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Driving up a very steep mountain road with a manual transmission.

Preface: I grew up in the suburbs where I learned to drive on a stick. However, I went to college and live in New York City (going on 15 years now), so my experience as a driver is rather limited. Now on to the problem.

I am currently on vacation with friends in Costa Rica. We rented a beautiful house in a small beach town. However, the owners did not advertise that the house is built into the side of a hill. The house is only reachable via a VERY, VERY steep driveway (70-80 per cent incline) which contains several sharp switchbacks. The car we rented is a manual Daihatsu Terios. I'm the only one who knows how to drive stick, thus I am tasked with the problem of getting us up this hill alive.

Opon our arrival at the house it took me five attempts to get to the top of the hill. The engine would stall out every time before I even got around the first curve. I finally made it up by picking up enough speed that I was in second gear by the time I hit the driveway and then advanced into third gear.

Since then, however, I have been unable to get the car up the driveway, almost to the point of disaster. Yesterday the car stalled out halfway up the hill and I could not get it to move forward. It took the help of two locals to do it; one of whom, a mechanic, said the problem was two-fold: The car, advertised as a four-wheel drive, was something less than that; second, the A/C was on. He managed to get the car up the hill in first gear. Is that what I should be doing? Can anyone out there give me some advice on how to get up this hill? I'm tempted to just leave the car at the bottom and hoof it.


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