A Beginner’s Guide to Driving Stick Shift: Getting Started

In this series, we’ll discuss tips, tricks, and best practices for driving stick shift. But first, let’s start with the basics.

What is the Clutch?

Manual transmissions require that the driver change gears by depressing a clutch pedal and using a stick shift. The clutch pedal connects the transmission to the engine, and the input shaft of the transmission turns at the same rpm as the engine. When a driver changes gears, the clutch pulls away from the transmission so that you can shift into a different gear and produce a different rpm value at the output shaft. Basically, the clutch connects the engine’s power to the car’s wheels through a series of gears.

What is stalling?

Stalling is when the engine suddenly stops turning due to increased engine load brought on by not getting enough air, fuel, or electric spark. happens when you haven’t properly released the clutch. A common reaction is to keep pressing the accelerator, but giving the engine more gas won’t keep you from stalling.

Getting Started

Most cars with a manual transmission require the clutch be fully depressed before starting and/or shifting into gear. Once the engine is running, shift into first gear and slowly release the clutch. Mentally mark the spot when you feel the car start to shake slightly- this is known as the catch point, and knowing where it is will come in handy later.

Continue holding the clutch at this point as the car starts to move forward for about 5 seconds, then slowly transition pressure from clutch to gas.

At V&F

…we strive to provide our customer a well-rounded knowledge of all things automotive.

Since 1988, our family owned and operated service center has been providing top quality auto repair services to Agawam, Feeding Hills, Southwick, West Springfield and the surrounding Massachusetts communities. If your car needs maintenance or repair, call us at (413)314-2280 or schedule an appointment online.

Written by Nicole Palange

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