Can you drive a stick shift? : LUSENET : Xeney : One Thread

Can you drive a car with a standard transmission? Or are you one of those pathetic idiots like me who can only drive an automatic?

How old were you when you learned to drive? And just because this is a really boring topic but I couldn't think of a better one, what was your first car? Do you miss it?

-- Anonymous, February 12, 2000


yes i can drive a stick shift.........learned that way. started driving at age 18 a 1931 model a ford victoria.........miss it

-- Anonymous, February 12, 2000

Yes, I can drive a stick shift. When I was 18, I talked my boyfriend into teaching me and letting me learn with his car. At the time, he was crazy about me and was willing to tolerate me grinding through every gear and killing the car on every hill. I broke up with him shortly afterwards. My next boyfriend painted my apartment before I broke up with him. Oh, and all my cars have had standard transmissions. Which is kind of stupid with all the steep hills in Seattle.

-- Anonymous, February 12, 2000

I absolutely hate to drive, so learning to drive a stick shift was one of those things I long ago decided to put right up there with skydiving and other extreme sports I never plan to try.

Then our van broke with no money to repair, and George was getting ready to head over to the middle east for a few months, and it was learn to drive his standard shift Saturn, or never leave the house again.

So I learned, did a lot of crying and a lot of stalling out, and finally figured it out. And here's the funny part - once I DID learn, I never wanted to go back. I've totally taken over the Saturn, and refuse to drive the (new) mini-van, because I feel much, much more in control of the vehicle in a standard shift. It's a thousand times more responsive an automatic - it actually does what I tell it to do without that little "well, let me think about it" an automatic does before it kicks in.

I do have a suggestion though - get someone OTHER than Jeremy to teach you. I couldn't 'get it' until George left, because I was so busy being afraid of looking stupid or hearing a comment if I made a mistake that I couldn't concentrate.

-- Anonymous, February 12, 2000

Just so you don't feel like the only one, I can't drive a stick shift either. I try to keep that fact quiet since it makes me feel like a helpless female.

My first car was a little red Chevy Cavalier named Matilda. He'd been driven hard by his previous owner and was in pretty bad shape even though he had pretty low mileage. He also had a complex, being a boy named Matilda. I felt a slight twinge when we traded her in for our Outback, but I'm over it now.

This new car actually starts. Even in hot weather. And it has air conditioning. The windows don't fall out of their tracks when they roll down and the seats have no holes. I could go on and on...

-- Anonymous, February 12, 2000

I can't drive a stick shift either & I'm damn proud of it. Any car I buy and/or drive MUST have automatic transmission, power steering, air conditioning, and preferably a CD player. ABS and antilock brakes are optional. Who wants a stick shift anyway? It makes it that much more difficult to eat your McDonald's while you're driving...

-- Anonymous, February 12, 2000

Pathetic idiot! Pathetic idiot over here in this corner! Heck, I only learned to drive two years ago (age at the time - a somewhat sheepish 29). My ex wanted me to learn... put me, aged 18, in the driver's seat for the first time ever on a lonely, narrow, winding, unlit country road in the dark. "You can go faster than that," he said, in that special "you helpless thang" voice.

I put the car into the ditch. We spent three hours getting it out. Those country roads have deep ditches. Oh, that was material for hilarity for years afterwards.

I took driving lessons, for the insurance, but really my husband taught me. He is a marvellous teacher -- anticipates at all the right moments, knew exactly what everything had to do in order to achieve optimum results. It was like a lover comparison test in a nutshell.

I'd like to learn to drive standard; unfortunately, A. is not the man to teach me. He CAN drive a standard, in a manner of speaking -- the big, rough, hulking trucks of the schoolboard maintenance department he worked for for awhile, which don't mind if you're a bit rough on them.

If I can ever persuade my mother to let the family Volvo out of her sight with me at the wheel, my sister may teach me. SHE learned to drive from an ex-racecar driver. You should see her take a corner...

-- Anonymous, February 13, 2000

I can't drive a stick shift, and have no intention of learning. Whenever I buy a car, it has to have all the options...automatic, ac, power everything....

My first "car" was a '67 Chevy Pickup. It was a real piece of junk. It broke down at least once a week. The owner of the local service station gave me a free tow once because he told me that I had been towed so often, he felt that I had personally paid off his tow truck (I was not amused).

-- Anonymous, February 13, 2000

Yeah, I can drive a stick. The car I've had for the past 6 years is a stick shift. I learned to drive on an automatic when I was 15, and my first car was an automatic. That one was totalled when a tractor trailer drove me off the road one night and kept on trucking!

My dad found the car I have now and had me take a look at it. It was a stick shift, and he said the wroooong thing: "Well, I don't know if you should have a standard or not." It was about the time I had been through some explicit sexist situations and that made me determined that I'd learn. (He never would have said that to my much younger male cousins...) So I did. It actually wasn't so bad. I just drove around with him for awhile; had a bit of trouble and kept stalling out. We went out on this back road and I kept moving from stopped to first gear. All of a sudden, I *felt* the clutch do the right thing, and I've never had a problem since.

I don't know if I could teach anyone, because it really was just something I felt rather than thought about. I also feel like I have a lot more control over my car than when I'm driving an automatic. I won't say I'd never go back to an automatic, but I'd have to think about it.

In Europe, automatics are still few and far between from what I've been told, and most people learn to drive a stick. I'm glad I know how; I recognize that the reason I know how is because the only car in my price range that we found that year was a stick, but I still think that women who are afraid to learn to drive a stick are being girlie-girls. ;-) Find someone who's patient and willing to teach you. I convinced my mother to make sure she knew by using the old "what if you needed to get someone to the hospital and the only car available was a stick shift?!" Kinda' like Beth's situation (but not quite.)

Course.. then there's my friend who barely drives at all... I have no patience for that. I think it's irresponsible. Again, that's probably my background, having grown up in a rural area where it was expected that everyone drive and drive well... Anyway...enough of my opinions...

-- Anonymous, February 13, 2000

Oh, absolutely, and I would have been happy to drive yours for you! I'm driving an automatic these days, but that's just cause the hip replacement surgeons said it would help not wear my left hip out as quickly. I've been driving a stick since I was 16. Daddy wouldn't let me get my license unless I could drive EVERYTHING. I cried a lot, but I learned, and I'm glad, since I spent a winter driving a truck. I big truck, like a U-Haul, only bigger, with a stick and granny low and all that. It'll be ok. Want stick driving lessons?

-- Anonymous, February 13, 2000

In 1993, I was a recent college grad sharing the second family car (automatic) with my high school aged younger brother. The sharing thing wasn't working well, so I bought an '85 Chevette with a stick shift, only I didn't know how to drive a stick. My dad drove it to a big parking lot and then tried to coach me on how to drive it, but he wasn't a patient teacher. My younger brother didn't know how to drive a stick either, but he had some sort of intuitive understanding of how to watch the speedometer and to listen for the "vroom vroom" sounds for clues on when to shift. I started getting it. Hills were the hardest challenge. I was filled with fear for myself and others when I had to stop at hills for lights and stop signs, but I finally got it. After a week, I was a pro and I drove it to work every day from the Virginia suburbs to Washington DC. I will buy cars with stick shifts from now on. I feel at one with the car when I can control the gears. It feels like more of a partnership. Strange, but true for me.

-- Anonymous, February 13, 2000

I once had to drive an old Ford pickup with an on-the-column H- pattern shift, a "binary" clutch (about 1/8 of an inch between all the way in or all the way out), and a MANUAL CHOKE. I lurched and smoked my way down thirty miles of Maine backroads from Vassalboro to Farmington. Amazingly, only one police officer pulled me over to smell my breath. I also drove a manual 1984 Chevette for ten years. I have paid my dues, and drive only automatics now. I feel put upon when someone asks me to drive a standard.

-- Anonymous, February 13, 2000

due to my wife's antipathy to stick shift trannys, i felt like the lone defender of the fort. i notice that many of the answers have spoken very favorably about the sticks. i always feel more in control with a stick shift and i think that it is a more positive connection to the drive wheels. and am particularly happy to see such a positive respose from the women. yeah !


-- Anonymous, February 13, 2000

I can't drive a stick shift. I wish I could, but people are always muttering something about not wanting me to permanently damage their cars. Let me tell you why I want to learn: a few years ago on New Year's Eve, I was riding in a car with a friend of mine and found out, in mid-drive, that she'd been tripping. I wanted to take over right there or at least drive on the way back from her house, but she had a standard and I hadn't the first idea how to drive it. I don't ever want to be in that position again.

