Is driving a manual impractical?

I’d really like to get a manual because they seem fun to drive and engaging. If not now, maybe later down the road, whenever I decide to get a new car. We currently own a manual 1998 geo tracker at our farm that i’ve driven a few times on the road, and I enjoyed it and I think with practice I could get much better at it.

I talked to my dad about buying a manual and he told me i’d hate it and automatics are much better since theyre easier to use. Hes driven manuals in the past so I think he knows what he’s talking about and I can see his point, but do you think daily driving a manual car is too hard and impractical? Are they really so difficult to use that id hate it? My dad’s worries were that I couldn’t share my car with other people and I would have trouble shifting from a stop on a hill. Could some manual owners share some advice?

There are so few people that can drive a manual that if you were to ill to drive and someone with you could not drive then what.

You now have what 5 threads going ? I say again finish school , see what you needs are then . You might not even need a vehicle if you land a good job in New York City . Our esteemed Moderator is a good example as she is in NYC.

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I have had both, even a manual in commuter stop and go traffic, it is just driving whatever you have, unless something happens to you left leg. It was not a day to day concern when I had a manual.

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If you are paying for it and you are caring for it, get what you want.
If you drive in stop-and-go traffic, you may eventually find the manual transmission to be annoying.
If you live in the suburbs or in the country, that is not a problem.
It is not necessarily a bad thing if your friends cannot drive your car, and it is probably less likely to be stolen as well. If your friends want you to teach them to drive a manual, that is a bad thing because they will trash your clutch.

I have been driving for 60 years and have owned ten cars. All but one were stick shift. My wife used to drive stick shift cars until she suffered a back injury at work, She still enjoys driving my stick shift BMW wagon occasionally…

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My Morris was a manual and my VW was a manual and I really never thought much about it. But driving a manual in Minneapolis stop and go traffic is a nuisance and a real pain in the knee. When my wife was heading to Norway and needed to rent a car, she needed to learn to drive a manual. We went to the GM dealer and they had exactly one old car on the lot with a manual to practice on. There is a reason there are so few manuals around, but its a good thing to know how to drive one.

In a hilly, congested city like San Francisco a manual wouldn’t be the best choice probably, but in suburban type driving, a manual/automatic makes little to no difference. I drive vehicles w/both types, and IMO the driving experience is better with a manual; but driving experience, that’s mostly a quibble. The bigger difference is robustness. Manuals from the posts we get here seem to be more robust devices, require less routine maintenance, and when the do need maintenance, it is less expensive maintenance, and overall generally last longer and more trouble-free than automatics. There was a thread here recently about checking the fluid level in the poster’s automatic. It took about 25 steps. The corresponding job on the same car with a manual transmission version took 3 steps. If you were to list all the models of cars in a long list, most of them wouldn’t offer manual transmissions. But most econoboxes continue to offer manual transmission option, and econoboxes are the biggest selling segment of vehicles. There’s lots of manual transmission cars on the roads, and some buyers won’t buy a car unless it is equipped with a manual. Driving a manual transmission is definitely not impractical. In fact it is very practical.

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Interesting situation with column shift manual transmission: the father of a college friend suddenly developed a severe back and right shoulder pain during our sophomore year in college. His father suffered with this excruciating pain for six years. He went to doctors, osteopaths and other specialists who could not give my friend’s father any relief. Six years later, the pain disappeared.
The problem was caused by a manual shift car. My friend’s father was the minister in a church in a large city. The family had owned a 1955 Oldsmobile with an automatic transmission. The Oldsmobile was traded for a 1960 Rambler with a column shift manual transmission. Six years later, the Rambler was replaced with a new Rambler with an automatic transmission. The column shift transmission was causing the problem. Now a floor shift might have been o.k. However, shifting a column shift meant moving the lever from the bottom left position on the "H’ to the top right position on the “H” when shifting from first to second gear. One would then have to reach up to shift from second to high gear which was on the bottom right of the “H”.
Shifting in and out of second gear was necessary in city driving. In rural driving, I often bypassed second gear and shifted into high gear as soon as the car gained momentum in first gear.

I have had both over the last 55 + year’s mostly manuel’s & alway’s prefered the manual. Now I have 2 pu’s & both are manuel. Another thing I like about them is if you feel any sliping it’ a few hundred to replace a clutch compared t several thousand’s to replace or rebuild an automatic.

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Somewhat depends on your commute as others have said, My older brother is rotating between a 2006 Subaru Legacy wagon and his 2009 VW GTi, both manuals and he’s determined to teach his kids how to drive on one of them in a few years. His commute home involves shifting down a gear or two to climb the hill that you gain somewhere around 900ft in elevation by the time you reach his street. The Only automatic to be found in his driveway of their 4 cars is the recently purchased Toyota Sequoia which hauls the kids around.

