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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
In a long time, I'll be looking to get a new car. I want something affordable but fun to drive, something semi-sporty. I've never driven a manual before; and I used to live there were a bunch of hills and those seem annoying for manual cars (maybe I'm wrong). Anyway, I now live in a very flat part of the world and am considering a manual now. I have some questions:

1. How hard is it to learn to drive stick?
2. How much damage could I do to a new car while learning to drive stick?
3. Is it worth it?
 

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1:) Too hard to say. it's about coordination, but it's also how you are taught, and what you are taught in.

2:) No, unless you are taught poorly or become flustered easily and don't respond to tactile (sound/feel/motion) feedback readily.

3:) It has it's moments, I do miss driving a stick sometimes, others not so much. I daily drove stick for hundreds ot thousands of miles, but been all auto the last 15.

If you are athletic/coordinated, you can get the gist in a half hour, polish the new skill in a few days, become effortless (automatically/don't think about it) in a month. If you are more in the normal range, it might take longer to become proficient, but I've seen lots of "poor" drivers manage stick. I taught myself with an old 70's under-powered 4 cyl pickup in a couple of days. It was easy to stall, but easy to "feel and hear" too.
 

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1. If you put in the time to learn then, you could get it down within a week or two. I wouldn't drive on any main highways or streets though. It also depends on the type of car/clutch. There's different types and they all feel different or slightly different. It matters to some; to others it's not a big deal. Overall, you at least need good coordination/multitasking skills. You're constantly going to have to think about/focus on the road, yourself and driving (a lot more) compared to an automatic.

**Start off with a straight road to learn how to accelerate and then try roads with low hills and turns so you can get a feel for shifting on the spot. It's good practice.**

2. You'd really have to burn the clutch to get to that point.

3. It's great for the weekends. Driving out to the lake or on a "fun road". I wouldn't use it as a daily driver though bc of traffic, unless where you're at has no traffic.
 

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I forget that manual is the norm in Europe (or at least the UK). The vast majority of people with driving licenses here learned with a manual, so I can't comment on how easy it is to switch from auto to manual. But if you live in the U.S. where most cars are automatic, why bother learning manual? The only reason manual transmission cars exist is 1) cost and 2) stupid people stuck in the 80s who think they're "in control" by changing gear, when modern paddle shift or even standard automatics are significantly faster, more efficient and reliable.
 

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my current car is a 17 Mazda 3 sport which is a fun car to drive
it's a 6 speed stick
the only time you need to use the clutch is when you are completely stopped
if you shift at around 1200 rpm's you can change gears by simply using 2 fingers w/o the clutch
it will shift smoothly
In all my years of driving stick I have never replaced a clutch or tranny
 

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I've never driven a manual before; and I used to live there were a bunch of hills and those seem annoying for manual cars (maybe I'm wrong).
Yeah the hill starts arent fun

1. How hard is it to learn to drive stick?
You can probably join calmer traffic after 20 minutes to an hour of practicing in a parking lot.

2. How much damage could I do to a new car while learning to drive stick?
Very little unless youre absolutely incompetent and not mechanically inclined.

How well can you ride a bike for example? Do you have that present state of mind? Can you quickly adjust to physical and sensory feedback and information? Are you a fast learner when it comes to these algorithmic actions? This is the difference between not stalling once in the parking lot or sitting there time and time again frying the clutch, not understanding what they are doing. This is the difference between a good driver and someone who is "average".

3. Is it worth it?
Yes.

my current car is a 17 Mazda 3 sport which is a fun car to drive
it's a 6 speed stick
the only time you need to use the clutch is when you are completely stopped
if you shift at around 1200 rpm's you can change gears by simply using 2 fingers w/o the clutch
it will shift smoothly
In all my years of driving stick I have never replaced a clutch or tranny
Thats some of the dumbest advice Ive read...

First of all 1200 is quite low in terms of rpm, second of all shifting without the clutch is pretty advanced stuff and not something you can just start doing willy-nilly. If for some reason it does not shift smoothly then youll be looking at a transmission rebuild before long. The clutch is there for a reason and it makes no sense to not use it in everyday driving.
 

