How To Drive A Car: A Basic Guide To Learn Driving a Manual Car on Your Own

Want to know how to drive a car with manual gear shift? With more and more vehicles using automatic transmission, the manual gear shifts are in danger of becoming obsolete. But for those who are used to driving the manual cars, using the gear shift is a highly satisfying experience that they would not forego at any cost.


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For one, the cars are cheaper and secondly they give better fuel efficiency. The reason for the difference is that automatic gearboxes weigh more than the manual models resulting in more energy needed to transfer the power from engine to wheels.

And, I love manual gearbox because it makes me feel more in control. I can increase or decrease the speed of the car with the gears much easily than with the automatic gears, which are not as slick to sudden gear changes. The paddle shifter is a slight improvement on the automatic gears and gives more control and makes using it easy.

If you are new to driving and want to learn how to drive a manual car on your own, this guide on how to drive a car will give a good idea of how to do it easily. And, a manual car is best for exhibiting advanced driving skills, racing, and even driving on rough terrain, including snow or muddy fields. So, gear up and follow the steps below and you will start driving on your own in no time.

Step-by-Step Instruction!

Step 1: Keep the Shift in Neutral 

Before you start, you should check whether the car is in neutral gear. If it is not in neutral when you start the car, it can lurch forward, especially if you do not hold the clutch down.

So to check the car is in neutral gear, move the gear shifter around to see whether it moves freely. If not, make sure the gear selector is present in the middle position or not. Now after checking the neutral gear, you can move to the next step.

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Step 2: Step on the Clutch

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With the car in neutral gear, you can begin using the manual transmission. Start by pressing the clutch pedal. Ensure you press the pedal to the floor fully, as the car will start only when this is done. This safety feature ascertains that accidents are avoided and is present in most of the cars made now.

Step 3: Perform a Safety Check

Now as you press clutch pedal fully, check whether the gear is in neutral position by moving it back and forward and ensuring it moves without restraint.

Step 4: Turn the Ignition Switch

To start your car, you should find the ignition. This is generally present near the steering column. The ignition mechanism is usually a key turn method, but some models may be of push and start type. So make sure which type your car’s ignition is by checking the owner’s manual.

Now that you have located the ignition switch, turn it to halfway position. This will allow the sensors in the vehicle to take their respective readings.

Step 5: Turn On the Car

With a foot on clutch pedal compressing it fully and the gear shift in neutral, turn the engine on to start the car.

Step 6: Disengage Parking Brake

To move forward, you have to disengage the parking brake or hand brake. Since some modern vehicles do not have the handbrake and have an electronic one in place, check with the owner’s manual.

If you start to drive with the handbrake on, it can produce heat and also damage the car. So to avoid dangerous repercussions, you have to disengage the brake before you start the car. If you are not on level surface while disengaging, press on brake pedal before you lift the brake.

Step 7: First Gear Shift

With the car started, the next step is to use the manual transmission. To newbies, this may be a bit overwhelming. You need to relax and be comfortable by adjusting seat position and put on the seat belt before you try the transmission.

Place one foot on clutch and depress it fully. The clutch is vital for using the gear shifter. With clutch depressed fully, move gear selector into first gear.

To identify the first gear, look at the pattern drawn on top of gear shifter. The first gear is usually present on the left top part of gear selector. Move the shifter leftward and upward. This may be a bit tricky in some cars, so you have to just try a few times to get the gist of it.

Step 8: Drive the Car

After moving gear shifter to first gear, you can move the car. To do this, liftyour foot from the clutch slowly. This should be gradual to prevent stalling of the vehicle and smooth forward movement.

If you do stall, it is normal and you will get it right after a few times of trying. And do not be afraid if the vehicle keeps stalling, as all vehicles are built taking newbies into consideration. So you need not be worried about damaging the clutch or the gear. To increase the speed, press on the accelerator slowly. This will increase the revs of the engine slightly.

As you lift your foot from clutch pedal, you will feel a slight vibration called as bite point of car, when the plates in the clutch join up. Now the car will move slowly. With more pressure on the accelerator pedal you can see the car move forward, without pressing on the clutch.

Expert tips:

  • While waiting in traffic or at a busy junction or roundabout, avoidholding down the clutch to enable easy getaway when you are able to move. This is because the clutch plate will wear off if you do this frequently. Instead use the handbrake and use clutch only when you are about drive off.
  • While driving uphill, avoid using too much revs as this will damage your clutch plates. If you use the above tutorial right, the car will move forward without pressing on the accelerator.

Now that you have learned to move the car forward the rest is easy. This video will help you grasp the nuances more easily and also help you learn how to use the other gears

Final Thoughts!

As you can see, driving a manual car is not that difficult to master. You need to just be patient and make several attempts without getting discouraged. After all there is a first time for everything we do. So be persistent and you will soon grab the knack of it and start driving like a pro. Hope you liked our guide on how to drive a car. Remember to share this post on social media with your family and friends. And do post you valuable comments below.

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