How To Operate Manual Transmissions

Posted onFebruary 23rd, 2017 byFrank

At Frank’s Auto Glass, we service all types of vehicles—new, old; foreign, domestic; automatic, manual—you name it! We don’t just provide Chicago with the best auto glass service around, we also provide some of the best tips for drivers and car owners in Chicagoland!For all of you Chicagoans looking to learn how to drive stick shift, we’ve written a guide to manual transmissions! Check it out below:

Get Yourself A Teacher

Let’s start with our biggest piece of advice: Find yourself a good teacher. You can read all you want about learning to drive a stick shift, but the best thing you can do is find someone to get in the car with you the first time you do it to teach you. They will be able to identify what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong and help correct any problems that arise. That being said, this guide is still a good place to start!

Pick The Right Place & Time to Learn

You’ll want to plan out a route where you can learn to drive stick. Choose a route that has few hills or inclines, as these make learning pretty difficult. Also try to learn somewhere that doesn’t see a lot of traffic or have a lot of stop lights. You won’t want to kill it in the middle of an intersection with a line of cars behind you. Pick a time that doesn’t see much traffic also. The less cars on the road, the better.


Ok, now that you’ve got your teacher in the passenger’s seat with you in the right place at the right time, it’s time to set everything in motion. Start the car, and keep one foot on the brake and the other on the clutch (some manual transmission vehicles require you to have a foot on the clutch to even start the car). The next step will be moving the stick shift into first gear. You’ll want to take your foot off of the brake and just use the clutch at this point. You’ll want to release the clutch slowly until you feel the clutch engage. See if you can get the car to move forward without applying the gas & without stalling the car. The truth is, the car is going to stall the first couple times you try this out. That’s ok! It takes practice.

The Hardest Part

Getting the car into first gear is definitely the most difficult part of driving a stick shift vehicle. Once you can do this, you’re going to be able to figure the rest out pretty quickly. Shifting into subsequent gears gets easier and easier. Once you feel confident doing this, it’ll be time to try your luck starting and stopping on a hill or incline.