Wednesday, September 27, 2023


Do you know how to drive a vehicle with a “stick shift” (manual transmission)?

According to today’s trivia, Toyota says that only 18 percent of American drivers know how to drive a vehicle with a “stick shift” (or manual transmission). That’s a small number! And only getting smaller…

Do you know how to drive a stick shift? If you’re older, chances are that you probably do. Younger? Maybe not so much…

After you vote in the poll, please feel free to leave a comment and tell us if your current car is a stick.


  1. Dad said all his girls were going to know how to drive stick. First vehicle drove stick was a Corvair Sandrail at age 11. Had to get the clutch just right or else you would be pulling a wheelie. My first car purchase was 83 Mazda truck with a stick. Still have our 2001 Nissian Maxima-purchased almost new…both sons drove that car during high school.

    • Just last month! LOL! I drove a friends jeep when he was moving to a new site. One needs to get accustomed to the clutch when first driving a vehicle with a manual trans that you haven’t driven before. Once that’s done it’s easy!

  2. Better to start & learn driving using manual trans. It is easier to shift to auto trans.
    Unlike starting at auto then going to manual. You need longer time to adjust your driving skills.

  3. Drove a 54 Chevy 3 on the tree when I was 12. At 13, I learned how to drive a pick-up and back up a trailer. Half of my vehicles over the past 50 years have been manual shift, including a few motorcycles. Even had fun driving a model A. I like to drive the vehicle, not have it drive me.

  4. Haven’t had a “stick-shift” vehicle since I traded in my 88-1/2 Ford Escort (left knee going bad at the time) in about 2001 or so! My present vehicle is a 2017 Toyota Tundra (automatic).

  5. Drove a 1974 Triumph TR6 convertible. Had a job where I had to travel in the Bay Area in CA. That even meant on the hills of SF. That was fun. Loved it. One of our cars today is a MINI Cooper John Works Clubman with a 6 speeds. Very fun.

  6. To get my first drivers license in Ohio the driving test had to be taken on a manual transmission. Thankfully Dad had a 1953 Henry J that I think only came with a manual transmission.

  7. Yes, I drive a 2008 5 speed manual transmission 2.0 liter gas engine Citroën C4 but I learned to drive on a 1982 Automatic Ford Fairmont SW.

  8. Learned to drive on a pickup with “three on a tree.” Subsequently have had numerous cars with stick shifts. DW has a Mustang GT with a 5-speed manual transmission.

  9. First car was a well-used ’53 Chevy Bel-Air. Stick on the column; straight 6 cylinder engine. Then I bought a Chevy Corvair 4-on-the-floor. Great car but strong side winds certainly pushed you around if you were doing over 65. Always eased up if the woinds were high and never had a problem.

  10. First car I drove was a 49 Ford with ‘3 on the tree’ at about 12 years old. Started pulling loads of hay bales with that car at 13 as the first experience of trailer towing.

  11. We currently have 3 cars that have a manual transmission. It was hard to find our newest car (a 2020 Honda Civic) with a stick shift. We have made sure that both of our teenage children learn to drive a stick shift before they get to drive any other car.

  12. Yes, I drive a 2018 Mazda Miata with a six-speed manual transmission. It is a fun car to drive and the manual transmission is half the fun!

  13. Through the years all of my cars were standard transmission, until I injured my back and then not having a clutch eased the stress on my back. Four of those cars were little convertible sports cars. About 20 years later I bought a used automatic trans Miata. It took me several weeks to retrain my brain to quit shoving my left foot to the floor.

  14. A few years ago I had been given a Mario Andretti driving experience in a NASCAR challenge at California Speedway. Amazingly, during the drivers meeting how many people raised their hand when asked if they knew how to drive a stick. They were informed that they would be given 3 attempts and then placed with Andretti personnel for a ride along instead.

  15. I put a gear-splitting overdrive unit on my ‘70 CJ5, ending up w/ 6 forward options & two reverse (not even counting the high- and low-range gears in 4-wheel drive). It was great for highway travel because it lowered rpm’s when in 3rd o/d. And I had more options in four wheel travel for just the right torque for the terrain.

  16. I learned to drive with a stick tranny in high school drivers ed in the 50’s. Arriving in Anchorage AK in Jan with gas prices around $.50- .55 per gallon (1960-63); well I bought a new Volkswagen Beetle manual transmission. That wasn’t the problem – the problem was it was not “syncromesh”! Anchorage has hills – with traffic lights at the top. A total dead stop was required to get into low gear or the engine would die from overload! Fun in traffic and ice! The gas mileage in the winter was 10-12 mpg due to the gasoline fired cabin heater! (VW’s were built so well they would float – I never tested that!)

  17. Funny, in your newsletter under Trivia, Toyota states that only 18% of drivers know how to drive a vehicle with a stick shift, yet I see the response from your readers up over 90%. I got my license on an auto transmission. I learnt to drive a manual transmission when I bought my first new car and to drive a truck for work, locally.

  18. The car I learned to drive in back in the early ’70s was, to my dad’s disappointment, the first automatic he had. (We bought what was available and affordable.) Fast forward to ’87, when the only car on the lot I could afford was a new, Chevy Sprint, 3 cylinder manual. I mostly learned as I went.

