Author Topic: Driving a manual transmission/stick: Questions, thoughts  (Read 4664 times)

Hula Hoop

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Re: Driving a manual transmission/stick: Questions, thoughts
« Reply #50 on: May 28, 2019, 12:36:29 PM »
Not fun driving here in a manual as everyone drives like maniacs, parks in completely insane spots. there are scooters weaving in and out of traffic and zooming down the street in the wrong direction and people generally behave badly behind the wheel.  If we end up buying a car, I'll probably get an automatic.

Ive never forget driving from the airport in Rome round the ring road to head out of town in rush hour on a Friday evening - quite an experience, even for someone like me whos spent years driving in London.
Americans are super cautious drivers and if you ever get within 3 feet of their cars they flip the fuck out. Lanes are super wide, they'll leave an entire car length between each other at a red light, etc.

So every time I drive in southern Europe I get shocked into old habits of much more aggressive driving. Incoming car and 20 inches of wiggle room? No need to slow down.

America is a big place...based on that, is it safe to assume you have never been to New York City? ;)

I'm from NYC but would never be crazy enough to drive there.  Subway (or walking) everywhere when I was a kid.  I've never understood people who drive in NYC.  Parking alone is such a nightmare and it's so easy to get around in other ways.

JLee

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Re: Driving a manual transmission/stick: Questions, thoughts
« Reply #51 on: May 28, 2019, 12:41:08 PM »
Not fun driving here in a manual as everyone drives like maniacs, parks in completely insane spots. there are scooters weaving in and out of traffic and zooming down the street in the wrong direction and people generally behave badly behind the wheel.  If we end up buying a car, I'll probably get an automatic.

Ive never forget driving from the airport in Rome round the ring road to head out of town in rush hour on a Friday evening - quite an experience, even for someone like me whos spent years driving in London.
Americans are super cautious drivers and if you ever get within 3 feet of their cars they flip the fuck out. Lanes are super wide, they'll leave an entire car length between each other at a red light, etc.

So every time I drive in southern Europe I get shocked into old habits of much more aggressive driving. Incoming car and 20 inches of wiggle room? No need to slow down.

America is a big place...based on that, is it safe to assume you have never been to New York City? ;)

I'm from NYC but would never be crazy enough to drive there.  Subway (or walking) everywhere when I was a kid.  I've never understood people who drive in NYC.  Parking alone is such a nightmare and it's so easy to get around in other ways.

Oh of course.  Still though, there are a lot of places in the US (basically everything in NJ, southern NY, CT, MA, RI, DC) where driving is the exact opposite of what I bolded above.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Driving a manual transmission/stick: Questions, thoughts
« Reply #52 on: May 28, 2019, 02:03:55 PM »
Not fun driving here in a manual as everyone drives like maniacs, parks in completely insane spots. there are scooters weaving in and out of traffic and zooming down the street in the wrong direction and people generally behave badly behind the wheel.  If we end up buying a car, I'll probably get an automatic.

Ive never forget driving from the airport in Rome round the ring road to head out of town in rush hour on a Friday evening - quite an experience, even for someone like me whos spent years driving in London.
Americans are super cautious drivers and if you ever get within 3 feet of their cars they flip the fuck out. Lanes are super wide, they'll leave an entire car length between each other at a red light, etc.

So every time I drive in southern Europe I get shocked into old habits of much more aggressive driving. Incoming car and 20 inches of wiggle room? No need to slow down.

America is a big place...based on that, is it safe to assume you have never been to New York City? ;)
I have been to and even driven around NYC and the whole Northeast, and stand by my statement. :)

TVRodriguez

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Re: Driving a manual transmission/stick: Questions, thoughts
« Reply #53 on: May 28, 2019, 02:09:43 PM »
Not fun driving here in a manual as everyone drives like maniacs, parks in completely insane spots. there are scooters weaving in and out of traffic and zooming down the street in the wrong direction and people generally behave badly behind the wheel.  If we end up buying a car, I'll probably get an automatic.

Ive never forget driving from the airport in Rome round the ring road to head out of town in rush hour on a Friday evening - quite an experience, even for someone like me whos spent years driving in London.
Americans are super cautious drivers and if you ever get within 3 feet of their cars they flip the fuck out. Lanes are super wide, they'll leave an entire car length between each other at a red light, etc.

So every time I drive in southern Europe I get shocked into old habits of much more aggressive driving. Incoming car and 20 inches of wiggle room? No need to slow down.

America is a big place...based on that, is it safe to assume you have never been to New York City? ;)
I have been to and even driven around NYC and the whole Northeast, and stand by my statement. :)

Driving in NYC is easy.  I drove in and around NYC for 16 years without a single accident (sometimes driving stick shift).  Moved to Miami and was hit twice (by uninsured drivers) within 6 months.

I miss NYC and I miss driving manual transmission.

Hula Hoop

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Re: Driving a manual transmission/stick: Questions, thoughts
« Reply #54 on: May 28, 2019, 02:31:36 PM »
Not fun driving here in a manual as everyone drives like maniacs, parks in completely insane spots. there are scooters weaving in and out of traffic and zooming down the street in the wrong direction and people generally behave badly behind the wheel.  If we end up buying a car, I'll probably get an automatic.

