Beginner at Manual transmission


#1

Hi, I recently bought my second car a manual transmission 2006 mustang. My first car was a automatic and I recently switched to manual because I always wanted to learn how to drive one. THis is my 3rd week driving it and I’m kind of getting used to driving on the road and I’m getting a feel of the clutch but when I’m at a light and I start in first gear I still use up a good 2-3 seconds of gas before my clutch engages any tips on how to avoid burning the gas? I’ve stalled at light and just learned to put a hand in the air wave sorry and get moving. Also when I’m shifting very now and then it’ll rev before changing from 2nd to 3rd or so on. My clutch is fine I had a good friend of mine drive it he said it’s because I’m a beginner, any advice? Thanks a lot guys.


#2

Practice in an empty parking lot trying to start from a dead stop without touching the gas pedal and without stalling, by letting the clutch out gradually in first gear. But don’t touch the gas pedal. Do this repeatedly until you can do it smoothly without stalling.

Once you can do that, then practice the same thing with adding gas gently as you let the clutch out.


#3

Here is what Tom and Ray have to offer.


#4

Sound like you are in the learning curve and progressing well. Keep working on finding the optimum clutch engagement point with the right amount of gas to reduce the time spent slipping the clutch.

I’ll add a tip, make absolutely certain you don’t rest your foot on the clutch pedal while you drive. It will wear out the clutch very quickly. A friend of mine found that out the hard way on his first manual.

Congratulation on becoming a member of an increasingly elite club; People Who Can Drive a Manual Transmission! (We should get an internet forum, the oil guys have one, we should, too!)


#5

As noted practice your starts in a lot. You don’t want to burn out your clutch, which is easy to do if you’re slipping it a lot at every start.


#6

I’m with Mustangman on this. Having taught two kids to drive a manual, and having driven manuals for most of my life, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s as much about feel as it is about the mechanics of it. Eventually you’ll get to the point where you’ll be able to drive any manual, even one totally different from yours, with almost no adjustment in your style and almost without thinking about it. It’ll become as natural as breathing.


#7

Congrats on your new (for you) Mustang! I expect you’ll like it a lot. Trying to teach someone to use a clutch is like teaching them to ride a bicycle. Or to swim. Can’t be done via the internet. But the pointers above are all great, esp to take some time on your own in an unused parking lot to learn how to go from stopped and idling to the clutch fully engaged and in first gear. Just takes some practice.

I had a problem sort of like this one time. I went to New Zealand for two or three months, and had to learn how to drive on the left hand side of the road. It’s not as easy to do as it might seem. It took a week or two of practice but eventually it became so easy I didn’t need to think about it. Until I came back to the US, when I found I now had the same problem, only this time learning how to drive on the right hand side of the road. It took me another week of concentrated practice to get accustomed to driving on the right again. D’oh!


#8

Thanks a lot guys. Just a few more questions. I’m doing pretty well at shifting however downshifting is terrible I’ll be in the right speed but it seems to lurch every time I downshift. Also what are some good techniques to use on hills. I’m on atleast 2 steep ones every day and when I use the e brake I lurch forward fast or when I don’t I use the clutch to much


#9

Downshifting is over rated, put it in neutral and use the bakes, unless you are in danger of brake fade, if you need to downshift, use the same mph as upshift.


#10

You need to find the clutch release point. Thisis done best on a flat road and starting from a dead stop with the clutch only and not using the accelerator. Do this over and over until you feel that point. It will then help you both up shift and down shift.

@barkydog makes a good point. When ever you need to stop, normally, just leave the car in gear you are in and don’t worry about down shifting. Engage the clutch just before you stop. Don’t use the transmission for normal stops. When downshifting for downhills and saving extended brake use, again, I agree with @barkeydog and just use the normal rpm when up shifting. Again, only use engine braking to save brake fade from extended use.


#11

@Jasmed: “Practice in an empty parking lot trying to start from a dead stop without touching the gas pedal and without stalling, by letting the clutch out gradually in first gear. But don’t touch the gas pedal. Do this repeatedly until you can do it smoothly without stalling.”

I was about to recommend the exact same thing.

As for downshifting, you should only be doing it to control your speed if you’re going down a log hill and you’re trying to control your speed without overheating your brakes. Otherwise, you should only be shifting into a lower gear after slowing down with the brakes. Brake jobs are cheaper than clutch jobs.

