Driving a manual..

Discussion in 'Fiesta ST Chat and Discussion' started by aborbs87, Sep 7, 2013.

  1. aborbs87

    aborbs87 Active Member

    When I got my first car in 2011 (fiesta) I never thought I'd have the perspective on cars as I do now. Of course I'm not incredibly knowledgable about them, but I'm infatuated with them. When I first heard about the Fiesta ST I knew I had to have one. There is just one issue, and go easy on me lol. I have never driven a manual before. I understand the general techniques, but never actually put them to use. So I'm reaching out to everyone to give me some info. Is it easy/hard to pick up on? Any tricks and tips, or does anyone think it'd be out of the question for me to get a Fiesta ST because of this?

    Sorry for the long rant, but I knew this was the best place for answers.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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    MGORDON New Member

    Do yourself and your car a favor and don't learn on a brand new car. Find a friend with a beat up old truck with a clutch that has a throw as long as your leg and learn on that for a while before you get the hang of it.

    I think it really helps to understand the mechanics of what you're doing with your feet.
    aborbs87 and reddog99 like this.
  4. Devon

    Devon Member

    Another way to save your new car some wear and tear - buy a G27 wheel for your PC and practice clutching on good sim software with the auto-clutch feature turned off. The pedals have pretty realistic positioning and stiffness, the gear lever is decent, the learning will transfer over. Good sims to do this with include rFactor, GTR2 (get both through Steam). Or use Simraceway - you get a few free cars.
    aborbs87 likes this.
  5. amathophobia

    amathophobia Member

    I also had the basic idea of how to drive a manual car at first. Then my dad helped me buy my first car (which was A stick) and he left me at the dealership saying "I will see you at home." Honestly I think this was the best way to learn. I had to figure it out for myself. There really isnt anything beyond: push in clutch, put shifter in first, let clutch out slowly while giving enough gas to keep the car from stalling out. It is all feeling it out.
    aborbs87 likes this.
  6. wash

    wash Active Member

    I taught a guy to drive in about 45 minutes including how to shift a manual.

    I started by telling him to watch my feet as I explained what I was doing with the clutch, then letting him move the stick shift on my command while I was driving.

    That let's you understand the coordination required. Its not hard, its a muscle memory kind of thing to synchronize everything. It doesn't take long to learn but it takes practice to perfect, luckily imperfect shifting works pretty well.

    The part that requires the most technique initially is starting from a stop. Do you know how to read a tachometer? Your idle speed should be under 1,000 and starting from a stop should be slight throttle for about 1,500 rpm. When you release the clutch the engine is going to want to bog so you need to add gas to maintain your rpm. This part needs some feel. Listen to the car too, when you are driving you rarely look at your tach so you use feel and auditory cues to get it right. Getting it wrong means too much clutch with too little gas (a bog or stall) or too much gas with too little clutch (high rpms and possible premature clutch wear).

    Changing gears is pretty simple, let off the gas, clutch in, move your gear selector to the new gear, then let the clutch out smoothly and possibly add gas to match revs.

    I do all my teaching in a large highschool parking lot when school is not in session and I have it to myself. I suggest you find something similar for practice, you don't want to learn in traffic.
    aborbs87 likes this.
  7. Mayhem

    Mayhem Active Member

    My first car purchase was a 2010 Camaro 2SS/RS Manual.
    I had never driven a Manual car prior to pre-ordering this car having never seen one in person. At the time... I had over 10 years of driving automatics..

    Auto was an option, but growing up... I always felt that those types of cars went hand in hand with a Manual gear box. I had to have manual. Period.

    I didn't want to beat up on a new car learning to drive Manual.. Especially one at that price.

    Didn't have any friends willing to let me beat up a manual... So I did myself a favor and took a lesson from a local driving school.
    Got to beat up on a Corolla, and it was super easy/fast to pick up on.

    I went back for 2 more sessions just to get in the extra practice time to smooth out my shifting.

    Had that all over and done with prior to delivery, and was able to drive home. But it was a couple months between my last session and delivery date... And the Camaro gearbox was wayyyyyy less forgiving than that corolla.. I did stall a bit the first couple days. (Once on the way home from the dealership). Took it out to a steep hill and decided to park on the hill... And practiced until I didn't stall at all on the hill... Once I conquered that hill I had no more issues with stalling.

    I haven't driven the Fiesta ST.... But after I got rid of the Camaro and got my Raptor... I hadn't driven a Manual in a couple years by the time I went for a test drive in a Focus ST about a month ago... (Unless you count motorcycles). I was pretty surprised how easy that gearbox was. The sales guy (who drives/owns a manual) was even asking me for tips... lol I am assuming the FiST will be just as easy.

    Everyone is different though, but I would strongly advise either borrowing a friends car or taking a lesson. Get some seat time in well before your car arrives.

    I personally think driving Manual makes you a better driver. And even though I have now driven automatics... for.. 15-ish years? After having learned...and driven for 2 years... I find that I'm always craving it... My left foot always wandering for the missing pedal, and my right hand always resting on the useless shift knob.

    Love Manual. Can't wait to get back into it, and I live in the 2nd worst city to drive in..in North America. (L.A took 1st)
    aborbs87 likes this.
  8. Marco

    Marco New Member

    You'll be fine, just give it some gas.
    aborbs87 likes this.
  9. tubbyaz

    tubbyaz Member

    +1 on the old POS training. I learned on a 65 Chevy pickup back in the day. I've owned 10 cars in my lifetime, eight of them manual transmissions. I've never really liked driving automatics. A manual adds personality, and demands participation and attention.

