Join the Car Talk Community!

Discussion Rules

Welcome to the Car Talk Community!

Want to ask a question or join the discussion? Great! Join now.

Sign In Register

Place to rent manual transmission car

I'm interested in learning how to drive a stick shift car ( I recently got my license) and am looking for a place to rent a car to practice on for the day. My dad's car, which I've tried several times, is very temperamental and has a new clutch, making it difficult to even start up. Others in my family won't even attempt to drive it because it's so finnicky. I recently did 2 hours of driving with an instructor, but the car was too forgiving and no matter what I did with the clutch, it wouldn't stall. I've called all of the rental companies in my area, but none rent manual transmission cars. Any ideas on where I could get a stick-shift car to practice on?


  • edited January 2013
    You Could Have Considerable Trouble Finding One To Rent To Practice Shifting Skills.

    Beginners can damage clutches and transmissions. Rental car companies would probably have trouble keeping clutches in their vehicles and probably avoid them. I wouldn't let anybody "practice" on one of my cars, the only one with a manual transmission.

    Perhaps you could go "car shopping," new or used. A salesperson would probably over-look rooky status to possibly make a sale (and it's not their car).

  • Haven't seen a rental company that rents manuals in the US for years. I travel about 10-15 times a year and rent a lot of cars.

    You might try a place like "Rent-A-Wreck".
  • @annie22, unless you are over 21, I doubt that you could be listed as a driver on a rental contract.
  • annie22--I think you are going to have to learn on your dad's car. This isn't all bad. You are going to be faced with tempermental cars again in your driving career. Every manual transmission car works a little differently. If you can drive your dad's tempermental car that is not forgiving, you can probably drive any manual should the occasion arise.
  • We used the only one on the local Buick car lot to use for the day when my wife needed to learn to drive a manual. But that was me that was well versed, and her being 30 or so under my guidance. They may have a problem with a younger person that's trying to abuse it and get it to stall. Nothing wrong with a car that won't stall though. Usually the idle is set up higher on a manual or the clutch is already slipping and on its way out.
  • Fly down to Costa Rica for a few days and rent a car. Most rentals there are stick shift. Seriously I don't think you'll find a stick shift rental in the USA.
  • I expect there are rental car's with manuals available, but you won't find them at the main rental companies. Avoid Hertz, Avis, Enterprise, etc. Look in the yellow pages for companies you've never heard of and seem to be renting older cars, or specialty cars. Rent A Wreck as mentioned above would be one to phone, but I think there are quite a few smaller rental companies like this.
  • Unless you can get your parents to rent the car, I doubt you'll be able to rent a car yourself, regardless. I think most places won't rent to anyone under 21~25.

    You might look for a $500~1000 beater car/truck with stick to practice on. This way you aren't out too much money when you're ready for another car. Get a job somewhere and earn some money to fix up or save to buy a newer car while the beater still runs.
    F-150 with the 300ci V6 and stick shift, Ford Ranger 4cyl stick shift, Pontiac sunfire, chevy cavalier, Ford Escort, Hyundai Accent are good choices. Any Honda or Toyota will likely be TOO beat up in that price range. Those vehicles should have plenty of parts out there to fix them up when something breaks on it.
  • @bscar--You are correct about the age to rent a car. My son was in college, but was 21. He loaned the car the car that was in my name to a family in the church he attended so that this family could take their daughter back to her college. The car was hit head-on and was totaled. Fortunately, nobody was hurt. However, the insurance company balked at renting him a car. The insurance company said that a car couldn't be rented to anyone under 25. I argued with them that I paid a higher insurance premium to insure my son and that they could do the same. Ultimately, the insurance company gave in and my son was provided with a rental car. It wasn't much of a car--I think it was a Dodge Shadow that probably came from Rent-A-Wreck--but the insurance did provide the rental.
    I did rent a manual shift car back in 1980 when my wife and I went from our town in the midwest to Flagstaff, AZ by rail. I rented the cheapest car I could find to drive up to Grand Canyon and to drive into the Painted Desert. The car was a Chevrolet Vega station wagon and had a manual shift. Since that time, my wife has arranged for the rental cars.
This discussion has been closed.