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Professional and Experienced Instructors

Manual Transmission

Why Drive Stick Shift?

In case of an Emergency: In an emergency, being able to drive a stick shift may be more valuable than is necessary to enumerate.

Saving Money! A standard transmission will save you hundreds, even thousands of dollars on every car or truck you buy for the rest of your life.

Employment Opportunity: Increase your employment opportunities.  Many company vehicles have standard transmissions.

Buying sport car: Feel the rush of shifting through the gears of the sports car of your dreams.

Gain Control: Enjoy the safety and control that can only be achieved with a standard transmission. Contact Us for details.

Newport Driving School offer manual transmission training if the student specifically requests it. A standard shift vehicle is available at our facility or if the student preffer may obtain one.

Learning how to drive with a manual transmission is a valuable skill to have, even in a world filled with automatics. Manual transmissions are still popular in sports cars and off-road vehicles such as tractors or jeeps. Parents looking for a dependable first car for their children may find a bargain-priced five-speed economy car from the 1980s or 1990s. Knowing how to drive with a manual transmission can also prove useful when driving other people's vehicles. It pays to learn all of the different driving systems in case of emergencies.

The first way to learn the details of a manual transmission is through an approved Driver Education course. Many high schools offer classes with both simulator and real road practice, although some do not emphasize manual transmission techniques. If the school's official Driver's Education class does not offer stick-shift training, it may fall on parents to demonstrate.

Many drivers in training will practice their skills in an abandoned parking lot or other private property with minimal distractions. This is not always the optimal environment to learn manual transmission techniques, however. Standard shift cars need a significant amount of linear space in order to go through all of the gears. A parking lot is still a great place to practice parking, reversing and braking, but a student needs to experience the feel of a manual transmission as the motor reaches roadway speeds.

Unlike learning to drive an automatic drive, beginning students may need to sit in the passenger seat and observe an experienced driver at first. The instructor should demonstrate the proper way to depress the clutch, position the gear shift lever and coordinate the gas pedal. As each gear reaches maximum torque, the instructor should tell the student how to listen for a distinctive engine noise. This sound should indicate the need to shift to a higher gear or jump back to a lower one. Again, the balance between gear shift, clutch and accelerator should be demonstrated. At this point, braking and downshifting back to first gear should also be demonstrated.

Learning to drive a manual transmission is usually a matter of trial-and-error until the student learns the natural rhythm of a standard shift car. For this reason, it may be best to practice with an older but mechanically-sound vehicle, not an expensive sports car. Finding third gear while simultaneously releasing the clutch and depressing the accelerator is not easy for many drivers, so one should expect some grinding of the clutch and stutter stopping. Eventually most drivers do learn the intricacies of manual transmission, even if they prefer the relative ease of an automatic.

Shift patterns

A car or truck's shift pattern is usually indicated by a small diagram on top of the shift knob. For most five-speed transmissions it looks like this:

Another common five-speed shift pattern (often found in BMWs and Volkswagens) is:

We prepare you to pass your driving test at UPS, must have the ability to operate a standard (manual) transmission vehicle.

ups truck


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Newport Driving School
Tel: 949.975.8425

Fax: 949.975.8430
4340 Campus Drive 201
Newport Beach, CA 92660

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