How To Drive A Manual Car — Quick & Easy Guides

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Each day, the popularity of automatic gearboxes is increasing, and many people are avoiding manual cars entirely. The result is that only a few people can drive manual cars even though they can drive automatic cars. Here’s a quick and easy guide to driving one.

Overview Of Manual Cars

How To Drive A Manual Car
How To Drive A Manual Car

A typical manual car has three pedals: clutch, brake, and accelerator. To slow down, you press the brake. The firmer you press it, the quicker you’ll lose speed. The accelerator increases the engine’s revs and causes you to speed up. The firmer you press the accelerator, the quicker you’ll speed up.

The clutch pedal is a bit difficult. It’s a two-metal plate that connects the engine to the drive wheels. So, when you press down on the clutch pedal, you’re disconnecting the engine from the wheels.

How To Drive A Manual Car Effectively

  1. Enter the car and put on the seatbelt.
  2. Put the key in the ignition and turn it all the way until the engine starts.
  3. Use your left foot to put the clutch pedal down(pedal on the left).
  4. Move the gear stick into the first gear.
  5. Use the right foot to gently press down on the accelerator (pedal on the right)
  6. Slowly lift the clutch pedal using the left foot until it vibrates gently.
  7. The vibration is known as the car’s “bite point”- this is where the clutch plates start to come together.
  8. Release the handbrake, and the car should start to move slowly
  9. Increase the revs while slowly raising your foot off the clutch until you are moving forward with only the use of the accelerator pedal

Note: If you are too quick to lift your foot off the clutch or give it enough revs, the car will stall. That’s where the engine cuts out, and the red lights glow on the dashboard.

If you stall, apply the brakes, turn the engine off, return the gear stick to neutral and begin the process again.

How To Drive A Manual Car On A Hill

You’ll need to change to a lower gear to easily drive uphill in a manual car. Otherwise, you’ll lose power. Depending on your speed rate, change a gear or two, and drive as normal.

You might realize that you’ll need to put your foot down on the accelerator a little further than usual to achieve a normal level of speed when going uphill. Be careful when you return to level ground, and be ready to ease off the accelerator and change to a higher gear.

Follow the driving instructions, but you may also need to engage the handbrake rather than the footbrake. This is so that you can use one foot for the clutch and the other for the accelerator as soon as possible. This helps you to avoid rolling backwards.

How To Avoid Damaging The Clutch

When you drive a manual car for a while, you’ll begin to get used to the clutch and every other aspect of driving it. Although it sounds complicated, you’ll gradually develop a natural feel for it.

If you are not careful, it can be easy to damage the clutch prematurely, which will cost a lot of money to replace. Here’s how to avoid damaging your car’s clutch.

  • Don’t use the clutch to hold the car on hills or creep forward at junction
  • Stop your car instead while in traffic, put the handbrake on, and only use the clutch when you’re ready to pull away.
  • Don’t hold the car clutch down when you stop the car
  • Keep the revs to a minimum

How Many Gears Do Manual Cars Have?

Years ago, many manual cars only had four gears. The belief was that this would make them easier to drive than today’s cars. But back then, you’d also have to learn old-fashioned techniques such as double declutching as they didn’t have synchromesh gearboxes. 

Today, most cars have at least five gears, although six gears are becoming popular. By having an extra sixth gear, the engine can run at little more than tick over during motorway cruising, helping reduce fuel consumption.

There are still seven-speed manual gearboxes, even though they are rarely seen in cars. However, they can be found in supercars like the Porsche 911 and Chevrolet Corvette.

How To Drive A Manual Car (FULL Tutorial)

Advantages Of Manual Gearboxes

Whether you like manual or automatic gearboxes, it comes down to preferences. However, there are some advantages manual gearboxes have over automatic gearboxes. Some of these advantages are;

  • They are cheaper to buy and better on fuel than automatics.
  • Manual gearboxes are lighter than automatic ones.
  • Manual gearboxes are better for those who like to be in control while driving.
  • For example, if you’re planning an overtake in a manual, you can drop a gear in advance for a quick reaction when you need acceleration.
  • In a manual gearbox, you can select a higher gear to increase torque or slow down using the gears rather than the brakes, helping the driver remain in control.


While many people prefer driving automatic cars, manual cars have their advantages. Even though they might be difficult to drive at first, driving them becomes interesting once you get used to them.

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