If you’ve always wanted to have a car with a manual transmission, but you’ve never driven stick before, then it’s important to take the time to learn how to do it properly. If you’ve just purchased a European automobile, and you want to keep the clutch and transmission in good shape, then it’s worth it to learn how to drive a manual correctly. At Clarke’s European in Vancouver, we can make sure that your car is running smoothly, no matter if you’ve just bought it or you’ve had it for several years.

Taking it Slow

Before you jump behind the wheel and take off down the road in your new car, take the time to research what kind of gearbox it has. Reading through the owner’s manual can give you a better idea of what the car can do, and how you can best care for the clutch and the transmission. If you have questions about the car, one of our expert mechanics will be more than happy to help. Taking it slow and doing your research can help you once you get behind the wheel and are ready to drive.

Familiarize Yourself with the Controls

If all you’ve ever driven are cars with automatic transmissions, then you’re used to only having two pedals – a gas pedal and a brake pedal. In a manual, there’s a third pedal to the left of the brake. This is the clutch, and you’ll need to familiarize yourself with it before you start the car. You may need to practice moving your right foot between the brake pedal and the gas, while keeping your left foot on the clutch, and remember, you may need both your right foot and left foot to depress the clutch and the brake at the same time. Practicing this while sitting in your driveway is easier than trying it for the first time when you’re on the highway going 60 mph.

The gear shifter, or “stick,” is the next feature with which you’ll need to become comfortable. It’s most likely located in the center console near your right hand, and the shift pattern should be displayed on the top of the shifter. Depending on how many speeds your car has (usually five or six), you’ll see numerals displayed, along with the letter “R” for “Reverse.” It’s also important to note that the neutral position can be found “between” the gears, and this is good to remember before you set off down the road, since you’ll want to shift into neutral when you come to a full stop. This saves you from having to shift all the way down from fourth or fifth into first, and then back up once you begin to accelerate once again.

Practicing driving with a manual transmission can help you feel more confident before you begin using your new car on a regular basis. Shifting in the driveway with the emergency brake on can help you become more comfortable with the pedals and the shifter, and you won’t have to worry about running into anything on the road.

At Clarke’s European in Vancouver, we can provide repairs and maintenance for your manual transmission, and make sure that everything is working as it should. If the clutch seems to be sticking, or you can feel the transmission “slipping” as you shift between gears, bring it to our auto shop today. We know how to work on a number of makes and models, and we promise that you’ll always receive the highest level of service from our team. We’re located at 2612 Main Street, and we’re open Monday through Friday from 7:30am to 6:00pm.

We look forward to helping you!