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1. It's very easy to learn. You just need a little practice to build muscle memory.

2. Realistically, not much even if your clutch technique is pretty poor for the first 1000 miles (and that's not likely).

3. Totally depends on the car and your level of driving enthusiasm. If you do find a car with a bit of pep that you actually enjoy driving, go for it. It's a lot more fun.

Keep in mind, however, that some manuals are a lot easier to handle and more practical than others. My first car, a 90s Toyota with 125 horsepower had a really light clutch, so leg fatigue was rarely a concern. My current vehicle with over 400 horsepower is quite the opposite, which can definitely be a pain in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Also, some newer cars have hill assist features, which prevent drivers from rolling backwards as they're trying to start, and that can make life a lot easier...
 

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Thats some of the dumbest advice Ive read...

First of all 1200 is quite low in terms of rpm, second of all shifting without the clutch is pretty advanced stuff and not something you can just start doing willy-nilly. If for some reason it does not shift smoothly then youll be looking at a transmission rebuild before long. The clutch is there for a reason and it makes no sense to not use it in everyday driving.[/QUOTE]

I've been driving stick longer than you've been alive
ive had my commercial license for 35 years
I have driven 10 /14/18 wheel vehicles
I used to do storm emergency work and have driven in flood/tornado/hurricane and blizzard areas
off road and swamp areas
I know what the fuck I'm talking about
I also used to do street racing before you were even a glimmer in your fathers eyes
my last work truck had over 300,000 miles on it and it was the only truck out of 17 that still had the original clutch and tranny in it
all the others with less miles were on their 2nd/3rd clutch/tranny
modern transmissions are designed /synced to be used as clutchless
 

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The point here is that it isnt a good idea to tell some noob to shift without the clutch.

Its the same as saying telling someone considering med school that surgery is easy-peasy based on your 50 years of experience and that they should jump right in and cut out their own appendix with a kitchen knife of some shit

"bla bla bla I know things because Im old and because Ive done this this and this and therefore you need to listen to what Im saying" bitch you can be old and still be stupid and give stupid advice, the two are not mutually exclusive :D
 

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The point here is that it isnt a good idea to tell some noob to shift without the clutch.

Its the same as saying telling someone considering med school that surgery is easy-peasy based on your 50 years of experience and that they should jump right in and cut out their own appendix with a kitchen knife of some shit

"bla bla bla I know things because Im old and because Ive done this this and this and therefore you need to listen to what Im saying" bitch you can be old and still be stupid and give stupid advice, the two are not mutually exclusive :D
I speak from experience
you speak out of your ass
yes I will get infracted, meh
I am done with you
 

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If you like your syncros (inside your transmission), you will use a clutch. Even if the car doesn't "seem" to need it.

Replacing syncros isn't as easy/cheap as replacing a clutch, and were never designed for the load transfer of a clutch-less shift. New transmissions tolerate quite a bit, but it was not designed for this type of use.
 

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If you like your syncros (inside your transmission), you will use a clutch. Even if the car doesn't "seem" to need it.

Replacing syncros isn't as easy/cheap as replacing a clutch, and were never designed for the load transfer of a clutch-less shift. New transmissions tolerate quite a bit, but it was not designed for this type of use.
Yeah, this.

Shifting without the clutch is a racing thing afaik, its to save time and keep the vehicle accelerating as much as possible. In such an application, the expected mileage out of an engine or transmission is not measured in the hundreds of thousands or even more kilometers.
 

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1. How hard is it to learn to drive stick?

IMO it's not difficult so much as it's a steep learning curve. I'm usually a conceptual learner, but for this I had to just get in the car for a couple hours straight and feel it.

Speaking of - do yourself a favor when you start and just ease your foot off the clutch and stall it so you are acquainted with that experience - the loose feeling under your foot, the lugging, the "clunk" - and won't panic at it when it happens by accident. For me, once I understood how to get to the friction point, stay at it, and then come back from it, everything clicked. It was really a matter of learning the physical sensations.

