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Five Tips To Help A Beginner Master Changing Gears

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Five Tips To Help A Beginner Master Changing Gears

If you're accustomed to driving an automatic, making the switch to a manual transmission can be a fairly big move.  Many people are afraid to drive a manual, thinking that it will be very complicated and difficult.  It's actually a good skill to have even if you plan to always drive an automatic, just in case you need to drive a stick shift in an emergency.

What follows is a basic guide to shifting that will help you start off on the right foot.

Step 1 – Depress the Clutch Fully

There is no halfway here. If you depress the clutch halfway, or three quarters, or seven eighths of the way, you're going to have problems. Make sure the clutch is fully depressed before you do anything else. It definitely matters that you get this right, and it's not hard to do..

Step 2 – Apply the Brakes As Needed

If you feel the car moving slightly, apply the brakes.

Step 3 – Move the Stick into Neutral

Once you get used to shifting manually, you'll be able to do this without looking, or even thinking about it, but until you're comfortable, by all means, glance down to make sure you get it right.

Step 4 – Start the Car

Pretty self explanatory.

Step 5 – Shift to First Gear

The important thing to remember here is that back in step one, you depressed the clutch fully. It should still be fully depressed when you do this.

Step 6 – Begin Disengaging the Clutch

To do this, you'll simultaneously ease your foot off the clutch, while easing your other foot onto the gas pedal.  It's kind of a rocker movement between your two feet.

That gets you in motion from a parked position. To shift while you're in motion, the same basic steps apply, but you'll need to watch your RPM's. When they begin to drift outside of a normal range, that's your cue to shift.

Follow the same basic guidelines. Clutch fully depressed, shift into the next higher or lower gear, depending on whether you're accelerating or decelerating, then, once you are in the appropriate gear, slowly release the clutch while reapplying the gas. A bit of practice and you'll be a pro, driving without even thinking about changing gear.

If you have any transmission questions, visit our shop at 12515 127 Street NW, Edmonton, AB, T5L 1A3, or book an appointment today
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