Wednesday, September 27, 2023


How well can you drive a manual transmission vehicle?

How well can you drive a manual transportation vehicle, be it car, SUV or pickup truck?

Is it easy for you — no problem at all? Is it so bad that heaven help the passenger riding shotgun as he or she lurches forward and backward with every shift? Or is driving a manual transmission vehicle something you never learned to do or forget how to do years ago?

That’s our question today. Remember, it can take a few moments for the poll to load, so standby.

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Vanessa Simmons
1 year ago

Because of Achilles tendon problems I traded my last car, a manual 5 speed with manual windows and no AC, for an automatic. Miss the clutch but now that I live in southern NV and not the Pacific NW I’m glad I have the AC.

Bob Weinfurt
1 year ago

My first time driving a car when I was 12 was a “three on the tree”. For the past 50 years, half of my vehicles have had manual transmissions. With the new cars being mostly computer controlled, having an automatic is the most economical set up.

1 year ago

First car after marriage was a Triumph TR4A 4 on the floor, Its successor was a TR6 which was followed by two Corvettes, also 4 on the floor. The niftiest was the Saab 9000 Turbo Four speed – until the clutch (hydraulic) failed on a Saturday in the Adirondacks. had to float the gears back home, 200 miles of mostly mountain road searching for routes with no lights or major cross streets. Finally made it to an Interstate and then had to stop for toll booth on and off the Thruway. the look on the toll takers face as I came into the stop with the engine stopped and accelerated out on the starter motor in first was priceless. haven’t been able to find a suitable car with stick shift since that one. Current Jeep Grand Cherokee has 8 speed auto, very smooth and far more efficient than any stick shift.

1 year ago

It’s not so easy finding a manual trans these days. I believe the last stat I recall seeing was that under 10% of new vehicles are manuals.

I really haven’t driven a stick for over 10 years. But I have almost always had a stick for the previous 40+ years. We’ve become lazy. I always preferred a stick, and my son still does.

Carson Axtell
1 year ago

Not only can I drive a manual transmission, but I greatly prefer it over automatics, especially for use ascending and descending grades. I envy Europeans whose vehicles are overwhelmingly equipped with manual transmissions, and whose citizens regard the American preference for automatics as somewhat peculiar. I’m even considering travelling to Europe to purchase an RV with a manual transmission, traveling around over there for awhile (where “wild camping”, ie boondocking, is widely accepted in countries like France, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy, the Balkans, etc.) and then shipping the vehicle back to America. The only concern with this plan is whether a Euro-spec RV can pass the strict American emissions requirements, just about the only instance in which America has tougher environmental regulations than Europe.

1 year ago

Not only a manual, but I had a summer job that I had to drive a 1950 something International pick up that had a manual transmission without syncromesh. For those of you who have no idea what that means, you had to “double clutch” it, which is putting the clutch in to take it out of gear, then letting the clutch out to use the gas peddle to get the engine to the right rpms for the next gear, then put the clutch in to get it in that gear, then let the clutch back out. If you didn’t do it right, the gears wouldn’t “mesh” and would kick the shift handle back at your hand, which hurt! Syncromesh in newer transmissions is a device to get the mating gears spinning at the right rpms automatically.

Bob P
1 year ago
Reply to  Bill

When up shifting you double clutch to bring the gear speed down for the next gear, when down shifting you double clutch and rev the engine to mesh the gears. When I was driving trucks I always “floated” my gears, never used the clutch unless I was stopping or backing into a loading dock.

1 year ago

I haven’t been without the third pedal in a car in over 56 years.

1 year ago

My last three cars were all standard (not to mention every motorcycle I’ve ever owned, including the latest two) but my new truck, Ram 1500 diesel, not even an option… Plus the gear selector is a knob, which has taken some getting used to!

Bob P
1 year ago
Reply to  Gregg

Wait until that “hockey puck” chip fails, back to the dealer for a huge repair bill. Give me a mechanical gear shifter any day.

