How to Drive a Manual Car

Most new vehicles come equipped with an automatic transmission as a standard, but it is still possible to pick up a manual car, depending on what type of vehicle you want to drive. Cars with a manual, or standard transmission, rely on the driver to shift gears as the vehicle accelerates. Learning to drive a vehicle with a manual transmission can be frustrating at first, but with a little practice will soon seem like second nature.

  • Place the key in the ignition and press the clutch pedal to the floor mat. Manual transmission vehicles will not start if they are in gear.

  • Apply pressure to the brake pedal with your right foot. Turn the key to start the ignition.

  • Release the emergency brake. You will find the release either on the center console or under the driver's side dash, depending on the make and model of your car.

  • Place your right hand on the stick and slide it into the first gear position -- first gear is the slot all the way to the left and up in most cars.

  • Slowly release the clutch until you feel it start to catch, and then apply gentle pressure to the gas. The idea is to take off as smoothly as possible.

  • Give the car more gas as it accelerates, and remove your foot from the clutch.

  • Gain some speed and then depress the clutch again, while simultaneously releasing the gas.

  • Shift into second gear, which is directly below first. Slowly release the clutch and give the car gas again to get up to speed.

  • Repeat this process all the way through fifth or sixth gear, depending on your car's transmission type.

  • Depress the clutch and hit the brakes at the same time when you need to slow down. Pop the car into neutral while you wait at a light or stop sign, then start shifting from first. Neutral is usually the space in-between up and down on your stick.