A caller wants to know how relevant it is in this day and age to teach her daughters how to drive stick. I feel that it is very relevant. I learned just a few years ago at the age of 33. I bought a 1998 VW Jetta for $3000.00 and had a friend (a guy) drive it to my house. After researching, “How to drive stick” on the internet and a few lessons from my Dad (he used to drive manual in 1975) I was able to get moving. Now, I am driving my second manual transmission vehicle, a 2008 VW Rabbit. I feel that I have become a better driver. I listen to how the car works, sometimes drive without a radio on. And simply, in this day and age, you can’t drive stick and talk on a cell phone. It is a fabulous skill for young women to have. And yes, it is rare. All the more reason to prepare them with this skill.
Well said. If you travel abroad and rent cars it is very likely you won’t be able to find a car with auto trans to rent, another reason to know how to drive a stick.
My kids (both 39 now - boy/girl twins) learned to drive in a VW bus with a stick. Those days predated cell phones and texting, but I did feel they would be better drivers learning on a stick. You are correct in that a new driver learns more about the car and is more “tuned in” to driving when they learn to drive a stick shift car.
For 30 years I drove company cars that were all auto trans. First car I bought myself when I retired was a stick shift car. I missed the fun and “experience” of driving a stick.
I agree that it’s relevant. Vehicles are still being manufactured with manual transmissions so a driver should be skilled in driving them. My daughter learned to drive a manual shift in my 92’ RS Camaro with a 5 speed tranny. She was a fast learner and a couple of lessons was all she needed. My son learned in the same car a year later but it took him three times as long. In my humble opinion…if a driver can’t drive a manual shift then I can’t really call them a “driver”. Vehicle operator maybe but not a driver.
My daughter was shocked and dismayed that her graduation used Ranger was a stick.
But after a short learning curve it was PREFERED.
Later when it got totaled and was replaced with an old Taurus she was again dismayed… that the Taurus was automatic !
Then she met her now husband with his manual Miata and has spent their life since with a manual Jeep AND manual Civic hybrid.
If the daughters get in to any multi-vehicle line of work the skill will be a must. Some won’t hire if damage to a customer’s vehicle is a liability risk.
( ex; Here at the Ford dealer both sales and service, Parking valet, car rentals, motor pools etc )
Gear shifting skills may become even more important if we go to electric vehicles. However, instead of shifting gears, one will have to know how to shift into the correct electric motor winding for the driving conditions. I suppose there will be electric motor controls that shift into different motor windings for the wimps, but there will be those of us that still want to do our own shifting.
They talked about “with the right boyfried” you could learn it quickly but missed the most important point. With the WRONG boyfriend the stick shift between the seats can impede access!
My daughter just turned 16 and passed her driver’s test. We only own one car, but said after she has 6 months to a year of driving experience, I’d like to buy a manual transmission. My wife is not in favor of it, but I think it’s just another skill to have. And, they’re fun to drive. I’ve looked at the classifieds online, and they have some older cars in the $2000 range. For local learning and driving, if it lasts a year, it’s a reasonable cost of education. And, I’ll offer it to friends who’d like to teach their kids. Keep it a week at a time, and the kids can only drive with their parents in the car.
Next question ;
What does gender ( daughters ) have to do with learning the stick shift ?
I deliberately chose to teach my daughter (and then my son) to drive a stick shift car. Later, at college, this made it very easy to refuse friends who wanted to borrow her car. Very few of them, male or female, could handle a stick shift. As a result, her Saturn SL1 has not had to endure random drivers and is still going strong, ten years later.
I think gender has just as much to do with learning stick as being able to change a flat or push-start a car; decreasing the chance of the driver becoming a victim. Granted the statistics state it’s more likely a woman will be attacked by someone she knows than the ‘scary stranger’, it’s still great to arm women with all the tools you can to keep them safe.
I have thanked my dad for showing me how to change tires/oil/spark plugs, fix the toilet, find my way in the woods, drywall, and that he taught me how to drive on an old Ford F250, long-bed, manual with a camper on top. And as an independent woman I have used all those skills and more he’s taught me. I even picked up a car one of my male friends had purchased from a co-worker because he couldn’t drive stick… yet.