Montgomery D. Bonner
1 year ago

I hope to keep using a manual transmission till the day arrives I cannot drive period. My current vehicle has one, and my next one will too.

Bob P
1 year ago

Have you looked at the manufacturers option lists lately? Except for a few econoboxes the manual transmission is obsolete.

1 year ago

My everyday car is one with a manual transmission. Unfortunately, they are getting harder to find.

Bob P
1 year ago

In 1959 in IL if you took your drivers license test in an automatic car a notation was made on your license “AO”meaning automatic only. Drove manuals, 7 1/2 years in the Marines the only automatics were the CO’s car, 8 years driving truck from 9-18 speed manuals, finally got into a 10 speed auto shift manual, that was nice in Chicago traffic at rush hour on the Dam Ryan expressway. Now at 78 glad most manufacturers have dropped the manual transmission in their products. Lol

Einar Hansen
1 year ago

It’s what I learned to drive on when I was kid at 8 years old. In fact it was a 1967 VW camper that my parents bought in Germany. And we traveled around Europe going to 21 countries in it, and I helped do some of the driving even then at that age. And I didn’t buy my first automatic until I was 50. And my second car is a stick to this day. I won’t ever give up driving a stick. I even taught my wife and kids how to drive a stick.

1 year ago

I learned to drive stick in 1957 since automatics were frowned on by my peers (read high-school kids) as a passing fad and just plain not cool. I now, at 80, drive a 2014 Chevy Spark (named “Sparky), which is a five-speed forward gears as my towed car. (Where did they come up with “toad car????) Anyhoo Sparky gets 45 mpg and Ita, my Class C with automatic, gets 8 on a good day. So driving “stick” is as natural as breathing. I must admit that I have to glance down at the gear shift to be able to figure out what gear I’m in sometimes, but the RPM gauge helps.

1 year ago

For the 1st 45 years of driving it was manual in my personal vehicles. Also drove trucks with up to 18 gears over the last 50 plus years. Glad to have an automatic now with the pain my knees and other joints give me.

1 year ago

I started driving in 1964. Learned on a VW bug. Had several standards through out the years. Last standard purchased was a Can-Am Spyder. Did not want the automatic, cost more to purchase and more to maintain, plus takes all the fun out of riding. Married in 1973 and taught the wife how to drive a standard and when the children came of age taught both my son and daughter how to drive a standard. Would not let them take the driving test until they could stop in the middle of a hill and go forward uphill and backward uphill without drifting. All of them are glad they learned!!!

1 year ago

Just fine learned manual floor or column growing up and also while in drivers ed in high school it was required to drive auto and manual efficiently to pass and that included the gals. 57 Ford pickups, Land Rover, 71 VW Karman Ghia, Porsche, Jaguar, AMC Eagle SX4, Morris Minors, Fiats, to USAF De-Icers, tractors, box vans, buses. As one has grown old the automatic is a heck a lot easier with mobility issues and with more traffic now then 50 years ago.

Last edited 1 year ago by Skip
1 year ago

I learned to drive in a 1964 Chevy Belair with three on the tree. Taught my boyfriend (now my hubby) to drive it. Fun times.

Don N
1 year ago

It’s getting hard to find a manual transmission on new family cars. Most manufactures have determined most people want an automatic trans so they quit offering standard transmissions in cars.

1 year ago

one of the vehicles with which i learned to drive was a 1964 VW Beetle…4 on the floor. I spent a LOT of hours behind the wheel of the bug. Our first new car as a married couple was a 1970 Ford Maverick with std transmission…3 on the tree. And I now own my grandpa’s 1946 Willys CJ2A. so,yeah, I can drive cars with manual transmissions.

Roy Davis
1 year ago

This is one of those questions I could answer two ways. I learned to drive on a standard shift and drove one for many years. I taught two of my older sisters how to drive one and my son when he first went to auto mechanic classes. The problem is I can’t handle driving one for long now because of bad knees and hips plus severe arthritis of the spine.

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