2. How much damage could I do to a new car while learning to drive stick?

I'll interpret this one as "how much damage am I likely to do", which is probably not much.

Still - I'd hit up coworkers, friends, family. The nice thing about manuals is a lot of manual drivers are enthusiastic about it and chances have it someone has an older car and would be happy to spend a couple hours repressing their gentle laughter while you stall out. I've taught friends in my car before and enjoyed it, and I know my brother has, too.

3. Is it worth it?

I think so, but I'll give you my thoughts and let you decide.

When I was around 17, my dad took me to a relatively flat high school parking lot early on Sunday mornings to learn to drive stick on my parents' old car. It was fun. He even brought cones to make obstacles. After that, my parents surprised me with a beautiful nice used manual and sold the automatic van I'd been driving. It was essentially sink or swim for me, and I was quite nervous, though excited.

During this time my mom mentioned me that my grandpa (NYPD beat cop, Navy serviceman, nature lover, funny, super laid back, really cool guy all around) taught her manual because he wanted her to be able to drive any car should an emergency present itself. I remember her telling me she really understood that when at some point she was able to get my dad out of a dangerous situation when they were young because of it. Me - I've been able to save my own ass when an apparently very drunk friend driving me and some others home from a college party was getting much too close to the cliff edges of the small mountain road for any of our comfort - I raised hell and drove us back instead. I do like knowing I can drive the majority of cars on the road if need be (yes, I can double-clutch too, very poorly).

Manual transmissions do have less parts, which means lighter, less expensive cars, and less fancy stuff to break, in theory. But it's true that they're not faster, or more efficient. They don't save time and they don't save gas, especially if you rather enjoy "spirited" driving. Overall, they're outpaced by newer technology. And they can be a real pain in the ass in stop-and-go traffic in a steeply hilly area.

But here's the key:

bigstupidgrin said:
fun to drive
Driving stick is more of an archaic pastime than a modern technology, sure, but so is chess, and sailing, and plenty of other sorts of intelligent, skillful recreation.

And at least to me, driving manual is fun. It's engaged, tactile, responsive driving. At/under city speed limits (ok, maybe slightly over) I find an automatic a bit soporific - generally I feel like I'm piloting a heavy boat or perhaps a nice little cloud, pleasant enough, quite insulated. When you're driving manual, you feel the road through your feet. Your hands are busy between the wheel and the shifter. You become acquainted with the feeling of taughtness under your foot when the engine revs high, angling your heel and toe just the right way to blip the throttle to downshift smoothly, the sheer joy of whipping around a corner after throwing your gearshift from 5 into 2 (learn stick and then come back and tell me this isn't bliss). You learn to downshift when you're ready to whip around someone dragging along at a snail's pace in the left lane, and you hear the engine growl and purr as it responds to your commands. It's a visceral experience, thrilling, sexy, fluid (eventually, anyway), tactile. The car feels like an extension of yourself, carrying your energy through it in your pursuit of the next open road, taking driving from a reasonably pleasant but somewhat bland chore to a cultivated hobby, a sport, a physical pleasure. If that's your thing - yes, it's worth it.

Also - keep weight:enginepower ratio at least less:decent. That will enhance your enjoyment significantly. And a bright side - learning stick does force you to learn more about the car itself, and the physical forces that impact it, which in turn teaches you to drive better. At least personally, I know very few manual drivers who are absolute shit at driving. Actually - I can't think of any. Only some self-important pricks who drive too ostentatiously and aggressively, and I'll take that over meatheaded oblivion on the road.

vinniebob said:
my current car is a 17 Mazda 3 sport which is a fun car to drive
it's a 6 speed stick
the only time you need to use the clutch is when you are completely stopped
if you shift at around 1200 rpm's you can change gears by simply using 2 fingers w/o the clutch
it will shift smoothly
In all my years of driving stick I have never replaced a clutch or tranny
Lol! Sometimes my Honda's 3rd gear is fussy and doesn't want me to shift into it unless I rev match. The first time it happened without me clutching, I couldn't decide if it was a miracle or if I'd broken the car and just not realized. I went home and told my dad and he gave me a high five.
 
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