How To Drive A Manual Car – A Quick Guide

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How To Drive A Manual Car – A Quick Guide

How To Drive A Manual Car - A Quick Guide

When you learn to drive, it’s best to learn and pass your driving test, in a manual vehicle. Learning to drive automatic cars may take fewer lessons, however, if you pass your test in an automatic car you won’t then be able to drive manual transmission vehicles.

There are many advantages to manual cars, such as they cost less and they have better petrol mileage. A manual transmission vehicle also gives you better control of the car, which is beneficial in bad weather conditions and it is also more fun to drive!

Understanding the Basics of a Manual Transmission

Cars with manual transmissions, sometimes referred to as having stick shift gears, mean that the driver needs to operate a gear lever and clutch pedal to change gears.

Manual cars have three pedals; the clutch pedal, the brake pedal, and the accelerator pedal (from left to right). To make it go forward, press the clutch fully with your left foot and move the gear level into first gear. Then gently press the accelerator pedal with your right foot and slowly release your left foot from the clutch pedal. The tricky part is finding your biting point; this will feel like a slight bump and indicate that the engine and the wheels are perfectly matched. It will take some practice to master your clutch control.

As you continue to drive and increase your speed, you can change gear; from first gear to second gear, third gear and so on.

Step-by-Step Guide to Driving a Manual Car

Step 1: Familiarising Yourself with the Controls

We’ve put together a step-by-step guide to help you get used to a manual car.

Step 2: Familiarising with the controls

Make sure that the car brake is on. Adjust the driver’s seat to a comfortable position, put your seat belt on, and adjust the steering wheel and interior mirror if needed.

Before you start the engine, start by getting used to the gear lever. Move the lever through the gears, which should feel springy, following the shift pattern.

Step 3: Starting the Car

Make sure that the gear lever is in a neutral position. Then start the vehicle’s engine with the ignition key.

Step 4: Engaging the Clutch

Press the clutch pedal fully with your left foot, making sure it is fully depressed.

Step 5: Accelerating and Shifting Gears

Move the gear lever into first gear and use your right foot to press down gently on the accelerator. Slowly lift the clutch pedal as the clutch engages to find your biting point and release the handbrake. This should move the vehicle forward slowly.

Step 6: Braking and Downshifting

If you stall or move into the wrong gear, don’t worry! Press the brake pedal, turn the engine off, return the gear lever to neutral, to stop the car from moving forward, and start again.

Mastering Manual Car Driving Skills

Practice and patience are important when it comes to manual gearboxes but driving lessons will help you to master manual car driving and improve your confidence.


We hope that this article has given you an insight into how a manual car operates and encourages you to give manual driving a try. With the help of a qualified driving instructor, you’ll be driving in no time.

Olie Smith
Olie Smith
Olie Smith is a DSA Fully Approved Driving instructor with years of professional experience in driver training. Oliver set up Totally Driving to give a more bespoke, personal feel to driving lessons.

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