Hey everyone! I think this site and community are awesome, and I foresee frequent visits as I learn more and more about cars. Maybe one day, I’ll even be able to help some of you with your problems.
I’m a pretty inexperienced driver overall, and a rookie stick shift driver. Over the past couple weeks, I’ve been trying to teach myself how to drive stick in a 1990 Mazda Miata MX-5 which I got in used condition. I’ve read Click & Clack’s How To on this very site, as well as an article over at artofmanliness.com, to reinforce the basics. But it makes me nervous when I read the C&C tutorial and notice that people can destroy a clutch after covering only 20 miles of road.
I’m sore afraid that I’m tearing up the clutch/engine/transmission/anything at all as I’m learning the ropes. I have a few questions, and I intend to post more concerns throughout the thread as they come to me. I still haven’t quite mastered getting the car started from a dead stop on a flat surface, especially when I need to do it quickly. One thing that I’m pretty sure I’m good at is keeping my foot off the clutch when it’s not needed.
But anyway, here goes:
1.) I often jerk the car a little when upshifting - I’d say most of the time, but especially when I’m starting from a stop, trying to get the car from 0 mph to the 45-60 mph range. I’ll move from say 1st to 2nd, or 2nd to 3rd, and the car will softly shake as it settles into the higher gear. How bad is this for the car? How can I correct it? Is it just a timing thing?
2.) I’ve read that I should upshift when the car is at about 3000 RPM. Is it ok to upshift sooner? Like in the 2k or 2.5k range? Even earlier?
3.) How many RPMs is too many? I rarely go higher than 3.5 before upshifting. Is that too high? And if I accidentally rev the engine up to say 4k or 5k (I’ve done this only a few times) when I’m trying to accelerate quickly, how badly can that mess up the engine?
3.) Can the clutch’s engagement point tell me anything about when to upshift? Today, I noticed that when I start from a stop using the clutch only, the tach goes to something like 1 - 1.5, and about the same from 1st to 2nd. Does this mean that I only need to apply the gas up until 1 or 1.5 to smoothly upshift?
Thanks anyone and everyone for your time and assistance. Let the hazing begin!