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How to drive a standard transmission car? Step by Step

Driving School: Learn to Drive Stick Shift via Amazon

Whether your answer to the poll is yes or no, if you will follow the below-mentioned steps in your real training, I guarantee that you will start driving a standard transmission car in a matter of days, of course you will not hit a tree or someone with this training.

So today I will explain you step by step on how to drive a standard transmission car. The two main factors for successfully driving a standard transmission car are patience and confidence. These both factors not only apply to the learner but also to the instructor.

Driving any car whether it is standard or automatic requires determination and concentration but a person should be more cautious when driving a standard transmission car. There are many people who know how to drive a car with automatic transmission and can manage on how to drive when they are already moving but learning to drive with changing gears and shifters is the main thing. It is not that driving a manual transmission is really difficult because in my country India, most cars come with manual or standard transmission and even I learned driving standard transmission cars around 7 years ago when I was 25 years of age. Also, there are a lot of old people and young boys and girls whom I have seen on Delhi’s road learning to drive a standard transmission car. I remember that I learned driving my first car from a prominent driving school in Delhi. So let’s move on and learn how to drive a standard transmission car step by step:

Learn how to drive a standard transmission car.

Learn how to drive a standard transmission car.

Here is a stick shift car from Maruti

Here is a stick shift car from Maruti

Cannaught Place in Delhi. These all are standard transmission cars driving here. This is something known as bumper to bumper traffic where there is just a finger space between you and the car behind and front of you making 1st gear very important.

Cannaught Place in Delhi. These all are standard transmission cars driving here. This is something known as bumper to bumper traffic where there is just a finger space between you and the car behind and front of you making 1st gear very important.

Step 1 - Find a Large Safe Area

Day 1 of learning a standard transmission is very important and you must find a large safe area to practice driving the car. Try to learn in an area where there is no or little traffic, pedestrians, or, obstacles. A learner must hire a driving instructor with the car that has brakes in front of both seats, I mean driver’s seat and front passenger’s seat where the instructor is sitting because sometimes it is not possible to avoid crowd and when the learner loses confidence and is unable to hit the brake pedal, the instructor can to avoid injury to pedestrians or a motor vehicle accident.

Step 2 - Only You and Instructor In The Car

Now in step 2, only instructor and learner should be sitting inside the car and there should be no third person in the rear seats to avoid distraction.

Step 3 - Moving the Car in First Gear

In this step, pull up the hand brake or parking brake of your car and press with your foot on the clutch, brakes, and accelerator. Your instructor will make you friendly with them. Remember, clutch is to be pressed for changing gears, brakes to stop the car, and accelerator to the move the car. Now, your instructor will make you familiar with the shifter. For example if your car has five gears, first one in front, second one in back, then third one in front and fourth one in back and then fifth one in front and reverse gear at the back. Neutral is always in the center. All the gears are mentioned on the gear stick and need to be understood before utilizing. You do not need to use third gear until and unless you are familiar with starting to use first gear and second gear with the manual transmission because using higher gears or high speeds in the training period can make you lose control on the car and cause an accident.

Step 4 - First Gear Continued

Now before starting the car check if your shifter is in neutral. Okay it’s in neutral now what. Now start the car, release the parking brake, and press with your feet on the clutch completely. Now apply first gear and release the clutch slowly and slowly and also press the accelerator a bit, remember only a bit or the car will turn off with a quick jerk. This is the most important step for beginners. 50% of your driving is complete is you learn the first gear and then shifting other gears while the car is moving.

Step 5 - Learning Second Gear

The most difficult part of driving a standard transmission is to make your car moving and that work is accomplished with the first gear because your car will not pick up on other gears and if it can, do not do it because it will put unnecessary pressure on your clutch plates and gear mechanism causing wear and tear of the system or a complete burnout in a matter of months. First of all, you need to learn how to use clutch and accelerator simultaneously, very little of that will not move your car, very much of that can stop the car with a jump or jerk, so your both feet need to work simultaneously so you need to practice it several times until and unless you consider turning the second gear. I remember it took me two days to learn the first gear, I was too slow. No no. Everyone is not like me. Some people learn it very quickly. Just you need to concentrate.

Step 6 - Second Gear Continued

Now when you are all set with the first gear, give some time to the reverse gear. Once you have learned the first gear, it would not be really difficult for you to understand the second gear. Once you are confident about first and reverse gears, you are all set to move forward with higher speed gears.