Not having to rely on friends for rides from college parties kept me from getting in potential accidents (if the driver had tried to drive drunk because s/he was the only one who drove manual) or stranded with the possibility of being attacked/raped from inebriated men at the (a very real and under-reported problem in college). I’ve avoided getting stuck in mud/snow/ice by starting in second, even if it burned the clutch a bit I was able to get out, and I’ve avoided mushy, overheated, unsafe brakes riding long grades from the mountains by downshifting. Plus they’re more fun, keep your left foot from getting bored, and keep you more in control of your vehicle. I wouldn’t ever own an automatic (which made buying our latest vehicle a bit trickier).
A few hours of training, some stalls, and a few ground gears is a small price to pay for a very useful (even if un"necessary") skill to keep your daughters (and yes, sons too!) safe and independent! Go for it!
I don’t do it myself, but I see people using cell phones while driving MT vehicles in traffic all the time.
No question it is still useful to know how to drive MT vehicles. Fleet managers for many employers sometimes refuse to buy AT vehicles because of the higher initial cost.
My favorite “teach your daughter to drive a stick” story was posted here a few years ago. Someone asked if he should teach his 16 year old daughter how to drive a stick, or should her boyfriend do it. The replies quickly turned to the benefits of manual-vs-automatics, and then someone replied with this:
Teach her yourself. On a quiet Sunday morning, drive to a big parking lot by some circuitous route where you’re showing her the basics of shifting. Then let her try. When she lets the clutch out for the first time, the car will stall. She will immediately look at you for help using the same smile she used when she was 6 and you knew everything in the universe.
Remember that precious moment because it may be the last time you’ll experience it.
Our daughter is now 23. I taught her how to drive a stick when she was 16. The above scenario hit home for me when I read it.
Exactly, that’s why I pose the question.
You , ProjectVala, and my 34 year old daughter are prime examples that learning is learning and is NOT a gender issue.
My daughter and husband just traded their Jeep for a 2011 Escape ( 1st automatic in ten years ) and her left leg still goes slamming the floor board habitually searching for the clutch pedal :))
That quality time, again is NOT gender relative.
But, take you daughter under the hood and into your tool box at every age. ( my next one is eleventeen )
"Dad, can I help ?"
certainly you may, come with me.
As she gets older; “Dad, can you fix my ----?”
"Well, I think WE can fix it, let’s go. "
This is why my daughter can change oil, belts, plugs, tires, headlights, Ceiling fans, house doors, faucets, light switches, hardwood flooring, painting, shelving etc.
Project Sunday never stopped the father/daughter time.
In fact I think we’re better because of it.
The learning itself isn’t the issue, anyone can learn these skills, it’s the ramifications that that learning has (or not learning it) that’s so important. Boy learns auto skills: great! Boy doesn’t learn auto sklls: a bit embarrassed around his “more manly” friends who did. Girl learns auto skills: great! Girl doesn’t learn auto skills: potential disaster for her health and wellbeing. I would encourage anyone to empower themselves with skills to increase their independence, I would doubly encourage anyone in an at-risk group to seek out skills to decrease their risk of harm.
In reference to the caller last week asking about the relevance of learning how to drive a manual transmission, I would say it is a good idea if you were considering getting a job that required stick shift proficiency. Examples of such occupations include parking valet and lot attendant at a new car dealership. If the either of the caller’s daughters were interested in any driving position where manual transmission knowledge was required, that would be the best time to learn how to drive shifting your own gears.
You can save alot of money when renting cars in Ireland if you can drive a manual transmission car. It costs about 1/2 what an automatice costs to rent.
Click and Clack failed to emphasize the need for the mother (dads should be able to do this also) to teach her daughters to drive a stick shift. These girls, but not their mother or Car Talk?s so-called experts, recognize the uniqueness of knowing how to drive a stick. Guys with aging MGs and expensive sporty Beamers (or perhaps a girly Miata that they are ashamed to drive) will consider them cool when they say “You can’t drive it, it’s got a stick shift”, and the girl replies “Yes, I can”. We know this first hand from our college-aged daughter, who is one of a few proud females of her generation with this skill.
I related to your listener’s question because our 1989 Acura Legend has a number of age-related problems. But the 5-speed manual tranny works great. The best use for this car would be as a stick-shift trainer. My kids have both left the coop so it’s now a spare car. Only $399 OBO!
Don’t worry; my back-up plan is to donate it to NPR!
Here’s why I drive a stick shift. My car is a tool. I don’t want my tools making decisions for me. I decide if I’m going to put on the seatbelt, I decide if I drive with lights on, and I decide what gear I should be in. Otherwise, I’m not doing the driving.
Also, I have a hot red BMW convertible, and in this case an automatic would be a sin.