Thought I knew how to drive a manual transmission - Your thoughts, please

No, this isn’t about 1st or reverse (no load). I have always shifted 2nd through 5th (and 5th to 1st) gear the same way. Press the clutch all the way down and get off the accelerator. Put the shift selector in the gear you want. Bring the clutch to just before the friction point, get off the clutch smoothly but quickly, and give it gas. All this happens very quickly.
Now I hear that you should only do that with 2nd gear. With 3rd and any higher gear - up or down shift - you just press the clutch all the way down, engage your gear, get off the clutch, give it gas.

Sit a cup of coffee that is filled 1/4 inch from the top on your dash and drive, shifting from gear to gear and releasing the clutch immediately after shifting. If the coffee doesn’t slosh out of the cup you are on the right track.

Knox… Is that your way of saying, “It depends on the vehicle”?

The way I read your description, there’s very very little difference in the two “methods” you described. Maybe I’m missing something?

You describe a little appreciated point by noting that giving gas comes after releasing the clutch, rather than giving gas at the friction point.. That is, it’s not simultaneous, it’s a sequence, albeit with only a millisecond between them.

As long as you don’t hold the pedal on the friction point for more than an instant, or add gas at the friction point, you’re fine (except in San Francisco ;~). If you can describe using a clutch as well as you did, I’m sure you’re an artist at shifting.

What’s the source of the advice you got recently: “now I hear that …”

Well, only with first gear or reverse at a standstill or in San Francisco/hills, I hold the clutch until the vehicle moves, then alternate my feet just about equally to engage first or reverse. For San Fran and hills, you have to hold it a little bit longer.
I’m not talking about 1st or hills. I’m talking about up from 3rd to 5th or down from 5th to 2nd. I just don’t dump the clutch. Like I said, I bring it to just before the friction point, let it off smoothly but quickly, then give it (as much) gas (as needed) a millisecond afterwards. I’ve heard that my method for these gears should only be used (for some reason) from 1st to 2nd, otherwise - just dump the clutch and give it the appropriate amount of gas.
I’m going to bounce this off all the car enthusiasts I know.

I am not a fan of dumping the clutch, I do it like you, more or less and I don’t have any problems with the clutch in any vehicle with a stick shift. Why change if it works.

No dumping zone here. If you’re smooth, and your clutch lasts, you’re doing it right. “Who” told you otherwise?

In my mind, “dump the clutch” means basically sidestepping the pedal. I don’t think there’s any way to do that smoothly, even in higher gears, and I further expect that it’s very hard on the clutch assembly, and probably wears out the clutch faster. So I can’t see any advantage, or even justification, for “dumping the clutch” the way I think of it.

I don’t think that’s what you are doing, so apparently I’m not understanding you. I will repeat that it sounds like you are probably expert with a clutch. I still don’t see the two methods as significantly different. I’d suggest that you are over-thinking this one.

I will also repeat if you are not revving the engine with the clutch at the friction point, and not holding the car on a hill with the clutch, you’re fine. It’s that simple. Let muscle memory in your leg do the thinking while you watch traffic and enjoy the scenery.

See below.

Mah Tripper… Perhaps the term “dumping” is too harsh. What my forever to be undisclosed sources tell me is, “Just come off the clutch with your foot on it”. I do the same thing (as probably everyone else does) but when I lift my foot off, right BEFORE the friction point, I slow up a little, letting it in slightly more gently. Maybe I just heasitate a milisecond before the friction point and then continue just as quickly - I really don’t want to think aboout it. I don’t give it gas until a milisecond after I’m off the clutch, as the gear doesn’t need it as the vehicle has momentum.
Over-thinking anything will screw you up. Everything we’ve talked about takes much less than a second, yet the amount of time it takes to type or read it makes it seem like rocket science.
I think I’ll skip the almost full cup of coffee thing.

To the OP, You are way over-thinking this. I read your descriptions and I can’t tell any difference in technique. If your passengers aren’t looking like booble head dolls, and your clutch last 100 to 200K miles whatever you are doing is fine. Relax.

Igmench – what are you driving - Curiosity, the Mars rover? If so, I’d suggest trusting the engineers, and not over thinking… it is solar powered. (Ya kinda remind me of a young person I taught to drive who DID want to work on the Mars missions :wink:

Like others, I can’t really tell the difference between the two methods without more description. A couple things I do to extend the life of my clutch are:

  1. I go easy on the gas until the clutch is fully engaged and my foot is completely off the clutch pedal. After my foot is off the clutch pedal, I can floor the accelerator, but I go easy on the throttle anywhere in the friction zone.

  2. I don’t hesitate in the friction zone. When starting from a stop, I try to get from disengaged to fully engaged - through the friction zone - moving about the length of the car.

The most important advice I can give you is to disregard the advice of busybodies. As long as your clutches are lasting a long time, you’re already doing it right. Don’t worry about unsolicited advice.

As long as your clutches are lasting a long time, you're already doing it right. Don't worry about unsolicited advice

Yup. That’s what I tried to suggest too.

Yes, @lgmench, techniques must vary somewhat from vehicle to vehicle and also driving conditions, load, weather, etc. But regardless, getting the clutch fully engaged quickly and smoothly is the key. One of the easiest stick shifts to drive was the old Volkswagen. Even the VW bus was easy. The low gear ratio and relatively heavy flywheel were very forgiving of inexperienced drivers.