    I've tried teaching my nephew to drive a stick (and he better pick it up as he's buying my Focus as soon as my FiST arrives next month). He starts to get the hang of it by the end of the session, but it ends up being weeks between sessions (he works crazy fast food hours), and he forgets what he's learned. I've decided no more sessions until the new one arrives, and he can immerse himself in the Focus completely, and be able to regularly drive it.
    aborbs87 likes this.
  10. mcummings182

    mcummings182 Member

    Don't worry, I'm in the exact same boat! I have a 2011 Fiesta and when I heard about the ST I was so excited...until I found out it was manual transmission only. My friend has been teaching me and the hardest part is getting the car moving. I keep stalling it out. Other than than, it's easy. I'm trying to find a cheap beater stick shift to practice with so I can practice every day instead of once a week.
    aborbs87 likes this.
  11. RodMoe

    RodMoe Well-Known Member

    Does the ST have that "Hill Hold" feature so even starting on a incline or downslope wont be such a fearful thing till you get the hang of it ?
    WmJay likes this.
  12. WmJay

    WmJay Member

    It does have hill assist. The option to turn it on and off is in the settings on the nav screen. By default it's set to on.
  13. RodMoe

    RodMoe Well-Known Member

    Well there you do I think the ST will be a fine car to learn on as the Hill holder will help you in tight spots and the motor will have a big fat torque curve near the engagement point of the clutch you won't snub it off too many times and traction control should help you from doing hairy burn out.. Like some have said just takes time and practice practice practice in a wide open area at first then maybe someplace with more things to maneuver around.. and remember when stopping put in the clutch and brake so you don't snub the motor :) Maybe your sales person can give you a quick lesson in one of their used cars to be nice .. But don't fear the STICK ....
    aborbs87 likes this.
  14. wash

    wash Active Member

    Starting and even starting on a hill just requires a little dexterity and feel for the throttle.

    I wouldn't start trying to learn hill starts because if you goof a start on a flat, at least you don't begin rolling backward.

    Once you are good starting on a flat, start on the hills. But don't stress out on hills, lots of people very comfortable with driving stick look bad on hills if they do not drive on them often.

    A little ugly is fine and many people never improve beyond that.
  15. Mayhem

    Mayhem Active Member

    Good idea inquiring with the sales guy too... Know a few people who learned that way. If you got a good salesperson who is willing, why not.

    Obviously don't start on hills immediately.... But you are going to have to deal with them so it's still a good idea to practice on them when you get to that point, rather than being caught off guard running into one and not having practiced.

    And also, if you are comfortable with your e-brake, you won't roll back whatsoever. Just make sure it's off when you get moving. I can't comment on the hill assist feature. I've never had the privilege. Sounds like it'll make life that much easier.

    Honestly, anyone driving a manual for a long time absolutely should not look bad on hills. There's really no excuse. Generally people are not going to give you extra space while they sip their latte and text in their auto while riding your bumper. If you roll back you'll be 100% at fault come insurance time. It's not hard to stay positioned on a hill and never have to use your brakes at all. Still smart to use the brakes so people heed the tail lights though.

    But yeah, if you're gonna learn.. Learn. And if you're unsure if you can live with it, definitely go learn first and then decide if the ST's for you.

    I took a pretty huge leap of faith pre ordering my Camaro having never driven a Manual. Worked out well for me, but in hindsight probably not a wise idea as some people really don't take to Manual.
    aborbs87 likes this.
  16. mcummings182

    mcummings182 Member

    I thought if you roll back and hit someone that its their fault?
  17. Mayhem

    Mayhem Active Member

    I guess that may be true in some places and I shouldn't assume my local rules apply. Not the case with ICBC here, unless the person you roll into admits fault or you have a witness or video that somehow places them at fault. You are expected to be able to operate a manual without rolling back here.

    If it is the opposite in other places, I can see why there might be a willingness to not care if you are able to prevent a rollback or not...

    Fault is divided by %'s, and I would imagine the absolute BEST case scenario, is.... if you were able to somehow prove with video that they were tailgating you severely and driving unsafe... somehow alleviating partial fault from you... But for the most part, being the person operating the vehicle that moved... and hit the other person... You would still be primarily at fault and it would come mostly out of your insurance.

    I can't say that I've ever heard of someone rolling back into someone, and the rear person being found at fault.
  18. aborbs87

    aborbs87 Active Member

    Thanks for all the great posts guys!

    Definitely will be looking into this one, I have a buddy in mind.

    Love this idea! out of the box thinking at its finest.

    Thanks for sharing the story. This was kinda my plan, knowing you were able to pull it off gives me confidence!

    Looking online at a local driving school right now!

    Here I am thinking I was the only one! Glad to hear your getting the hang of it, let me know how it goes.

    Great info!
  19. Smokin

    Smokin Active Member

    You'll be fine. just find a school or open parking lot on the weekends and practice. You'll have it in a day....
  20. Sil3nt611

    Sil3nt611 Active Member

    I already had driven manual in the past, but never on the road when I decided to swap to a manual transmission in my ZX2. I started watching videos online just to get a better understanding. This guy does several videos I found helpful. I swapped my transmission and two weeks later I was driving to Ohio from Texas. I wasn't a master, but it was not difficult. There's a hill start on the road I lived on so it was kinda hard to avoid. Luckily for the first month I was learning I never had anyone behind me. I used my handbrake at first to help hold. I still use my handbrake at times if the hill is steep and some dufus pulls up inches behind me. I'd rather be sure I don't hit them than be at fault for rolling two inches back while they pull forward as I let off my brake... If you get someone behind you, don't get nervous. I did after backing out of a parking spot on a slight slope and some guy pulled up behind me as I was stopping ans shifting into first. I ended up stalling out more than 5 times before I finally got it going because I was all nervous. The guy was patient though amazingly.


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