I didn't learn how to drive until I was 17. My dad thought I was too clumsy to be trusted, even with an automatic. Since I totalled his car shortly afterward -- a perfectly nice 78 dark-green Ford Fairmont -- he may have been right. We were sued for $500K by the other driver for medical damages. After that my parents pulled me off their insurance and would not trust me with their cars, and I didn't drive again until I bought my own car at age 21. They wouldn't let me drive their vans or SUVs until very recently, either, because I was "too short to handle them properly."

Honestly, I am not as clumsy as all this makes me sound.

-- Anonymous, February 13, 2000

Yep, I can drive stick. I learned on one -- actually ruined a good deal of the clutch in my dad's VW learning, and somehow he managed to grit his teeth and not say anything about it. Perhaps he was considering the fact that I was one of the few people in history to actually _fail_ Driver's Education in California.

I prefer driving stick because, as Lynette said, you get a whole lot more control than with an automatic. Unfortunately for me, our current lifestyle pretty well requires the gargantuan 4WD pickup truck, and that only comes in automatic. So that's what I'm stuck with for the forseeable future.

Oh, first car: A 1974 VW beetle with a dress scheme called something like "California Bug" (gold paint with special hubcaps and a sun roof). I hot rodded it, and later it got towed and junked when I was out of state and couldn't come back to rescue it. Sad at the time, but I've owned so many cars since that I'm well over it.

-- Anonymous, February 13, 2000

I don't drive at all, but somehow I manage not to feel hapless about it. Nope, I feel like I'm doing the world a favor by not driving, and wish more people would stop driving as well. Every day I see people driving so *badly*, I am sure that I could do much better than *that*, so it's not a matter of thinking I can't do it. I just plain don't want to, and so I haven't done it since I was 17.

-- Anonymous, February 13, 2000

I was forced to learn to drive a stick shift. When I was in high school my parents had a nice, leased Corsica with an automatic transmission, and they had a little used Dodge Omni with a standard transmission that was supposed to be for me to use. Unfortunately, no one got around to teaching me to drive the Omni until after I had wrecked the Corsica (long story...). My dad's method of teaching me to drive a standard was to put me in the car on our steep dirt driveway, show me where the gears were, then get out and lerave me to my own devices. I stalled on a hill, then apparently tried to start again in second gear. Burned out the clutch. After that my mom tried to teach me, but after having had a bad accident, any time the car felt even slightly out of my control I would panic. (As she tells it, I would be driving along just fine, then abuptly start having hysterics.) Eventually I just got sick of bumming rides everywhere, and I just took the car out by myself and learned it. After that, I loved it. I haven't driven a standard in years, but once the initial stress of learning it was over, it was a piece of cake, really. I preferred it to an automatic.

-- Anonymous, February 13, 2000

Yes I can drive a stick shift. But actually I can't drive at all.

I don't have a driver's license. I have failed the driving portion of the driver's test no less than 5 times.

Not because I can't drive -- I _can_ drive.

But I am a nervous wreck every time I go to take that test.

I also turn into a nervous wreck when driving on a road with other cars.

So, yeah I can drive a stick shift. I can drive a car.

But I can't actually drive anywhere because I'm such a basket case unless the road is empty.

I blame it all on driver's ed and those stupid road kill movies that scared the living daylights out of me.

-- Anonymous, February 13, 2000

Yesm I can drive a stick shift. In fact, when I went looking for a new car, one of my "must haves" on the car was a manual transmission. They're much more fun to drive. =)

I've driven passenger vans and mini wheelchair-accesible buses. I've driven 30', 35' and 40' long transit buses. I've driven 40' long, 102" wide, 11' tall tour buses. (Those are FUN! Tag axles, a low smooth ride, air ride suspension...)

I suppose that my pervious jobs as a bus driver have made me a non-typical driver... But I'm terrible as a passenger, always clinging to the dashboard and stomping on the non-existant passenger brake. =)

My first car was a 1985 Toyota Tercel. He's gone now, living with someone else. He has a tribute page at Meet Ol' Blue. I learned how to drive a stick shift in him, and the clutch survived. *grin*

she's actual size

-- Anonymous, February 13, 2000

I learned to drive on a 1967 Dodge Polara (the 'LoveBoat' ) but I love manual transmissions and feel so much more "cool" then all the automatic drivers whenever I get into my truck. I had been going out with a guy for some time and wondered whether or not he was the one for me, but couldn't seem to make up my mind. He bought a brand new Corvette and suddenly I knew it wasn't meant to be... He got it with an automatic transmission! What a waste!!

-- Anonymous, February 13, 2000

Yes! I can drive a stick! I may still have hill-start issues, but dammit I can make it go!

Actually, okay here's the deal. I learned how to drive at age 12 at a local Mr. Christie cookie factory parking lot, in a semi-automatic Volkswagon bug. It had a shift, but not a clutch. Very fun. I had a blast.

Then it was automatic all the way. My first car, or should I say the first car I borrowed from my parents, was an old Ford Escort wagon. Man, that thing took *forever* to pick up a speed, and if it had to go up a hill at the same time, just forget about it. Pull over, let everyone pass you and then take another crack at it.

Then I drove a Mistubishi Starion - stick. My (now ex) step-dad taught me how to drive standard, and man, he's a shitty teacher. It was horrible, but I learned. That was a kicky little car.

Then I bought my first car. With *tons* of parental pressure - you know, "If you want your Dad to fix it, you have to buy something he knows how to fix." Of course, dear old step-dad vows that he will *never* fix anything but north american cars. Anyway - at the last possible second I ended up with a Celebrity station wagon. 2 tons of brown ugliness. I called it "Big Mama". Now, considering I'm ... 5 feet tall, well... big mama and I were quite the pair.

But that's all over. I just bought myself a '95 Volkswagon Jetta, a five speed, and I don't miss any of the previously mentioned cars *one little damn bit*.

Well... one good thing about the big ol' wagon : if i hit anything, it didn't really matter. Stuff would fall off, and I'd laugh and toss it in the back. I think if something fell off of the Jetta I might very well cry.

-- Anonymous, February 13, 2000

I was TER EE FIED to try and drive a stick until about 3 years ago. Down at the place I used to work they had a beat up old Nissan that we used to haul plants around and basically it was an old horse work truck. I was embarrassed to learn in front of people before and down there at work there was usually just myself so I learned. And now my main vehicle is a stick shift. I'm VERY proud that I learned how to drive one.

-- Anonymous, February 13, 2000

yes, not only can I drive stick shift (is that the right grammar?), having learned at age 17, but I have a bit of a trauma about driving automatic cars. You're right, you see, that in Europe automatic cars are looked on as, well, one step up from the three- wheeled robin reliant. sorry...

a couple of years back I was visiting Canada and because my own car is lefthand drive I got to be the driver, and of course it had to be an automatic. Every day I'd have to get into the car and repeat my mantra: "Left foot on the floor, drive on the right.". I was going good guns until one trip during which I'd spent three hours on the motorway, fine, then into suburbia. I was one block away from the friends we were supposed to be visiting, coming up to the turn and naturally went to change gear to make it round. Yes, I stomped on the brake and caused a three car pile-up. Thankfully, I think my Scottish accent helped placate the rather upset and bemused crashees behind...

-- Anonymous, February 14, 2000

I learned to drive when I was 14, got my license at 15 (this is in North Dakota). My first car was my beautiful tan '85 Pontiac Grand Am inherited from dad. Automatic transmission since that's all dad drove with us kids around. Fast forward about 6-7 years to getting married, having my son and then expecting a cross-country move to metro Boston, where our only car would be our little stick-shift Neon.

Thus started the crash-course with a stick on my IL's beat up 3-on-the-tree Ford pickup. Kind of got the hang of it enough (at least so I could start practicing on the Neon). Got through the Ohio Turnpike tolls,too without killing it and then saw traffic in the Boston area and refused to even attempt driving for a full year.

Finally, I felt comfortable driving and took the plunge. Avoided all routes that involved a hill though for another 3 months. But I love it now and actually am almost dreading the day we get an automatic transmission "family" car. I agree with everyone who says it gives more control... makes the driving alot more fun.


-- Anonymous, February 14, 2000

You bet your boots, by gosh and golly! I learned in a Ford Pinto, in the pre-non-explosive days, and on my first or second time out, my Mom very patiently sat in traffic in the middle of an intersection as I stalled it about nineteen times in a row, trying to start it up in 3rd gear. She finally had enough and pointed out my error.

My brother and I both learned to drive a stick in that Pinto; we totalled it three times (we had the kind of insurance where they wouldn't pay to fix it if there was more than $1,000 worth of repairs; the shop did a visual external estimate, got approval to fix it, then hey, look at this! another $800 worth of repair work). My brother once lost it going around a turn and bounced all four corners off of one guard rail. Every single part on the outside of the car needed to be replaced. The guard rail was toast.