One way to make your clutch last longer, especially on a Mustang, is to make sure your foot is completely off the clutch before you give it a lot of gas. While you’re in the clutch’s friction zone, be gentle on the gas. I know you’re going to want to accelerate quickly in a car like a Mustang, but gentle shifting can preserve your clutch. Also, don’t linger in the friction zone. Try to have your foot completely off the clutch within a car-length or two of movement. If you’re foot isn’t off the clutch after the car has moved two car lengths, you’re lingering in the friction zone too long.


#12

What I mean is when I go on ramps I enter at 40 and after the turn I’m at 30 and I read that it’s better to downshift to another gear and then switch instead of using the same gear. I’m also worried of burning my clutch because every time I go uphill I smell it burning


#13

Downshifting before a turn is proper driving practice. There are times I would downshift a gear or 2 before crossing an intersection even if it is green. Should you need to brake before you cross, you are already engine braking as you lift your foot off the gas while reaching for the brake. And if you need to punch your way through a yellow, doing that in a lower gear is much more effective.

As you should notice by now, after you let the clutch out after a downshift, the engine’s speed rises. There are 2 ways to make the engine spins faster after a downshift.

One of the ways, as you’ve been doing, is to simply let out the clutch. Spinning up the engine this way takes a bit of momentum from the entire vehicle, hence the lurch. This also wears out the clutch a tiny bit every time you let it out. Another way to raise the engine speed is to give it just enough gas, then let out the clutch. This technique is call rev-matching. When done right, you get a much smoother ride and negligible clutch wear. However, this technique requires practice and the fuel you burn may offset the amount of clutch wear you may save. However, I’m of the opinion that fuel is much easier to replace than clutch.

As for hill starts, may be you’re reving harder than you should. Before your clutch foot reaches the friction point, the engine should not be reving at all. Once you are at the friction point, you may add as much gas as appropriate for the situation. However, this does not mean the engine should rev up way pass idle. For something as powerful as a Mustang, 1.2k rpm is plenty for a hill start. In my last economy car, with a 1.5L 4 banger, 1.5k rpm on the tach was all I needed to climb the steepest San Fransncisco hills. The trick is to ease out your left foot just enough to keep the rev close to idle, regardless of how much gas you’re adding, but not so much that you stall.

BTW, stalling is a fact of life when driving a manual. Even seasoned driver stalls once in a blue moon. If you’re adding too much gas as an insurance against stalling, you’re buying that insurance with clutches.


#14

If you’re smelling burning clutch on every hill you’re doing something wrong. Do you know somebody that’s good with a MT? Ask them to drive with you and give you advice, then let them drive and observe what they do.


#15

@texases: “If you’re smelling burning clutch on every hill you’re doing something wrong.”

It’s not necessarily a sign the OP is doing something wrong. It could indicate the clutch is worn out or is out of adjustment.


#16

If you smell burning clutch something IS wrong. A worn clutch or one out of adjustment is "something wrong."
Have someone who knows manuals ride with you and give a critique.
Welcome to the clutch world. You are entering it just as they disappear from our lives.


#17

@chunkyazain
As a matter if fact, my brother the truck driver who taught me to drive a standard always reminded me during our sessions. If you aren’t stalling out once in a great while, you probably are riding the clutch too much on start up. Obviously, we don’t make a habit of it.


#18

Cool I’ll have my friend come with me and watch me drive. My brother in law does rev matching however he said in California it’s illegal because it’s race baiting. As far as smelling the clutch it used to happen a good amount at first however now not so much the other day I spent 15 min starting on hills then coasting to the steepest part then started again. It smelled pretty bad at the end of that. I was around 2-3k on my tach it just feels like it needs that extra gas to get moving quickly without rolling backwards but then again I jump forward and I’ll already need to put it in neutral or I’ll get to close to the car in front of me. Keep in mind the hills I’m on are always nearly every time heavy traffic. Except when I practiced on them at night.


#19

Why are you using the “e brake” while moving? They used to be called emergency brakes but now are referred to as parking brakes. They only activate the rear brakes and should never be used while in motion. The car will just skid and not stop. Only use it as a parking brake when parked.


#20
Only use it as a parking brake when parked.

And if you’re ever driving down the road and you brakes fail…I suggest you use the Parking brake as an emergency brake. That’s what I’d do. You have no other way of stopping - short of sticking your foot out dragging it on the ground.