    We finally traded the last manual in 7 years ago. I miss it sometimes, but too many cranky joints that using a manual aggravate mean I don’t miss it too much.

  19. Old “toad” was manual which is still a back up. Wanted something bigger but had to go with automatic. Just can’t get suitable pull behinds. However, definitely agree with the person who commented manuals in traffic jams stink!

  20. My current vehicle, 2006 Dodge 3500 Cummins 6 speed, tow a 27′ TT. LOL, overkill, I know…. At 18 I bought a Toyota Hi Lux 4 speed, with not a clue how to drive a stick, it was the only thing I could afford!!! Fun drive home from the dealership!!!

  21. In the 60’s my parents auto’s were automatics, but our farm equipment were all manual. As others have said it is very difficult to find manual vehicles today. Understand why no manuals but would really like a class a 10 speed manual.

  22. Have a 65 Mustang 2+2 with manual trans. Driving it 30 minutes satisfies the urge to shift gears. Traffic jam with manual, no thanks.

  23. Of course!
    Even a 6 speed with split shifter meaning 12 forward 2 reverse.
    But I question why. Auto is so nice. Daughter had a little Fiat X-19. I counted 64 shifts in a 3 block jaunt

  24. Learned manual transmission on farm tractors and trucks @ 8 Have operated many 2 gearbox (4×4, 5×4) trucks and tt. Have a 2011 Focus purchased new in 12/2010 5 spd. I still drive with over 225k, still get 39-40 mpg. glad I kept it.

  25. Taught myself how to drive stick. 1956 International Harvester Pickup. If I didn’t stall it then I was doing it right

  26. Yes. I learnt on a 1957 Ford with a raggy dashboard my father and I patched with a ripped up piece of blue jeans. I love stick shifts and always got far better mileage on them than the predicted- but then I would upshift asap. DH would wait to upshift till he’d been at maximum rpms for several minutes. I didn’t mind the slowness of the early upshifts- after all, it’s about the journey, not the destination, right? Poor dh, to have life always be about the destination..Our first automatic in 35 years was the tow for our camper trailer (Lil Snoozy) All the bells and whistles. I named it the Carship Enterprise. Now dh uses it as his commuter vehicle and it’s getting a lot more mileage than I had ever figured on it getting.

  27. We tow in a cargo trailer a 1966 Ford Bronco that we restored. It has what we call a millennial anti-theft device. It has 3 on the tree!

  28. A lot of people think they know how to drive a manual transmission just because they can shift one, but unless they understand when and why they really can’t drive a manual transmission.

  29. Started in 1966 with a 1950 Plymouth 4 door sedan. Taught my daughter in 1981 in our 1979 Datsun 210 resulting in one broken gear tooth that thankfully did not require repair but just made its little tic noise for the next 200,000 miles. My wife learned on a VW Beetle and graduated to the Datsun. Now have two grandchildren to teach and no manual transmission vehicle left to use!

  30. My parents only owned manuals and if I wanted to learn to drive, a manual was my only choice. I have not had a manual since my 1975 IHC Scout II, Man I miss that truck.

  31. When I was 14, I got a job as a lot boy in a used car lot. Had to drive the cars to the wash bay to clean them. Once I got into a car with 3 pedals. I told the manager I did not know how to drive a stick shift. His response was, YOU WILL NOW, and walked away.

  32. I’ll answer your question with another question, can you drive a 18 speed transmission found in a semi tractor? Yes I can drive a stick shift. I learned driving my uncles F-1 Ford truck in 1951 at 8 years old including double clutching.

  33. Yup- first car manual and now tow car manual. First car- 1967 Ford Econoline with shift on the column. Friend dropped me off in empty parking lot to learn. Finally drained the battery restarting it so often but learned! (No cell phone in those days- walked to a phone booth to call for help!)

  34. Drivers Ed taught at my rural high school used a manual transmission Chevy Nova at the insistence of the farming community. Imagine a all options up Chevy, but manual transmission.
    Owned 5 manual so far and toad is a manual Honda Fit.

  35. Stick shifts are sort of like a bicycle. Once you learn you never forget. But like balance on a bicycle gets iffy as we age coordination on a stick shift can also be iffy.

  36. Driving a manual transmission is 2nd nature to me. I also insisted that when I was teaching my daughter how to drive, “When you can drive dad’s truck smoothly, then you can drive mom’s car”.

  37. Manual Transmissions are a “Car Jacking Preventative”. I doubt that even 20% of todays 20-30 year olds can drive one. I tried to sell a 2009 Honda Si Sedan. Everyone loved it until they saw it was a stick. Ended up trading it in. My wife and all three of my kids can drive a stick.

  38. Many moons ago when I was young, my first 2 cars were manual. Then my knees went “bad.” Ever since, car #3 and all following were/are automatics.

  39. Our RV is the only automatic we own. Taught our son on a manual and when he went to buy his first car he was surprised at how few manuals are available here in the US. We had tried to warn him that we are very much not the norm. Way more fun to drive!


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