Then, once we got the safety panel installed and were no longer in danger of it blowing up, we never got into an accident again. Go figure.

-- Anonymous, February 14, 2000

can't drive one.

am traumatised whenever i try to learn. goes back to the fact that my mom was the one who made the first attempt at teaching me. she's a fine teacher, but she had a neck injury when i was 13. and even years later, the jouncing that is part of the learning process hurt her. so even now that it's my friends that make the occassional stab at teaching me, i'm still terrified that i'm going to hurt someone.

i like my automatic car. point and aim.

-- Anonymous, February 14, 2000

Yes i driveI can drive a stick, but my wife is the one that shames me. We bought a new car in '91 with manual tranny. We sold it w/ 170K miles and the original clutch. That lady can drive. Best recommendation on teaching or learning a stick, is to go out on aq nice dirt road or open grass field. Its much easier on the tranny. Have probasbly taught ten people over the years, wife isnt one of them. I learned on a tractor, so after that anythi8ng is a piece of cake.

-- Anonymous, February 14, 2000

Yes, I can drive a stick, though it's been years since I've driven one. I finally learned some time back when a boyfriend and I were going on a car trip and it seemed like a good idea. I hate driving a stick, particularly the clutch. Particularly on hills.

I learned to drive when I was 17 - I was terrified of it and didn't want to ever drive, even though we lived in LA. My mother was tired of driving me places and cut me no slack about learning and driving. I was phobic about driving for many years, until I actually had to drive for a job, then doing it regularly got me past my fears. Now I like to drive.

My first car was an '85 Chevy Sprint that I inherited from my dad in '86. I was 31 years old, but I'd lived in San Francisco for years and didn't really need a car. I also had friends and boyfriends who had cars for trips outside the city. I just moved it from parking place to parking place for several years, till I got a job outside the city and became a hard core commuter for a while. Now I work about ten minutes away from my job and am contemplating biking to work.

I don't miss that car much - I put about a million miles on it. It served me well and died a good death. A Sprint only has three cylinders, though. My Civic feels like a muscle car compared to it.

-- Anonymous, February 14, 2000

Our only car is a stick. I don't think I want anything else. I love it--unless I'm in stop&go traffic.

I learned how to drive--auto--at 15, license at 16. My best friend taught me how to drive a stick at 17. We used her honda civic station wagon--it was SO forgiving. We went to the big parking lot at the high school when it was empty. My "final exam" was to make it off the hill, with stop light, at the exit. I only stalled out once there.

We've been in Chicago for over 4 years now and I still refuse to commute using the car. Public transportation only for me! I'm a good driver, but, as I said before, I hate driving a stick in slow traffic. Plus my eyesight makes it hard for me to drive at night. Trains are the best for me.

-- Anonymous, February 14, 2000

I'm one of the pathetic ones too, I guess :) My husband tried to teach me how to drive a standard, but I kept stalling trying to get our of frist and was afraid I was going to destroy his car, so that was the end of that. I've never bothered to try to learn again since then.

I started driving when I was 15 1/2, the earliest legal age in Massachusetts. Since we have lovely highways and downtown Boston to drive in, this is why I've never had a standard. Too much trouble with stop and go traffic pretty much all the time.

The first car which was truly mine was a 1991 Mercury Tracer. I loved that car, despite the fact that the air conditioning broke down every summer without fail, costing me over $200 each time to repair it. The gas gauge didn't work, so I had to depend on the travel odometer to tell when I needed gas. It lost two hubcaps. I had it for seven years. I still get nostalgic for it, but I think I like my new car better.

-- Anonymous, February 14, 2000

Like Katherine at my age, I not only can't drive a stick shift (we call them manuals down here in Oz), but I can't drive. She learned at 29. i hope to beat that and learn at 28. I have *been* learning for several years - unfortunately that has mostly meant one lesson every few months (with my partner who's surprisingly good, if not perfect), by which time I usually have to start again with how to get the thing moving.

Last week however, we had my mother-in-law's car, which is an automatic. I am in love. I MUST have a car like that (not only automatic but with working airconditioning and stereo) - it is soooo much easier than driving a stick shift. Especially those hill starts at a round about with some idiot who can't read L plates sitting just inches behind you. Man that sux. I *am* determined to persevere however.

-- Anonymous, February 15, 2000

I learned to drive in England at 13 (sssh don't tell). This meant shifting with my left hand etc etc. Did just fine according to my cousin although he was smart enough not to let me off his farm while I was behind the wheel. THEN I moved back to the States, right hand shift land. I think the previous experience ruined me for life but I CAN NOT drive a right hand shift. It's kind of weird as I am right handed. I would rather have a manual transmission car as they are cheaper to buy and easier to maintain however, I just can't drive 'em.

-- Anonymous, February 15, 2000

I still have flashbacks of sitting in the back of my brother's red Toyota Celica with my Dad and sister in the front. My Dad was yelling at us because my sister kept making the car lurch forward and I kept giggling.

Amazingly enough, we both learned to drive a stick without being disowned by our Dad.

My first car, Howie, was a gold 1978 Honda Accord. Howie had a surplus of character. :) One of his most endearing quirks was that whenever we would go over a speed bump the radio would turn off. I then needed to find another speed bump in order to make the radio work again.

I loved that car. Unfortunately I killed him on Hwy 99 and that was the end of poor Howie....

-- Anonymous, February 15, 2000

I still have flashbacks of sitting in the back of my brother's red Toyota Celica with my Dad and sister in the front. My Dad was yelling at us because my sister kept making the car lurch forward and I kept giggling.

Amazingly enough, we both learned to drive a stick without being disowned by our Dad.

Every car I've had until my most recent one has had a standard transmission. My first car, Howie, was a gold 1978 Honda Accord. Howie had a surplus of character. :) One of his most endearing quirks was that whenever we would go over a speed bump the radio would turn off. I then needed to find another speed bump in order to make the radio work again.

I loved that car. Unfortunately I killed him on Hwy 99 and that was the end of poor Howie....

-- Anonymous, February 15, 2000

Gabriel and Judy, I think it's great that you choose not to drive. I wish more people were like you. I love taking the train, bus and my bicycle; I always did before taking this wonderful (but inconveniently located) job, and after this job I'll go back to it, too. (The local bus service disappeared after taking the job :-( .)

When my wife and I first lived together we had our own cars, and I tried to teach her to drive my stick. I thought she was doing great, but sometimes during stress people can read a whole lot of meaning into simple things like a sigh. So I'm not sure if she thought she was doing as well as I thought she was. Anyway, she hates driving, on any kind of transmission. I just don't want to drive.

To be able to commute from the City to my middle-of-nowhere job in the boonies, I bought a motorbike. I already knew how to do stick, but a motorcycle transmission is a whole new animal! I was even considering getting a scooter since they have automatic transmissions. But after a month or so of avoiding hills (in San Francisco? Ha!) I got the hang of manipulating all hands and feet and remaining upright.

So not only do I drive "Car Stick" I now can do "Motorbike Stick".

Hopefully, though, I'll soon be able to go back to taking the bus/train/bicycle.

-- Anonymous, February 15, 2000

I can drive a stick shift. I really miss my last car, in part because she was a stick. Once I got the hang of it, it was a lot more fun. However, when I was learning to drive, I couldn't get the hang of a manual transmission at all. But my first car ('82 Accord) had a tachometer, so when her transmission started to go I could see when it needed to shift. After that, I understood how the transmission worked, and it was just a matter of practice. (Yes, I'd had the whole workings of a car explained to me many many times, but Jeremy and my dad just aren't able to explain such things in a way that I am able to pay attention and understand).

And I miss my first car a lot, even though she had waaaay too much personality. I miss my last car more though, because of the car itself (I could fit so much stuff in it), the fact it was my first _reliable_ car, and that (unlike the slow demise of my first car) I lost her in a crash.

-- Anonymous, February 15, 2000

I learned on a stick, and if I can possibly manage it, I'll never own a car (one with an internal-combustion engine, anyway) that doesn't have a stick. What's the fun of driving a car with a manual transmission?

I was shocked to discover the other day that my girlfriend can't drive a stick; apparently, every car her family ever owned when she lived at home, even her father's mid-life-crisis Corvette, had an automatic (and I'm sorry, but a sportscar with an auto is just plain wrong), so she just never learned. When the weather improves and the ice gets off the roads around here (here being Wisconsin, so I'm thinking like April), we've agreed that I'll teach her and rectify this tragic omission from her education.

-- Anonymous, February 16, 2000

I learned to drive when I was almost 18. On a stick shift. I paid extra for it in drivers training. Instead of the driving school's Chevy Cavalier, I got to drive the owner's wife's Mustang.

I took my driving test in my mother's Mazda, also a stick. I got 100.

