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Should I buy a standard I dont know how to drive?

Hi All

So I finally have the cash to get myself a new vehicle! I have a budget of about 12000. I am looking at a Nissan Frontier or Toyota Tacoma. I have found a couple in my budget and below my mileage limit, the problem is they are both manual transmissions! I wont need to drive this car for long distances for at least 4-6 months after buying, so my question is: Is it worth it to save the money and teach myself to drive a standard? Or will I wind up spending more on a busted transmission than I would save?


Edit: I have been driving for a number of years (I am 23) and this would be my 2nd or 3rd car, this would be the first car that would be entirely my own however.

I have seen inexperienced drivers destroy a clutch in a short amount of time. Your best bet is find someone to teach you before you purchase the vehicle. Also if your daily driving is heavy stop and go traffic you might find that you will wish you had not purchased the manual. The other part, how are you going to test drive or get vehicle home if you don’t know how to shift the manual.

If you do a lot of city driving a standard transmission is not for you…you’ll be constantly using the clutch and run the gears manually 100 of times and your left foot will feel sour after a while. Automatic transmission are almost bulletproff if you change the transmission fluid when required. Standard transmission will require a new clutch at 120k miles (average lifepan). Learning to drive a standard transmission is not difficult…it took me a few lessons and 1 week of practice before I felt confortable.

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No way I’d get a manual tranny on a pickup. If you were wanting a sports/sporty car, then maybe.

wife got a new manual trans car yrs ago. i had to drive it away from dealer. which annoyed her. we went about 1 mile to our yr round fair grounds which mimics a small city. but no traffic in off season. she practiced there. got it after 10 min or so. stop and go. she drove car to work next day. car was 4cyl with about 60hp. clutch started to slip at about 75k miles. i put new clutch disc in for $25. i bet trans weighed 62 lbs

Many years ago, a friend of mine who worked at a dealership told me the story of a brand-new manual transmission car that she sold to a young woman. Within 3 days, the young woman had destroyed the clutch, and the car came in on the end of a tow hook. The young woman was apparently incredulous that the car’s warranty did not cover her negligence/abuse of the car.

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The following statement is my opinion and I don’t really have any data to back it up. I think avoiding manual transmissions except in sport performance vehicles is advisable because : with the number of people who don’t know how to use manual trans I think if I become to ill to drive at least with auto trans the person with me can drive me home.

Having owned both, and having just helped a new driver through the many challenges, I would not recommend a manual for any first-time driver. There is enough to learn the first year or two. My second car was a manual, I had good instruction, and I still burned up the clutch in six months. So, yes, you will likely have added costs and downtime. Having owned midsize (small) pickups in the past, I agree with the folks above that it sounds like fun but really isn’t. Later, sports cars will be worth considering with sticks, or even small sporty cars like a Civic or Mini.

Friend of mine bought a brand new Scion tC several years ago. He was a bit of a stubborn minded guy; you couldn’t tell him anything once he made up his mind, even if he was wrong. Anyway, he insisted on his new Scion having a manual transmission. As I recall, the dealer had to special order the car from Japan, as there were none available domestically like he wanted. He finally got the car, started driving it, really liked it.

About a year or two later I asked him about the car. He said they’d had to get rid of it. Why? His wife could not drive a standard, and basically that became a problem when her car was unavailable.

I don’t know if the OP has a significant other in his life or anyone else potentially driving the vehicle… but you’d best think long term when you buy a manual transmission these days.

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Save a little more for an auto transmission in a pickup. You will also have to learn how to use the clutch with different loads and on different surfaces.

I learned to drive a manual in a 1964 international harvester pick up truck. I don’t see it as gloom and doom, have a friend teach you or learn from car talk. My last 2 trucks were manual transmissions, no complaints or regrets. I did not see any reference to how long this person has been driving.

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I have driven a stick all my life. When the kid next door got his license, he had a hand me down 80’s car that was stick. Me and another neighbor worked with him and he learned to drive the car pretty fast. It has been a year and the clutch seems to be holding.
As far as the convenience of the automatics, I am used to driving stick, so even in crazy LA traffic I am fine.

Can you chew gum and walk? Were you able to keep pace with others in your high school gym class when everybody did jumping jacks? Have you ever played a sport satisfactorily?

If “Yes” than you can learn to drive in a manual transmission vehicle in a short amount of time. I did. That’s all that was available when I learned. It’s not that tough.

As far a pick-up truck is concerned, I don’t thing a manual is the hot set-up, ESPECIALLY if it was used for towing or carrying heavy loads. I believe an automatic can handle towing better, particularly if it’s got a tow package with transmission cooler, etcetera.

Look for evidence of a trailer hitch and positively have a trusted mechanic check the vehicle prior to purchase, paying extra attention to the clutch/transmission or get a car with manual or an automatic truck.

That makes a lot of sense.

I liked that manual transmissions last longer and give better mileage but they are a pain especially in traffic or going up bridges where traffic is stalled.

Me, too but that is no longer true, at least the mileage thing. Many manual trans cars get worse mpg’s than their auto-equipped counterparts. The manual may have 5 speeds, the auto has 6, 8 or even 10 gears allowing the engine to operate more at peak efficiency. Lockup convertors almost eliminate slip which robs mpg’s and HP.

And while the manual transmission itself is pretty bulletproof, an automatic will generally last longer than a clutch.

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I had a Mazda Protege with a manual and 242K miles.

Never replaced a clutch, just a throw out bearing.

I think if you are going to use longevity or gas mileage as a reason to get a manual, you probably will loose or it is a wash. Get a manual if you enjoy driving one, otherwise just get a reliable automatic and change the ATF frequently.

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My post related to longevity of parts.

I’ve lived way up dirt roads and spent a lot of time driving to even more remote places. If I couldn’t start it myself, I’d have a long walk to get help and need somebody who really wanted to help me, tow trucks not going out that way. I’ve started my manual pickup by myself many times. It’s 30 years old; I changed the slave cylinder when it leaked, but otherwise it’s original parts and still seems to work well. Then again I broke my parents’ 3-on-a-tree learning how to drive on the family station wagon (our only car) 50 years ago - at least I blame myself 'cause it failed when I was driving it.

That said, I’d advise anyone who asks not to - advice I generally give to anyone who asks about anything: commitment matters.

I’ll be the flip side argument… I’ve never had to rebuild or replace an automatic transmission.

I HAVE, however locked up a 4 speed Datsun 510, Blown out a Saginaw 4 speed and had to replace the input shaft bearing on the replacement, replaced failed shifter shaft bushings on a Saturn SC2 twice, replaced the clutch 3 times in 28,000 miles because the hub springs were ready to fall out, broken 3rd gear and input shafts on a pair of T5 Tremecs more times than I can count, had a Corvette that failed the clutch pressure plate spring, and burned up a clutch disc on a Honda S2000. Whew!

What does that prove? Same as you getting 240K+ miles on a disk. Just one person’s anecdotal experience. Most drivers aren’t as gentle as you on a clutch nor as hard as I am! :smile:

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