Ive never forget driving from the airport in Rome round the ring road to head out of town in rush hour on a Friday evening - quite an experience, even for someone like me whos spent years driving in London.
Americans are super cautious drivers and if you ever get within 3 feet of their cars they flip the fuck out. Lanes are super wide, they'll leave an entire car length between each other at a red light, etc.

So every time I drive in southern Europe I get shocked into old habits of much more aggressive driving. Incoming car and 20 inches of wiggle room? No need to slow down.

America is a big place...based on that, is it safe to assume you have never been to New York City? ;)
I have been to and even driven around NYC and the whole Northeast, and stand by my statement. :)

Driving in NYC is easy.  I drove in and around NYC for 16 years without a single accident (sometimes driving stick shift).  Moved to Miami and was hit twice (by uninsured drivers) within 6 months.

I miss NYC and I miss driving manual transmission.

How did you manage to park?  When I was a kid one of my parents briefly owned a car and we spent many hours finding parking spots only to have to change sides every day.  Do they still have those rules in NYC?

TVRodriguez

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Re: Driving a manual transmission/stick: Questions, thoughts
« Reply #55 on: May 28, 2019, 02:39:13 PM »

Driving in NYC is easy.  I drove in and around NYC for 16 years without a single accident (sometimes driving stick shift).  Moved to Miami and was hit twice (by uninsured drivers) within 6 months.

I miss NYC and I miss driving manual transmission.

How did you manage to park?  When I was a kid one of my parents briefly owned a car and we spent many hours finding parking spots only to have to change sides every day.  Do they still have those rules in NYC?

Yes, they do.  I drove there but never lived there, so that alternate-side-of-the-street parking business didn't affect me that much.

iris lily

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Re: Driving a manual transmission/stick: Questions, thoughts
« Reply #56 on: May 29, 2019, 12:22:40 PM »
I learned to drive on a stick transmission in  the U.S. and we have one vehicle that is manual, but the thought of driving on the wrong side of the road using my non-dominant hand gives me the heebie jeebies. At No time in my many trips to the U.K. have  we rented a car.

I wish you luck, stranger on the internet.

pagoconcheques

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Re: Driving a manual transmission/stick: Questions, thoughts
« Reply #57 on: July 01, 2019, 03:21:12 PM »
Easy to learn, difficult to master.  You don't need to master it for a short rental period. 

The easy part is things like starting from a stop or starting on a steep hill--strangely the things people are most afraid of.  The hard part is learning to read the car for "load" and accepting that the tachometer is the most important instrument in the dash.  It's not just about getting the car rolling, it's about being in the best gear at all times depending on what you are optimizing for at the moment.  If optimizing for fuel economy, prefer lower RPMs, if optimizing for power, find the sweet spot in the car's torque curve and keep the RPMs there (useful for freeway merges, if anticipating a possible emergency maneuver, etc.). 


innkeeper77

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Re: Driving a manual transmission/stick: Questions, thoughts
« Reply #58 on: July 01, 2019, 04:04:58 PM »
Easy to learn, difficult to master.  You don't need to master it for a short rental period. 

The easy part is things like starting from a stop or starting on a steep hill--strangely the things people are most afraid of.  The hard part is learning to read the car for "load" and accepting that the tachometer is the most important instrument in the dash.  It's not just about getting the car rolling, it's about being in the best gear at all times depending on what you are optimizing for at the moment.  If optimizing for fuel economy, prefer lower RPMs, if optimizing for power, find the sweet spot in the car's torque curve and keep the RPMs there (useful for freeway merges, if anticipating a possible emergency maneuver, etc.).

Some people disagree- I had to use cardboard to cover the tach years ago to rid myself of my dependency on it, and I know someone who still drives a truck that never had a tach! With no tach, you just kind of "know" by listening to the engine and paying attention to performance.

SemiChemE

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Re: Driving a manual transmission/stick: Questions, thoughts
« Reply #59 on: July 02, 2019, 12:23:35 AM »
A few years back I rented an Opel with a manual transmission in Germany.  Every time I stopped at a traffic light, the engine would die and I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong.  I kept thinking I must have forgotten to engage the clutch, but before long, I realized it would die no matter how quickly, slowly, carefully, or fully I engaged the clutch.  As soon as the car came to a stop, so did the engine.  A few days later, I discovered that if I released and reengaged the clutch, the engine would start right back up. 

Apparently, this model of Opel has a start-stop system, intended to reduce idling when stuck in traffic.  Whenever the car comes to a stop with the clutch engaged the engine shuts off.  Then, pumping the clutch restarts the engine.  That's all fine and good, but it sure would have been nice if someone had told me what was going on!

Home Stretch

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Re: Driving a manual transmission/stick: Questions, thoughts
« Reply #60 on: July 03, 2019, 09:44:59 PM »
Some people disagree- I had to use cardboard to cover the tach years ago to rid myself of my dependency on it, and I know someone who still drives a truck that never had a tach! With no tach, you just kind of "know" by listening to the engine and paying attention to performance.