I don't think I'd ever drive an auto... I think I'd get too comfortable with it. Driving a manual keeps my mind on the car and not elsewhere.

My first car was a '72 Bug, and I do not miss it. Mainly because I don't want it coming back since the last time I saw it it was in impound

-- Anonymous, February 16, 2000

I can't drive a stick shift. I've never really thought about learning, either. I don't drive that much anymore. I walk to the trolley stop every day and only drive on the weekend.

I learned to drive when I was 17 or 18, over the summer.

My first car? A Datsun 210 I named Ralph, after my first boyfriend. I loved that car, even though it didn't have much power. I probably could have kept it forever, but it was seriously rusting out and probably wouldn't have passed the next state inspection.

-- Anonymous, February 16, 2000

I learned a couple years ago with my current car, a BMW Z3. When I went to test drive it, I told the salesman I couldn't drive a stick and he took me to a big parking lot. I never got out of second gear, but I knew I could learn. My the-boyfriend drove it home, I practiced all weekend til I got it. I'm glad I learned. I can't believe I never knew how before.

-- Anonymous, February 16, 2000

I learned how to drive on a stick shift. When I was 17, my dad got me a car.. that was stick shift. So I had to either learn to drive it or not use a car.

My dad was not the best teacher ever, for some reasons that people have mentioned (don't try learning to drive stick shift from someone who has no patience and who tends to swear a lot when things don't go his way). But, I learned anyway. At first it sucked and I stalled out the car in traffic a lot, but after about a month of regular driving, I had no problems.

I hate the little automatic I'm driving now. It was my boyfriend's originally, and now it's "ours". It sucks. When I'm going up a hill and losing power, I have to stomp on the gas, and it makes a sound like a dying child and kicks into "overdrive". I would kill to be able to downshift. Sigh.

The next car will definitely be stick.

-- Anonymous, February 16, 2000

I've driven sticks for 20 years now, and I don't like automatics. Of course, I've driven some cars where the clutch didn't want to go in; and where one of the gears (usually, 2nd) went "stealth" on me from time to time. Still, I like the manual transmission.

It really does give you control over the vehicle. I know people who buy suburban assault vehicles with all-wheel drive (a substitute for 4-wheel drive), who cannot do half as well as someone who knows what he or she is doing with a 5-speed manual transmission on a 2-wheel drive car.

I learned to drive in Georgia when I was 16. I couldn't drive my Dad's car--he had a large Fury or a New Yorker, since he traveled a lot as a salesman. No, I learned using my Mom's 4-cylinder, 1963-model, 2-speed automatic Pontiac Tempest. It had a lot of steel. It looked like a box on wheels. And, it COULD get up to the interstate speed (uniformly 70 mph then), but only after you wound that rubber band up extra taut.

I drove automatics for a long time, before I discovered the 5-speed. Starting with my 1985 Honda Accord, I've not switched since.

-- Anonymous, February 16, 2000

I learned to drive when I was 15 - learner's permit. My grandmother taught me to drive. She was the only one with enough patience.

Mu first car, and HOW I miss it, was a 1969 Mercedes Benz (this was in 1987). It was Mercedes Blue. It was a total beater and was louder than a rock concert. It used Regular Leaded gas. Ridiculous! I loved it so much I drove it for nearly two years until it finally broke down one too many times. My dad even got me a tag that said ALSBENZ. Love!

When I got my first NEW car, I wanted a Ford Explorer. This was 1994. I went to price them and the sticks were so much cheaper that I just decided to get one even though I didn't know how to drive one. A friend in college taught me and I got the thing and have been driving a stick ever since. Everyone should know how to drive both - in case you're ever in a situation where you have to drive someone else's car.

-- Anonymous, February 18, 2000

i was at a wedding, and one of the brides mades had to ride in the limo, and needed someone to drive her brand new BMW Z3 to teh reception because she needed to drive it home but couldnt drive it there. so she asks me to drive it, i mind you i have only driven a stick once before and it was a neon so it was nothing like a BMW. anyways i got up the nerve to drive it and i took it to the reception with only one stall. so yeah i can drive a stick.

-- Anonymous, October 22, 2000

Yes, I can drive a stick-shift car. My car, a 1986 Toyota MR2 has a 5-speed transaxle. As far as driving a right-hand drive car with a stick-shift, I wouldn't know. I've never on the right side of a car. I'd have to learn on an automatic. Plus, being right-handed myself, it would be quite a challenge.

-- Anonymous, October 22, 2000

Guys, this forum has been closed for months. Please go to ThreeWay Action if you have anything else you'd like to talk about.

-- Anonymous, October 22, 2000

No I can't drive stick, but that will change. I will eventually learn to drive stick and master it, or die trying. Tonight, on Febuary 18, 2001, 6:54pm, I tried driving "STICK". My dad had gone away on vacation taking the only Automatic in the house. I have a job but, my hours are cut really bad and I'm currently looking for a new job. But I digress. My dad took the only Automatic and I'm stuck home alone on a Sunday night with none of my buddies to hang out with. The only way to get to one of my friends house's is by car. Tired of being inside, I make an attempt to drive a 1993 Jeep Wrangler. I know how to shift and stop and start, the hard part is getting started and when I do get started, it's even harder starting up again on a public street. I took the jeep out and after stalling three times at a stop sign with another Truck behind me, finally I get started and park on the next available street. After parking, my heart is racing and I'm shivering, (1) Cus I'm scared to death and (2) cus the heat doesn't work all that well. ( Way to go dad, you sure know how to pick'em.) I finally pull myself together thinking that I've gotten this far, why not go the distance? I thought I could, before getting out onto the main street I pull into an abandoned parking lot and turn the car off. I'm too scared to go any further, I pull myself together again, I put the Jeep in reverse, turned around and went home. The amazing thing is I'm able to get back to my house without stalling. With this in my head, I keep thinking that I might be able to drive to my friends house. But there's that part of me that says this "thats on a less crowded street, once you get on that main road you had beter know what you are doing or your liable to get into an accident." So for tonight, I'm going to forget about driving anywhere, I'm just happy that I made an attempt, realized that I'm not ready yet and was able to get back home without hitting anybody or stalling. But I will learn how to drive stick, when my dad comes back I'll have him come with me and give me a few pointers, having an adult in the car with me makes me feel a lot less nervice thasn I would be by myself. I will return, and when I do I will have learned "STICK."

-- Anonymous, February 18, 2001

Good thing, too- anyone named "Spike" should really know how to drive a stick. Really.

-- Anonymous, February 21, 2001

I just got a stick-shift car. I can drive it in a circle on a parking lot, I can drive it back and forth in my drive way, Will I ever be able to drive across town... who knows!? LOL

-- Anonymous, February 21, 2001

Instead of trying to learn to drive a stick shift, you should all take the time to visit Twin City Gift Shop at

Advertising on the internet is ridiculously expensive which drives up prices for the consumer. Instead, spread the good deals you find at our store by word of mouth and allow us to continue passing the discounts on to you!

-- Anonymous, February 21, 2001

Bwaha! That was almost as amusing as when I found the $12 in my coat pocket this morning.

-- Anonymous, February 22, 2001

YES! I drive stick! And I am so damn happy! The main influences towards learning this were a) growing up, I spent my summers with relatives in Europe, and everyone there drove stick b)here, all the cute boys got very impressed when a girl said she drove stick. So I decided a llllllooooooooonnnnnnnggggggggg time ago that it was on my list of things I must know how to do/learn to do. And I did. However, I'm just getting over my "hill" fears - and living in Seattle, that's quite the accomplishment. Usually I just avoid the hills altogether, since the worst ones are at a 50 degree angle or something insane like that. However I've recently noticed that I'm getting pretty damn okay with it all. For Fellow Seattle-ites : I actually made it all the way up Seneca (two red lights) without stalling the other day. WOOHOO!

I learned to drive in the oddest of autos : a semi-automatic Volkswagon Bug. It had a shifter but no clutch. I tell people about it now and they think I'm crazy. Oh and I was 12. A Mr. Christie company parking lot in Toronto.

My first car was a ... Ford Escort wagon - beige. Ugly. Didn't like hills. No, I don't miss it. I heart my jetta now :)

-- Anonymous, February 23, 2001

Oh, yeah, sure I can. Back in Beijing, China 90% of automobiles are manual transmission so driving school use manual also. And I want to get up to the top license so the training vehicle is a full size nose-less truck, with a shape like ISUZU and a size of U-Haul 19-footer. The even trickier thing is that you must learn "double-clutch" shifting if you want to get your truck license. I suppose that they want you to baby the trucks. It takes quite some nerve to learn it but finally I came out of driving test with flying colors.

