears.
- To stop, press down the clutch and the break. Move the stick shift to the neutral position.
Cool mom tip: once you get a hang on this, you can use your gearbox to shift down and help the braking process when you need to stop.
Reasons to Enjoy Driving a Stick Shift
I find that driving a stick shift gets you completely into the driving itself. This makes you concentrate on the driving experience and be more in tune with the car and the engine and become one. The result of this? You are more focused on driving. Funny how a stick shift gives me a sense of freedom. I always equate a sports car to a stick shift, the fun of Corolla gives just that to you.
Saving with a stick shift
I heard a car mechanic say once that a manual transmission helps gas mileage and wears down less the brakes. Sounds like savings to me! Talking savings, having a gearbox usually saves $1000 off the MSRP of a car. To drive a super performing car that will give you the joy of experiencing driving a stick, try the Toyota Corolla. In addition to the open road fun, you get all the safety and technology you are accustomed to getting from the brand. Yes, rearview camera and blind spot alerts included!
Tell me have you driven a stick shift? What is your favorite thing about it? If you haven’t, what car would you choose to learn in?
Oh an if you need more car tips, how about learning how to change a flat tire?