I had a friend in high school who drove an old Ford Escort wagon (I want to say it was maybe a '94?) with a stick and no tach. I thought she was a damn wizard at 16 years old being able to handle that thing. I didn't learn how to drive stick until 4 years later on my college buddy's Wrangler. That was the easiest manual I've ever experienced, to this day.

BussoV6

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Re: Driving a manual transmission/stick: Questions, thoughts
« Reply #61 on: July 04, 2019, 04:12:47 AM »
A few years back I rented an Opel with a manual transmission in Germany.  Every time I stopped at a traffic light, the engine would die and I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong.  I kept thinking I must have forgotten to engage the clutch, but before long, I realized it would die no matter how quickly, slowly, carefully, or fully I engaged the clutch.  As soon as the car came to a stop, so did the engine.  A few days later, I discovered that if I released and reengaged the clutch, the engine would start right back up. 

Apparently, this model of Opel has a start-stop system, intended to reduce idling when stuck in traffic.  Whenever the car comes to a stop with the clutch engaged the engine shuts off.  Then, pumping the clutch restarts the engine.  That's all fine and good, but it sure would have been nice if someone had told me what was going on!

Stop/start is standard on many European cars these days. Most cars have a switch somewhere to kill it if it gets annoying.

Fomerly known as something

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Re: Driving a manual transmission/stick: Questions, thoughts
« Reply #62 on: July 05, 2019, 12:41:00 PM »
I have to say thanks to this tread. 

I owned a Stick for 15 years until 2015.  I never knew about the emergency break on a hill trick.  I just got back from Europe where I had a stick rental, of course on the first day I get stuck on a steep hill at a traffic light, the trick worked like a charm.

Trifele

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Re: Driving a manual transmission/stick: Questions, thoughts
« Reply #63 on: July 06, 2019, 04:41:17 AM »
To anyone who thinks the above post is odd (that you could drive a manual for 15 years and never have used the hand brake on a hill) -- you've probably never lived anywhere flat.

It's not uncommon for people in flat areas to just remove the brake.  It's not needed, and it saves trouble from it rusting/seizing.   We bought an older truck a few years ago that had lived its whole life in Iowa.  No brake.   

MilesTeg

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Re: Driving a manual transmission/stick: Questions, thoughts
« Reply #64 on: July 23, 2019, 08:41:32 AM »
Some people disagree- I had to use cardboard to cover the tach years ago to rid myself of my dependency on it, and I know someone who still drives a truck that never had a tach! With no tach, you just kind of "know" by listening to the engine and paying attention to performance.

I had a friend in high school who drove an old Ford Escort wagon (I want to say it was maybe a '94?) with a stick and no tach. I thought she was a damn wizard at 16 years old being able to handle that thing. I didn't learn how to drive stick until 4 years later on my college buddy's Wrangler. That was the easiest manual I've ever experienced, to this day.

I always thought it was weird that people would actually look at the tach while driving normally in a vehicle they are used to. More complicated than just going by feel/sound and experience IMO.

One of my parent's vehicles actually didn't even have one (it only had little lights that would warn if your rpms were too high or low and prompt you to shift economically).


MayDay

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Re: Driving a manual transmission/stick: Questions, thoughts
« Reply #65 on: July 23, 2019, 09:23:09 AM »
Another fun story:

My grandpa grew up poor, and getting drafted for WW2 was the best time of his life. Food! Shoes! New clothes! Plus the war ended right when he got drafted, so he spent the whole time at Fort Knox not getting shot at.

So one day his commanding officer tosses him the keys to a Jeep and tells him to go pick up something from the back of the base and bring it back. If you hadn't gathered from the whole no-shows thing, his family didn't own a car so he didn't know how to drive one.

So he got in the Jeep, and learned to drive it. By bucking and stalling repeatedly until he eventually made it to pick up the stuff and come back.

Nothing like a little on the job learning!

Meanwhile I learned on my dad's weany engine Corolla. It was extremely flustering to have him in there with me.  I was awful. I finally got better when my choice was to drive the newer Corolla or the minivan of shame (only the back hatch worked so you had to crawl in and out that way). I got a hang of it quick when that was the choice!

When H had to learn my car, he had a lot of luck practicing on a friend's truck. I never thought about why, but it does make sense that the tiny sedans are more touchy.

zurberts

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Re: Driving a manual transmission/stick: Questions, thoughts
« Reply #66 on: July 23, 2019, 10:10:58 AM »
I live in Canada and never drove stick. My brother got one and I thought it would be fun to learn. Around the time I needed a new car (I had been driving about 10 years at this point), I tried his 2x. He told me "you already know how to drive, just add the clutch".

Went out and bought a manual transmission vehicle - 2005 Toyota Matrix XRS. Never looked back. Having it in front of me made it a fun challenge to get it right. Now I don't even think about it.

Something to consider....

The biggest trick is figuring how to get out of first. One trick I learned is to feather the accelerator as you are pulling off the clutch so it doesn't stall. The other freaky part was not knowing if the car is going to stall when you are coasting at a very slow speed. Once you get to know your car, you don't worry about that.