One more thing to mention: half of the learning part is learning to maneuver this truck within 6 poles(supposed to be a twin garage), with a 30cm margin each size when you park inside. It is pretty hard to start with but not too difficult once you catch it.

When I came to US I bought a used stick-shift MZD. But I did not know that it will be so quirky: its clutch is way too binary, before I have never driven cars with such a sensitive clutch. The first night I sit in the dark company parking lot for an hour and dreaded to death. Finally I gathered all my nerve and staggered the thing on to street. It belches, lurches, jerks, but finally I am home, safely. After another week I am already proficient.

Anyway, be prepared if you want to learn stick-shift, but it rewards.

-- Anonymous, February 26, 2001

I finally learned how to drive a standard 10 yrs. ago. (My husband would disagree, but he's not here at the moment ;-)

I will never switch back to an automatic. I LIKE HAVING CONTROL!

My first car? A 1971 AMC Gremlin - man, was that fun to drive - even if it was an automatic. (I got really mad when someone stole my gas cap with the cute little gremlin on it. grrr.)

-- Anonymous, February 26, 2001

I learned to drive on a stick shift when I was 15 1/2. Dad doesn't believe in automatics, though he finally relented a few years ago and let my mom get one. It only took 30 years.

To get my driver's license here in California, I was required to take 3 sessions of "driver training," provided at my high school. It was the first time I'd ever had to drive an automatic. I put the car in Drive, and then I said.. "Now what?" I couldn't believe that was all there was to it.

Whenever I have to drive an automatic now, I find myself putting my foot down on the non-existant clutch when I need to stop the car.

-- Anonymous, February 26, 2001

I learned to drive stick when I bought a stick shift car in 1994. I debated whether or not to get a stick (and learn how to drive one since I didn't know how when I bought the car) for a long time. Well, I debated it until my friend kindly pointed out to me that I had to learn to drive stick because "you never see James Bond jump into a car, look down and say "uh, I can't drive stick."" That and it seemed like something I should just know how to do.

I learned in about two days and loved it. I just had to go back to automatic since the SO who just learned to drive (at 28!) can't drive stick. Even though it takes less effort to drive automatic, I miss stick.

-- Anonymous, February 26, 2001

I can drive a stick. Not that well or efficiently yet, but I'm getting the hang of it. I've got a 1997 Subaru Impreza. The clutch is super soft, but the idle speed is too slow. I've driven 500 miles so far, and all the time I've been giving it gas before I start to release the clutch. BAD IDEA!!! I hope my clutch isn't too burned out at the far it still feels good. Hopefully it will last a few years before I have to drop $450 on a new clutch plate...

I'm kind of paranoid at times driving stick, I guess because I'm not used to it yet. However, the benefit of quick acceleration and nice handling are a plus. Stop and go is a pain in the ass.

Its a love/hate relationship at the moment, and its beginning to blossom into bliss.

My first car was this tiny 1987 Hyundai Excell. It had 80 horsepower NEW, so 13 years later it was in pretty bad shape. I beat the hell out of it. Power slides in rain, donuts in snow, used it as a trampoline...eventually gave it away to charilty for a tax write-off. I loved my little red Hyundai...wonder where it is now...

-- Anonymous, March 01, 2001

Yes, I can drive a stick shift, and I will never own a car without it. Both cars I have owned were/are stick shifts and I'm glad they were/are.

I was taught by a friendly co-worker using his 1994 Mercury Tracer wagon in a shopping mall parking lot. I'm proud to say that although I stalled a lot at first, I never grinded gears! A few days afterwards I had my very first car to play with and within days I was shifting without having to think about it.

I love revving the engine to the point I want it to rev. I love the feeling of control. It's very pleasurable. I love downshifting as I brake before a corner.

When I get into an automatic equipped car, I feel a little helpless. Like a passenger, not a driver. And I start looking for the clutch while the other people in the car look at me as if I was crazy.

-- Anonymous, March 09, 2001

I preferred driving a stick until I moved to the land of hills and curves. I was always pretty good at going after stopping on a hill, but it only takes one time of rolling into the person behind you to make your insurance skyrocket.

I learned to drive when I was 12. My grandparents had a farm, so I was driving tractors of all things. My first real car of my own was actually a pick-up truck almost as old as I was--a 1970 Ford, white with a handsome green stripe down the side. If my parents only knew the kind of attention I got driving that thing, they might have given me the Datsun sooner.

I feel old now.

-- Anonymous, March 09, 2001

I'm a 20 year old college chic and my mom just bought me my first car. I got my license when I was 17 but had shared the same 1992 Ford Tempo (automatic) crapper with my mother and sister for the past 3 years. My sister went to grad school and took the car with her, my mom got remarried and her and my stepdad bought a new car together, and I was left dependent on everyone I knew to get rides to wherever it is I had to go. So, not even 2 weeks ago, when I was home for spring break and we picked up a 1998 Chevy Cavalier 2 Door Coupe, RED, sporty looking - only 41K - and it's a stick shift. Prior to last Tuesday, I had never sat behind the wheel of a stick shift car; but I though "how hard could it be?" That night, my stepdad took me to my old highschool parkinglot and tried to teach me the basics. I was driving on the road that night. I didn't stall until the next day when I took it out by myself in our neighborhood. Every stop sign, whether on a hill or not, was a challenge.

By the end of the week I was doing much better, but still feeling extremely nervous about it.

I drove myself back up to college, a good 40 minute drive, and HILLY, on Sunday night and I did fine; I was feeling more confident too. But then I didn't drive it again until Thursday night. Thursday night I was extremely tense, and RUSTY on starts/stops. I'm not aggressive enough with the gas. That whole first gear rev up sound creeps me out. (The car doesn't have a tachometer) I've gotten better, but I'm still very nervous about it and even though I don't stall, I'm very slow to accelerate after coming to a full and complete stop. I also find myself riding the clutch too often. Hills aren't too bad, but stopping in general freaks me out, I feel like once I stop I'll never get it started again. Overall I know I'll get the hang of it the more I drive it; ideally I'd like to be back home learning how to drive it because the people up here on campus drive like maniacs and there's alot of impatient traffic. Friends that have ridden with me so far say I drive fine; that they feel smooth and comfortable and that it's all in my head that I'm a "HORRIBLE STICK DRIVER" - maybe they're right. I keep telling myself IT WILL BE DONE. Must say it definately stresses me out sometimes, but I'm in a situation such that I HAVE no choice; I MUST learn to drive this thing with confidence and ease. Wish me luck!

-- Anonymous, March 31, 2001

I did it the hard way. Decided I was buying a new car, and that it would be stick so I could save $1000.

Went to test drive, managed to get it out of the parking lot before stalling. Then bunnyhopped once, and the rest is history. I bought the car I test drove, since I figured if I could drive it on the first try, it must be pretty good. It was the 1997 SL Saturn, now on my second Saturn, 2000 SL1. ITs stick to.

When I was buying my second car, I did try a number of automatics on my SO's insistence. However, the cars I could afford don't have powerful engines, and automatic makes it worse. So back to Stick it was, and I love it.

I learned to drive on a 1979 GM Suburban, at our camp/cottage. I started when I was about 12.

My truly first car was my parent's 1987 Jimmy. I was pretty much the sole driver on it since they bought it, as my dad didn't drive, and my mom loved to be driven, so of the 130,000km, I put at least 100,000. They gave it to me in 1995, I drove it for about 2 years. I loved that truck, and cried when I had to give it up. It went to a good home, as mom sold it to a man who was going to restore it.

I still miss him.

-- Anonymous, April 02, 2001

I can't drive a stick-shift...yet. I ask my step-dad, but he keeps putting it off. I might just teach myself, so does anyone have any pointers?

-- Anonymous, April 04, 2001

The most important thing is making sure that your seat is a comfortable distance from the pedals. You want to be able to work the clutch without having to move your knee all the time.

Practice getting into first gear and reverse over and over again in a parking lot. Those two are the hardest.

After you learn on whatever standard you're learning on, learn the difference between Japanese, American, and German standards so that you aren't embarrassed later when you offer to drive a standard car and find that it's not what you're used to.

-- Anonymous, April 07, 2001

In a stick shift, why does the reverse have a higher gear ratio than 1st gear? I mean you can go faster in reverse than 1st if the engine rev speed is same.

I do quite some parallel parking in my hilly residential area and I prefer parking facing uphill. Why? To back up uphill, I have to rev the engine to 3000 like a jet turbine and hold the clutch for a minute. The engine will often die even I am a pretty much proficient driver. Needless to say how the clutch gets worn out. I consulted my car's manual and found the difference in gear ratio.

Are we supposed to back out of parking lot at 30 mph like that in movies? Or to prevent slipping? I cannot see a reason that we need to go fast in reverse. Any ideas welcome -- especially weird ones.