If you feel comfortable driving a manual then do it.

I have always enjoyed driving a manual. I have had a 1961 Volkswagen and a 1970 Volvo 144S, both manual and without a tachometer. I had to determine the shift points by ear. I once had a chance to drive a friend’s Porsche 912 with manual shift and a tach on highway 1 here in California. But the thrill was limited by the slower cars on the road.

My daily driver is manual, I enjoy it. Have a weekend car that is an automatic, hate it, get left leg cramps driving it, go figure.
Also, I am in LA area, so a lot of stop and go traffic. I am used to it.
It is a bit like asking if you like a zipper on your pants or buttons; to each its own.



I would call that a benefit.

That’s something You’ll learn in a very short time.
If You like driving a m/t, I see no reason not to get one.
You might even end up with a cheaper car.

I won’t get a car with an a/t before they cut off my right arm and my left leg.


For me the choice is simple. I drive a manual, and have since 1971, but if I had to drive in city traffic every day I’d go automatic.

The concerns your father is stating may be relevant in your later years, but not in your youth.

After 40 years of driving a manual, I no longer want to do it in traffic any more. But for decades, it never bothered me at all.

As for starting on hills, that’s a challenge you’ll conquer quickly and will feel proud of your ability to do so.

If you travel overseas and rent a car, knowing how to drive a manual will come in quite handy.

It sounds like if you don’t get the manual, that decision may haunt you for years.

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It all depends on where one commonly drives.
I owned two manual shift cars years ago, and I enjoyed driving them… until I had to drive into NYC on a regular basis. Once you are in stop & go traffic for more than a couple of minutes, the “charm” of a manual shift disappears very rapidly.

If the OP is going to do mostly rural driving, then a manual shift could probably be pleasurable.
On the other hand, if he has occasion to drive in an urban area… not so much.

I drove manual transmissions for about 20 years, then switched to auto when we had children. That was so we could share cars. 30 years later, I don’t miss the stick because most of my driving is commuting in some of the heaviest traffic in the US. If I had a hobby car, it would have a manual transmission because I like them when I’m not driving in heavy traffic.

Asking a question like that in a car centric group and expect a skewed answer. I’d been commuting in LA with a manual car and I rather drive it than the rental with an auto while my car was in a body shop. On the other hand, one of the last manual transmission tour bus i drove (before it got an automatic retrofit ) had me walking with a limp after 2 hours in traffic. Our new minivan has a dual clutch auto and it is vastly better than any auto I had driven because it allows one pedal driving most of the time.

Is it impractical? If really depends on you and the car that you have. Some manual cars are so intuitive and well designed they are a pleasure to drive. Others have manual just so the manufacturers can advertise a low entry price and they are just there to bait you into the showroom to try the auto.

As a person, are you willing to do things differently than everyone and ignore all the honking? Because that’s what you have to do when you drive a manual in traffic. Are you the type who plans ahead? You can’t just react to your surroundings because you can’t shift as fast as an auto. You have to find the right gear most of the time before you need it

I drive a M/T and consider no one wanting to borrow my car an advantage. It is also a quite effective theft deterrent. My father gave be an old 1954 Chevrolet 3 speed M/T when I was 13 years old and taught me how to drive it. My normal passenger (almost 10 year old Grandson) in my 2010 Kia Forte 6 speed manual would not be able to drive it if I was incapacitated although I let him shift from the passenger seat he has no experience with the clutch.

In that situation, it’s very helpful to have a hand-operated parking brake. You can hold your finger on the button and release it while giving it gas and letting out the clutch. On many steep hills here in Duluth, MN I have done this in the last 15 years. My 1999 Honda is still on its original clutch and I think the hand brake is one reason for that.

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The automatics today are better for most people, because most people don’t really know how to drive. It takes a while to develop the instinct of when is the best time to shift. Most drivers new to a manual tend to go beyond the ideal shift point before shifting.

I have found the the CVT transmissions tend to also operate beyond the ideal shift point and I believe that is because the programmers are still using the “rule of thumb” for a geared automatic. The rule of thumb is to go beyond peak power just a little so when it upshifts, you land a little higher on the power curve and don’t bog down. A CVT should stay right at the top of the power curve for whatever throttle position is being used instead of going over it.

But I digress, with a manual, when you master it, you can beat the EPA mileages because you can select the best ratios for your driving condition. With an automatic, you will be lucky to match the EPA estimates because you don’t have control over the gear selection, at least no as far as upshifting goes.

One other big advantage of a manual, far less likely to be stolen. The downside is that if you are carjacked, you may also get kidnapped so they have a driver. Worse case was in Memphis where the carjacker got so mad when he found out the car he was trying to jack was a manual that he killed the owner.