Manual transmission is a joy for some people and nightmare for the others. It is not very hard to be one of the people that enjoy it. It might seem hard to learn it but it is easy and there is no need to worry. Plus you will have more control over your car, not to mention it is safer than the automatic transmission.
Relax and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Even the experienced drivers have difficulties with the manual transmission. If you live in a rural area and there are not many cars around, it is the perfect environment. If you live in a city, you can ask one of your relatives or friends to take your car to a place where there are not many cars. There might be people who might force you to learn how to drive a manual transmission in the city traffic and this will make the driver go into stress. I know many people who don’t drive anymore because of this reason. It doesn’t matter if you are familiar with the cars or not; when you get in the car, look at the things around you. Be sure there is nothing blocking your hand to reach the shift knob. Cars with an automatic transmission have two pedals. The left pedal is the brake and the right is the gas. You will see three pedals in the car with a manual transmission. Clutch pedal on the left, brake in the middle and gas on the right.
Engage the emergency brake first and sit comfortably. Do not start the engine. You should be able to depress the clutch pedal fully. There should be numbers on the shift knob which are 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and R. Some cars might be equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission where you will see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and R. Try to memorize where those numbers are located on the shift knob. Fully depress the clutch pedal and put your hand on the shift knob. Shift the gears and get familiar with the manual transmission.
When you are shifting gears, you should be able to notice that the shift knob moves freely in the middle from left to right or vice versa. That is the neutral, just like the P in a car with an automatic transmission. If the gear is in neutral (N), even you press the gas pedal, the car won’t move. More you practice shifting the gears, less difficulty you will have with the manual transmission. Spend at least half an hour doing this. After putting the gear in N, we can now start the engine. Release the emergency brake. Like I said before, don’t be afraid to stall the car. You will stall the car many times till you get used to the manual transmission. Fully depress the clutch pedal and shift into 1st gear. Do not release the clutch pedal suddenly. As you slowly release the clutch pedal, push the gas pedal slowly. Press and release the pedals like there is an egg under your shoes. We shouldn’t break that egg. If the car stalls, put the gear into N and start over. Press the gas pedal a little bit more as you release the clutch pedal slowly. As you make few tries, you will understand when the clutch will engage and car will move. As the car starts moving, continue releasing the clutch pedal slowly, press the gas pedal more and finally take your foot off the clutch pedal. Do not look at the rpm gauge; it will make everything more confusing. Listen to the sound of the engine. If you do not take off your foot when the car is moving, it will wear the clutch disc.
If you need to stop while climbing a hill, don’t panic. Depress the brake pedal fully with the front part of your right foot. Fully depress the clutch pedal with your left foot and slowly press the gas pedal with the back part of your right foot. Slowly release the brake pedal and the clutch pedal as you feel the car moving forward.
Do not have anyone in the car that can panic if you do a mistake. A calm experienced driver should be sitting next to you. It is better if you can practice for a week before you start driving in traffic. If you stall, turn on the hazard flashers. Don’t care about what the other drivers say or do; they experienced the same things when they were learning how to drive a car.
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