-- Anonymous, April 17, 2001

ME?? drive standard .....WHAT ELSE IS THERE????!!! I learned on a stick shift when i was 15 and will drive no other way. i have pursuaded many people to re-think their decission of driving automatic saying its: "to easy" "not enough to do " you don't speed up as Quickly" "you'll save gas money" . However now i must try to pursuade a class room full of people in my public speaking class . But very little information exists on such a topic . while searching for info. i stummbled upon this site .....AND THE REST IS HISTORY

-- Anonymous, April 30, 2001

I learned to drive a stick a few weeks ago. I'm 15. I like sticks much better than autos because you control them and sticks pick up faster. I learned on my Dad's 1982 F-100. It has three speeds. It use to be a column shifter but it wore out and now it';s a floor shifter. I like both.

-- Anonymous, May 04, 2001

I just took the plunge and bought a stick. I was told by everybody I know that I would be committing a cardinal sin if I bought an automatic German car. So now I have a beautiful car sitting in my driveway, begging me to drive her, and I'm scared to death to get in it. It sounds like everybody who has posted a message learned to drive a stick in a week. I sure hope I can!

-- Anonymous, May 24, 2001

My favorite car ever was the second one I owned, an orange Mazda GLC hatchback stickshift that I bought in college and kept about four years. It was pathetic, sewing-machine engine and looked like a Jack o'lantern on wheels, but it was the first car I ever bought for myself.

-- Anonymous, May 24, 2001

My Dad taught me how to drive a stick shift when I was 16. It was just one of those things he thought I should know how to do. I have never owned one myself but when I was a teenager it came in handy because if mom's car wasn't available then I could use my dad's car or his wife's car. (They only lived a block away from my mom's house so it wasn't a huge deal to walk down there to get a car to use.)

-- Anonymous, May 27, 2001

My first car was a stick shift and I've only driven an automatic car a handful of times. I didn't get my license until I was 18 b/c I had no desire to drive. When my brother tought me on his stick shift car I loved it and have driven a stick shift ever since and absolutely hate automatic cars

-- Anonymous, May 31, 2001

I learned to drive a stick shift on a 1948 tractor when I was about 8 years old. This past Memorial Day weekend I was able to take my 8 year old son out on that same tractor. He steered the tractor, but I still shifted. Maybe next year I'll introduce him to the gears.

-- Anonymous, May 31, 2001

A blue and silver three speed Ford, right, Athena?

-- Anonymous, May 31, 2001


This tractor has four gears and the original paint is long gone, but I do believe it is a Ford.

-- Anonymous, May 31, 2001

I can drive a manual, but then again, I'm english and 90% of our cars have manual gearboxes, were not lazy like you bloody yanks! And we drive on the CORRECT side of the road! My first car was a 1.6 Ford Cortina mkIV ('X'' Suffix, 1981,) and I still drive it every day And another thing, why do you yanks always drive at such fucking slow speads, Jesus you can push 90mph on a motorway and still be okay with the law! Mind you..... Your petrol is so cheap.. We have to pay about $5 per gallon (£4.50!)

-- Anonymous, June 03, 2001

Sorry, just trying to but this forum into ENGLISH! okay.. I've had to assume some translations:

Gas = Petrol stick shift = Gearstick, and a manual gearbox'd car Parking Brake = Hand-brake, found behind Gearstick (see above) Bug = Car made famous in the 60's/70's by Volkeswagen, called a Beatle, not a 'Bug' Starting downhill = Used when your battery in knackered, called "Roll or Bump-starting" standard = Manual gearbox'd car... See "stick shift"

And to Tom Dean, also most of our cars have manual chokes, and the one on my X plate Cortina jammed yesterday.. I know how you feel... But if you would work out fuel consumption is lowered with a manual choke.... But my '95 (Late 'M' Plate) Ford Escort has a automatic choke, and it hasn't jammed (yet....)

-- Anonymous, June 03, 2001

i don't drive yet

-- Anonymous, June 14, 2001

Can our vcr format challenged friend provide us with a quick explanation of the whole x/m/d/whatever plating scheme in the UK? My original understanding was that it was based on displacement (and thus determined different levels of taxation), but lately it seems to have more do with model years.

Clues for the clueless, please?

-- Anonymous, June 14, 2001

Betamax, the Volkswagon car we Yanks call a Bug is a Beetle, not a Beatle. Although there were some Brit creations y'all exported in the '60s called Beatles, come to think of it. They were okay. Also, you might harangue us for driving on the opposite side of the road, but remember you're in the minority world-wide on that score.

-- Anonymous, June 15, 2001

Right: How our number plates work:

Our standard plates are made up of seven letters and numbers eg. J675 NRO. The first letter indicates the year in which the car was made, but this is where it gets technical, older cars have the plates backwards eg. NRO 675J, which means it was made before the "A" PREFIX, (older plates, being refered too as "SUFFIX's")But either way the letter refers to the year of the vechile. The last (or first,) two letters refer to where the vechile was registered eg. any plate with the two letters "FR" was registered in Greater London. And the thing about the years, up until "T" prefix each year, all new cars, the prefix moves fowards one letter. Until "T" where we now use two prefixes a year, one in Spring, and one in Auntumn (fall?? I think thats what you call it.) so here it goes:

PREFIXES: A=1983 B=1984 C=1985 D=1986 etc, (all leters except I, O, Q, Z (pronounced zed! not zee) If you understand that, your better people than me!

Betamax PAL


-- Anonymous, June 15, 2001

Betamax, I will agree that England was the greatest country in the world and say nothing more, if you will.

As to the rest of the world, please be advised that as of tomorrow morning the e-mail addresss listed above will be obsolete (although my office will not move). I am retreating to semi-anonymity because I just think it's easier to post in a web forum with some veils wrapped around your true identity. Those of you in the know will likely recognize me, although the new character will deny it.

I will be using my own domain name and a screen name. For you old-timers, if you're not sure whether it's me, just e-mail the new address and ask. I'm not planning on developing a new personality, after all. Enjoy the weekend.

-- Anonymous, June 15, 2001

This website explains British registrations.

-- Anonymous, June 15, 2001

Thanks, for the link... It explains it more clearly than I ever could! Also, as a man who has been doing these all morning. Do you requiure an equlivent of our M.o.T. test (Ministary of transport,) a yearly test the by LAW has to be carried out on all cars over three years old. If you do, what do yours test, because we have to test over 500 things in ours (it's bloody anoying!) And do you need to pay road tax? And do you like us, have a tax disk? (Peice of paper with a big expirioty date on it, you have to display in your window.) Mind you at £155 ($125?) for twelve months, (thats ontop of petrol.) And where do you folks stand on D.E.R.V (Diesel,) cars?

IS'NT THE N.H.S the worst run authority in the world?

Betamax PAL

-- Anonymous, June 16, 2001

I am 15 and learning to drive right now. I don't even have a permit, but my parents feel that I should start early. And the only kind of cars we have are manual transmission. And I am scared out of my mind everytime we go driving. Today was the first time I drove out on the real road. Normally its just parking lot since I don't have a permit or liscense. And my mom had me put it in 3rd gear. I am actually doing very well learning on a stick and I am so proud of myself for learing to drive stick rather then automatic.

-- Anonymous, June 23, 2001

Hello..i am 15. i have permit. and i drive a stick. it is a nissan sentra. it is cool. sumtimes it stalls on me and i get scared. but it is fun. i learned how to drive a stick when i was 13 or 14. cuz i learned at a freinds house and she lives on a farm. talkto yo ulater

