Learning to drive a standard! Help! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 09-27-2011, 09:27 AM Thread Starter
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Learning to drive a standard! Help!

So we got a new car last week. Well, new to us anyway! I learned on an automatic and this one is a standard. I have been practicing figuring out the clutch and gas in the yard and I'm getting better at it. It has a really nice clutch. I'm going to hopefully go driving with my mom tomorrow and learn the gears.

It is a little exciting and nerve wracking! I know where all the gears are and I understand the idea of putting the clutch in and shifting. I just have to do it and get it smooth.

What is scaring me though, is that Mom said you can get it in the wrong gear by accident. Now I know you just fix it if you went into 4th instead of 2nd. However, is it possible to go from 5th into Reverse by accident? That is really scaring me! The last thing I need to do is wreck the vehicle. Or is there a safety feature that prevents that from happening?

Any tips on driving a standard would be appreciated! Thanks!
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post #2 of 18 Old 09-27-2011, 09:32 AM
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putting in it reverse would be a bad thing, you'd hear some godawful grinding when you let out the clutch. One thing dont ride the clutch, If your not mashing it down get your foot completely off the pedal and on the floor, riding around with your foot resting on the pedal will quickly damage clutch components.
Turn the radio off, and listen to the engine, that will tell you everything.
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post #3 of 18 Old 09-27-2011, 10:06 PM
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I got taught how to drive stick on a gentley sloping hill. It was a quick way to learn when to let go of the clutch, and when to give gas.

In regards to going from 5th to reverse...you might not need to be in 5th that often, just 1st through 4th. Plus, you wouldn't just go straight down out of 5th anyways...you would go to "neutral" then back over to the right to go into 4th.

It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows. --Epictetus
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post #4 of 18 Old 09-27-2011, 10:16 PM
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It's very hard to throw a speeding car into reverse. IMpossible? I dunno, but the gears will not go easily into reverse from a forward moving car. you will bring the shifter down to nuetral first and then "feel" the next gear. IF it resists or if you hear a little grinding sound, you would immediately stop.

In time it becomes quite natural, like riding a horse. You just know where you are and what gear you are in by feel.

If, for example. you are in 1st, and you try to shift to second but go to 4th by accident, it won't hurt the car, but it will cause the engine to lug and you'll know that it's not right, and you can put the clutch in and find 2nd.

Once you get it down, it's nice because you can use the gears to slow you down instead of brakes and you can control when the car shifts, so that you are able to accelerate more rapidly when you want to (by not shifting up til the engine has a higher rpm "rev" to it)
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post #5 of 18 Old 09-27-2011, 10:43 PM
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I truly miss my standard <sigh>. As for accidentally getting into reverse? Not likely at all. Not because of the location of reverse (in some cars it is opposite the first gear, others opposite the 4th or 5th and still others it is off to one side either up or down), but because you almost always have to push vertically down on the stick to be able to even access the gearing for reverse.

As for not using 5th -- well that depends where you drive. I do a lot of highway driving and 5th is where I would live.

Getting into the wrong gear is an easy fix as mentioned. After a while, you won't even think about it. Just practice and more practice.

I used to drive without the clutch alot because it was too much effort (LOL), but I think the newer cars are computer controlled so you have to use the clutch.
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post #6 of 18 Old 09-27-2011, 10:53 PM
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Yep, it just takes practice...and practice and practice and practice LOL. You'll get to where you can feel the clutch and gas pedal through your feet and be able to adjust how quickly you let out or push down to get the desired result.

One thing I had to learn by nearly having an accident though is that if you are stopped at a red light that is at the top of the hill (where you will roll backward if you let off the brake), then, when the light turns green, you'll want to let out on the clutch until you start to feel it pulling before you let off the brake. That will keep you from rolling backward into the car behind you.

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post #7 of 18 Old 09-28-2011, 06:55 AM
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Yes, good point smrobs. I forgot about the hills. Technically, you are supposed to use your e-brake in that situation.
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post #8 of 18 Old 09-28-2011, 10:34 AM Thread Starter
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Thank-you so much you guys for all the help! I'm probably going to do some driving today so that will be good to get some practice!
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post #9 of 18 Old 09-30-2011, 07:47 AM
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You can also use hand brake while doing a hill start. Just put the handbrake on when you need to stop on the hill, then while leaving take some gas like you'd do while leaving on flat ground and release the handbrake.

Putting reverse on while going ahead..? Hmm... I don't think so. I've once TRIED to do that while driving on high speed and I didn't manage to put the gear even nearly on while a horrible sound awakened me that I was doing something wrong. I doubt it's even possible to put a reverse on while going ahead, at least while driving hight speed.

Do you have you gears on the middle console or behind the wheel? If it's the first one, many of cars have the gear 3 when you push right forward while letting the gear stick to be its natural position and the gear 4 while pulling the stick backward from that position. That helped me to perceive the gears when I learned to drive and it was hard to make difference between positions of the gears on the same side (for example 1,3 and 5). If I wasn't sure, I just let the gear stick to go freely on its natural position and then if I wanted the gear 1, I took the stick toward me and pushed ahead, if I wanted 3, I pulled straight forward and if 5, I pushed the stick away from me and then forward... sure check the gears of your car, there might is some difference between cars.

If you put the wrong gear on, just pull the clutch on and let the car slide freely and smoothly while picking the right gear... there shouldn't be too big damage there. While putting a wrong gear on, your car will probably jerk (switching from too big to too small) or start to tug (choosing too big gear).

It's good to learn to drive with fitting gear for every speed since that saves gasoline. Oh, and don't release the clutch if you've some gear on and your car on.

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Hei tuu mun luo, pieneksi hetkeksi. Puhutaan, varjoni, valkoiseksi enkeliksi."

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Last edited by TaMMa89; 09-30-2011 at 07:55 AM.
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post #10 of 18 Old 09-30-2011, 09:07 AM
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Using a hand brake on a hill is the beginner's way of shifting and when you get more comfortable at it, you won't need to; but it can be an effective safety measure until you get good at it.

As for shifting to the wrong gear, it isn't a real problem. In fact, many times, as you get better at it, you can skip a gear. A lot of times you may find yourself winding out 2nd a little then shifting directly to 4th or from 3rd to 5th on a highway. Many times if I am facing down a hill, I'll skip 1st and let the car roll a few feet and start off in 2nd.

If you haven't already noticed, the gear shift is spring loaded so that to go into 1st or 2nd, you have to apply a little pressure to move the gear shifter towards you then into gear. Going into 3rd or 4th the shifter will allow you to just slide it forward or back without using pressure.

Reverse - depends on the car. Many cars have reverse off to the left side of 1st or you have to push down on the shifter to move it into reverse. It is nearly impossible to mistake reverse for any of the forward gears especially once you are moving.

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