-- Anonymous, July 01, 2001

Hehehe... let's go back through time a little bit: I was the kind of mind who thought driving a 5-speed -standard, stick, stickshift- whatever you want to call it, was a walk in the park. I always thought I could drive a standard transmission vehicle the day I got into one. Well, my first experience with the stick was with my brother's 1985 Nissan Sentra. He told me I could drive the car and I kept trying to turn it on and it was then when he told me I had to press in the clutch first. Haha- I guess I didn't know how to drive a stick after all. I had no trouble shifting to reverse and backing up. Then I was able to shift to first gear but the car stalled whenver I tried to shift to second. My brother told me to drive it on first all the way home. But when I stopped on an intersection, the car stalled and I could never put it back on first without stalling it again and again and again. My brother had to tell me to move to the passenger seat and let him drive before we got a ticket. My second experience with a 5-speed transmission was with a friend. He asked me if I could drive a stick and I, due to my past encounter with the stick, told him very confident that I could. Well, he told me I could drive his Saturn home and so I did- or at least tried. Again, I was able to violently back up as I pressed on the gas pedal too hard. And then again, I could never shift to first gear without stalling. I tried and I tried and I never could. It was embarrassing. I told him I could drive a stick, he belived me, and I failed to prove him that I could. My third experience was with another friend who owned a 1989 Nissan Pickup truck. He kept his truck on the driveway all the time and only drove in the parking lot because he didn't have a license. One day he told me he forgot his backpack in my car's trunk. That day my dad had taken my car to work because his had broken down. My friend said he needed to get his backpack because he had homework in there he had to do. And since my dad was not coming back till midnight, he told me if we could go to my dad's work to get the backpack. We decided to go in his truck. He said I should drive it because he didnt have a lisence and he couldn't afford getting pulled over without a license. He asked if I could drive a stick. I, once again, answered yes, but this time I also added that not too smoothly because I drove an automatic all the time and wasn't too used to the manual. He said, "No problem, I'll help you out." We got in the truck and once more backing out of the driveway was not trouble. Even shifting to first, this time, was no trouble either. It was when I tried to manouver the damn truck, I noticed I was not doing good anymore. You see, the truck didn't have power steering and I tried to turn the wheel with one hand. I had accelerated too fast and in seconds I was driving off the street into the sidewalk before the truck could turn. My friend kept yelling 'Brake! Brake! Brake!' and I kept my foot on the gas pedal. I finally decided to stop and I slammed on the brakes. I ended up one inch away from slamming into a tree. He immidiately told me to get the hell out and decided not drive to my dad's work anymore. He got really scared. I was cracking up. Originally, I had always prefer automatic cars not because it was easier to drive but because I thought they behaved smoother than manual. Through my driving carrer I discovered driving a stick made you look more sophisticated and gave you more control of your car. Ultimately, I decided to own a manual transmission vehicle. The day to go look for a car came. I went to the dealers and everytime interested in a stick. Eventually, I found a car I could afford at the momment, a 1995 Honda Civic DX Sedan. It was manual. To that day, I still hadn't taken any driving practice on manual transmission yet I was still confident that I could drive a stick with no problem. I had read a lot on manual transmission and the procedure to drive a manual transmission. So... knowledgewise, I knew how to drive a stick because I knew everything you had to do when driving a stick. Technically, however, I was still not in shape since I had never driven a stick for more than 2 minutes and beyond first gear. Still, I went on to dealer to get my 5-speed Honda Civic. I did all the paperwork and everything else and the moment to drive the car home came. I was nervious- I didn't want to stall in front of the sales rep. He'd be like 'why the hell are you getting a stick when you don't even know how drive it'. I got in the car, I closed the door, I checked it was on neutral, I depress the clutch pedal, I inserted the key into the starter, and I proceeded to start the car. Great so far- the car had started. I said goodbye to the dealer's rep and it was time to drive away. I depress the clutch pedal again, I removed the E-brake, and shifted to first gear. Slowly started letting go of the clutch pedal I as I slowly begun to depress on the gas pedal. I was keeping everything I had read about manual transmission and I all the tips I had gotten from my brother in mind. I already knew that no matter what, if I kept the clutch pedal depressed, the car wouldn't stall. I was able to shift to second, third and so on with nothing bigger than a little anticipation or a little delay, however, I managed to not stall. Of course, I stalled all the time at other occassions but now I had a car of my own to finally learn how to drive a stick. I guess I knew already or I learned every step of driving a stick with accuracy and pression that it didn't take another person to teach me how. I can honestly say I learned from the books- hehehehe. Well, that was my story of how I begin to drive manual transmission vehicles and just in case it's not clear yet: yes, I do know how to drive a stick. My first car was a 1986 Ford Tempo, I don't miss it at all, it was a piece of junk. My second car was 2000 Mitsubishi Galant ES Sedan but I crashed it in a car accident not long ago. I still own it but it's under reconstruction. My third car was a 1995 Honda Civic DX Sedan, which I still currently owned too. Now I am looking forward to a BMW 325i Sedan, 5-speed transm, of course.

-- Anonymous, July 05, 2001

Yeah baby! I'm proud to say that I am learning to drive stick. My first car was a 1984 Ford escort. The driver's side door does Not open, there is a leak in the windshield, and it still requires a jump start on hot and humid days. This car is of course an automatic. Two days from now I will be picking up my new car, a manual 1999 z-x- 2 escort ( the newer version of my pathietic junk heap) I am prepared to stall out, to grid gears, and to be embrassed, learning how to drive stick. Finally, I am moving up in the world. Any little hint or tid-bits on driving stick would be greatly appreciated. Thanx:)

-- Anonymous, July 10, 2001

Im learning to drive a manual transmissio too. I have to say its not all that hard for me. I am learning to drive a manual on my 1970 Triumph GT6+. Probably not the best car to learn on as far as burning clutches go, but im not too hard on it. Im still waiting for it to become a second nature, but its getting there. I have to say the hardest part is just getting going. As long as you can get going and shift out of first its easy. If you really want to experiance driving (like a britiah sports car), i would say a manual is a better choice. People make it out to be really hard to learn and really painstaking to drive, but i really dont think it is. I think its more fun and you have more control over your car.

-- Anonymous, July 12, 2001

I'm 17. I got my license two weeks ago, 3 days before the new "you have to be 18 to get an unrestricted license" law came into effect.I just partially learned how to drive a stick a few days ago. I've been driving my mom's 99 GMC Safari since then cuz it's an automatic, and it has a CD player. But now my parents say if I want to drive anywhere I have to take the 95 Nissan 200SX, which is just a two door Sentra. But it's a stick. My dad took my out once. Then now they expect me to know how to drive it. Well, the past three days I've been taking it out in the evening, when no one is around to see me stall at every stop sign, around the neighborhood and on some two lane roads. I thought I had gotten the hang of it. Then I went out today on a six lane road at rush hour and at almost every red light I stalled it at least twice. And if I didn't stall it I would make it jump as I was slowly accelerating out of the intersection. I made it home and now my confidence, which was very high just yesterday, is now shot. So after hearing everybody else's stories I find out it is still worth giving it another try. I'm glad no one else was in the car today to laugh at me. I'm sure the other people in their huge SUVs were laughing. But tommorrow I'll try again.

-- Anonymous, July 13, 2001

I can drive a stick or a column (that is what they use to have back in the old days) I would not own a car with an automatic transmission. Heck when the starter goes out, or the battery is dead what do you do, no clutch to pop... I have been driving since I was 12 thanks to the magic of TV there I learned to hotwire cars. I learned to drive by watching my parentís hands, feet, and the sound of the engine. Hence a little knowledge and lots of opportunity when my parents left town made for early driving experiences...

-- Anonymous, July 14, 2001

Hey I'm from England, I have no choice but to drive a 'stick shift'!

I have only driven an automatic once in my life and I found that as traumatic as you would having to change gears. I kept trying to get into 5th gear and found the whole thing frustrating and irritating.

I prefer changing my own gears, its a 'control' thing (!)

-- Anonymous, July 16, 2001

I was taught how to drive stick by a used car salesman. It was a 92 Plymouth Duster. I see many advantages to driving a manual tranny. You get better gas mileage. Also, it makes me feel intelligent. Did I forget to mention that repairs are cheaper with a manual tranny than an automatic? That was also the last time I drove stick. This site makes me want to steal a manual tranny car and get more practice. I drive an automatic tranny currently because I am lazy. My point is that we should all learn how to drive stick at LEAST once. It makes driving fun.

-- Anonymous, July 20, 2001

My sister taught me in the high school parking lot when I was 15; in a Capri with standard transmission--the one that looked just like a Mustang. My first car was a Nissan 200SX. I loved it and I miss it.

-- Anonymous, July 21, 2001

I'm 15 1/2 (I've got my permit)and i am a pretty good auto driver, but.....Well, I can't drive a stick. There is a slight problem with that because I just bought a 91' Nissan 300ZX 2+2 yesterday. Ive been out in it twice already but just keep stalling at stop signs. I can't quite get the "feel" yet. I need some tips on how to start out using a hardcore Japaneese clutch that is harder than a mother get figured out. My car only has 34,000 miles on it and has been totally pampered (Maybee thats why I'm nervous that I'll ruin my clutch) If anyone has any tips at all for me, please feel free to reply or to email me. Oh yeah I love my first car and plan to keep it forever.

-- Anonymous, July 24, 2001

My dad taught me how to drive a stick shift (the pickup truck he had at the time) when I was in college. It took me quite a while to get the hang of it, but I appreciate the skill. I think everyone who drives at all should know how to drive both kinds of cars, no matter which they prefer.

The first car that I actually owned was a 1968 Volkswagen Squareback. This was in 1993. I bought it for $300 from a friend-of-a-friend, who had gotten it from a junkyard (should have been my first clue that this was a huge mistake). I had to replace the engine right away, with a used engine that cost more than the car and which was also defective. It wouldn't go over 40mph, and reverse gear was almost nonexistent. It went through a quart of oil every two days. On the up side, that little car had a huge interior that could haul almost anything, and had the body been in better condition, it would have been an unbearably cute car. And it was mine, all mine.

(Remember Janeane Garofalo's car in the movie Minus Man? Of course you don't. But that was it. Different year, but same color.)

When I got that car, I learned that my then-boyfriend couldn't drive a stick shift - but, he claimed, he "could do it in an emergency." Yeah, that inspires confidence. If I'm bleeding profusely from a severed limb, you're just the guy I want grinding gears trying to get me to a hospital. (He also lifted up the front hood and angrily demanded, "Where's the engine?" Um. It's a Volkswagen.)

My current car is an automatic. Do I feel wussy, guilty of copping out or betraying my stick-driving sistahs? Hell no. It was a hand-me- down from my mother. A free car is a free car, and I'm duty-bound to drive it and love it.

-- Anonymous, July 24, 2001

I am nervous to drive a stick. I have never done it and just thinking about it makes me crazy. My husband sells cars and today said he is buying me a stick and guarentees he can teach me in three days ...right. It is a 4 speed he says. Whatever that means.I dont care.Lastnight he drew a picture of a H and labeled all the points and just made it sound so easy.Right. I have been in traffic with those"first timers" on sticks. I am terrified!!!!! I am 30 yrs old and never learned. what is some of the best advice someone can give me to calm my fears? Help please. Thanks. _____ scared to death in Fl.

-- Anonymous, July 27, 2001

I'm learning how to drive a stick shift right now. I decided this summer I would finally learn how, because I'm sick and tired of going to Europe and never getting to drive the rental (most cars are standard in Europe) Also, I've always had this phobia about being in an emergency where I had to drive stick shift and didn't know how. I'm 32 years old. My mother gave me a half hour lesson on the basics and now its up to me to apply what I learned. I do really well at backing up, but its a doozy when I try to go forward- ha ha.

-- Anonymous, July 27, 2001

I imagine this has something to do with it. See number three.

-- Anonymous, July 28, 2001

I just recently got my permit and my family has only one car which is a brand new toyota 4 runner. It's an automatic which I learned how to drive right away. I really want to learn stick. I've gotten tips and the basics down and all i need now is hands-on practice. My parents are thinking about buying me a jeep that belongs to their friend which is a stick. I will write back and inform you on my experiences with it.

-- Anonymous, July 28, 2001

Yes!!! I can finally drive a stickshift... all these stories made me realize that I was not the only one out there who stalled at red lights...I made sure that I went out day after day( filled with dread) but then I finally conquered my fear. A special thanks to LP...from for giving me the confidence! thanks y'all

-- Anonymous, July 31, 2001

Yes, I can drive a standard. My mother once asked me (she never has driven a car) if I could drive an automatic now, even though I only knew how to drive a standard so far...

My first driving experience was on my dad's farm...I would say I was four or five. I was very curious about his '40s tractor and...hmmmm, what did that red button do? So I pressed it, and presto! I was in motion! I jumped off and hid while my siblings and parents had a major freak-out trying to stop it. Needless to say, it was a rewarding experience. >:D

A few years later, I would get impatient waiting for dad to drive us home from church, so I would start the car while he chatted up a storm with the minister. That was an automatic, and it was well and good that I mastered the ignition system or I would have freezed to death in the car: Dey wuz loong chats, he wuz a-havin'.

The car would rev high, so I learned how to tap the gas pedal to disengage the choke. Big whoop.

It wasn't really a car that I learned how to drive a standard with. My father bought me a little red, used, three-wheeler which was a manual three-speed with an automatic clutch. We also had wide open pastures where I could have mini-disasters to my heart's content.

I obtained my driver's license when I was 16 years of age (I think). I've had to renew it a couple of times now, and the original date was not retained. It kinda makes it difficult to verify longevity with the car insurance co., but oh well.

Shortly thereafter me getting my first license, dad bought his umpteenth used car, a dodge omni 4-speed standard this time. I sometimes think he was looking for the 'holy grail' of used cars. Alas, and woe, it would turn out to be not so good after all. Broken alternators on isolated roads through 100s of miles of virgin forestry on a long winter night...*shudder*

Learning to drive the Omni was an easy task...due in large part to my three-wheeler experience. The Omni was amazingly well on gas; five dollars would take you 150km really easy. Unfortunately, the former owner had transplanted the motor with a weaker kind of engine. Short and steep hills were no problem, because a burst of speed at the base of the hill would usually carry it over without even down-shifting. However, it was not a car to drive on the highway with.

Highway driving with the dodge omni was one heck of a scary experience even on a bright, sunny summer day. Long gradually inclining hills were the biggest problem with the weak engine. Halfway up the hill, it would slow right the freak *down*, and I would be forced to downshift to the third gear (50km/hr) right in the middle of a 110km highway! I hate becoming a prime candidate for road rage...

I don't care about the dodge or the many used cars that I took on and paid many expensive dollars just to keep them alive long enough for me to get from location A to location B. Don't miss them at all, especially not the last used car I had (Ford Escort 91). It was already eight years old when I bought it very cheaply, but, I paid for it ten times over in repairs. It still scares me half out of my mind to think of the repair bills I had to pay on that one car alone.

However, I recently fell into some good luck, and managed to land a full-time semi-permanent job working for a computer networking company--they don't even care if I want to use linux! Gotta love these guys...

Anyway, I then went shopping for the best leasing deal I could find for a brand-new car. I called every dealership in town asking for lease pricings except for one...the ford company.

I finally settled on a Toyota Echo, and it's proving to be a heck of a lot cheaper to maintain than any stupid old used car! w00T!

-- Anonymous, August 03, 2001

Yes, I can drive a stick shift. I can also drive an automatic b/c both of parents have automatic cars I am the only with a stick shift. I learned to drive a stick shift at the age of 15 years old and I only 15 years old. My first I got on July 31, 2001 was a 1999 Red Volkswagon Beetle Bug. So know my mother is trying to drive it but my stepfather is teaching me everything. It is very easy when you get the hang of it.

-- Anonymous, August 04, 2001

hi im 16 years old and i just bought a stick shift 1990 mazda 323 hatchback with no power steering. I have learned to drive a stick now that i am able to drive it to work but I seem to have the most troubles in going to 1st gear from a dead stop. Most of the times i experience bumps. Am I suppose to step on the gas first and then let go of the clutch slowly, or let go of the clutch slowly to the friction point and then step on the gas, or do them at the same time? Any help or tips will be appreciated. Thanx

-- Anonymous, August 07, 2001

Yes, I just turned 16 a few months ago, and for my first car I got a "1999 Toyota Supra" ..When I found out it was a manual my heart stoped.. but once my sister tought me how to drive it, Its a smooth as, umm.. silk.. (I never missed a gear or ground a gear once) It's vary fun to drive and easy after a while, and yes.. first gear from a stop is the hardest, - You take your foot off the clutch slowly while giving it gas, if it starts to "chug" - push the clutch in a little, it takes a while to get use to, In my supra I never did that because it has enough power (450Hp) and torque just to turn the wheels and not stall. --------- OK bye ----------

-- Anonymous, August 08, 2001

1999 Supra, eh? I thought they stopped making them after '98. Oh man, those cars are soo sweet. I've loved Supras forever. Anyway, I got my first own car just yesterday, I've been driving for about two and a half years now though, so it's not like I have no experience at all with driving. However, I was fascinated by stick shift cars, so my first car had to be one. I had to learn it sooner or later, I figured it would be better to learn it now. I love that car. My dad has taken me driving a couple of times around the block last night and tonight. I am so bad at it. Of course I'm not going to get it right away, but I have a hard time trying to figure out what I'm doing wrong. Like, my dad isn't explaining it very well to me. Thought I could find some outside help. My main problem is, like most others, putting it into first gear, and reverse. I have a hard time just backing out of the driveway mainly. I suppose just putting it in neutral would work, but once I hit the gutter, my wheels are stuck, so I have to put it in reverse to go further back. Anyway, it's a 1995 Nissan Maxima. I just can't figure it out. Oh, and once I do get it in 1st gear it jerks back and forth and back and forth continuously until I just put it in 2nd gear. I'm gonna mess up this clutch really quickly. I can't figure it out. Thanks, if you have any advice, please just post on this site. Thanks.

-- Anonymous, August 08, 2001

yeah about 1st was jerky for me too at first but I've gotten better. to help make it smoother, as soon as you feel the gears start to catch, just hold the clutch in that spot for a sec or two, and then slowly let off while adding gas.

-- Anonymous, August 12, 2001

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