Now watch this video on how to drive a manual trasmisson car.

Step 7 - Getting Familiar with Gears

Now in step 7, start the car, release the parking brake, press the clutch, apply first gear, move the vehicle, and when the car is in moving a little bit, press the clutch again and apply second gear. Now your car will be moving really smoothly in second gear. Now stop the car and do this again and again until and unless you are familiar with neutral, first, second, and reverse gears.

Step 8 - Learning High Speeds

Now in step 8, again repeat all the steps till second gear and then use the third gear for higher speeds. Slowly and steadily, you will not be in need of a safe area to drive as you will get familiar with all the gears, clutch, brakes, accelerator, and other things including left and right indicators, but then also avoid driving initially in high-traffic areas and on streets with hills.

Step 9 - Moving the Car Uphill in First Gear

Now comes the most important step where not only beginners but sometimes old car drivers lose control and that is handling a car uphill or on an incline. When I was learning driving a standard transmission, my instructor gave little time to drive uphill and that is why I lost control one or two times with my girlfriend sitting on the passenger side and that was a distress for me. So what I did is that I chose an isolated hill and started learning to drive my standard car uphill on the slope. I needed to use parking brakes many times but in two or three days, I mastered it. Now I will tell you how to do it. Take your standard car to a nearby hilly road, drive on until you reach a point where you will go back down unless you apply a brake, stop your car with the pedal brake, pull on your hand brake, now apply first gear and use clutch and accelerator simultaneously and at the same time release the parking brake. This time you will need to use a little more acceleration as it is uphill. If your car stops with a jerk, pull on the hand brake, do the procedure again and again until and unless you are able to take your car up the hilly road. Now, when you are able to do it with hand brake, practice doing it without parking brake or hand brake.

Step 10 - Parking Car in Reverse Using Rear View Mirror

Another important thing is to park the vehicle in reverse which you will also learn slowly and slowly. Always remember that the reverse gear is very powerful so you need to slow down while doing that. If you do it quickly, there are more chances of hitting something on the road as you can easily lose control in reverse gear.

So above were a few steps on how to drive a standard transmission car. I hope you will get rid of the fear of driving a stick shift car and will start driving on your own in a matter of days. For advanced learners, if you want to drive in high-traffic conditions then there is no place better than Delhi in India. Come to my place and I will teach you how to drive a stick shift in traffic that is only crawling where you need to apply the first gear several times in a minute. For comments, where new learners are asking can we press clutch every time there is a turn or something, I would say no because pressing clutch unnecessarily burns out the clutch and gear system and also fuel efficiency of the car is drastically decreased so apply clutch only when you need to shift gears or when you need that your vehicle will touch the other car in front of you if you will not do that.


Samatar timacade on April 26, 2015:

Thank u just i able to drive acar

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Karthik on December 08, 2013:

Thank you for the information.Information is wealth.

buddhaanalysis on May 08, 2013:

Gear changing is very difficult. I left driving class in middle. I always wonder what will happen if gear would be shifted to reverse accidently while car in full speed.

kathleenkat from Bellingham, WA on October 24, 2012:

This caught my eye, particularly because I drive a manual transmission. This is a very good explanation, and very good video...However, practice makes perfect. For me, it didn't matter how well I understood it, or how many times I watched others drive, I still managed to stall the hell out my car for the first few months driving it. Each car is different, too. I'll stall a car that I don't have experience driving, too.

Rajinder Soni (author) from New Delhi, India on October 09, 2012:

You all are welcome. Thank you so much for liking this hub. I am glad that I was able to teach you how to drive a manual transmission car.

sashiragu on August 29, 2012:

it is great ,thank u

waad on June 04, 2012:

you r greattttttttttttttttttttt

Priyanka on May 17, 2012:

its really helpufull thanks

tar on May 10, 2012:

yup itz too good nope

Alik Demeter on April 26, 2012:

If it's serious then Don't ask me to do that again.

Velina on April 21, 2012:

Thanks a lot! Great lessons an tips!

kishore on April 17, 2012:

Thank you, this is a very good lesson for new learners. soni2006 is a good teacher.

apoline on April 06, 2012:

i have gone for more than 35 classes, still not able to drive a car. i am so scared. can someone lend me some confidence?

Merlyn on March 26, 2012:

Thanks for the info. I found it very informative

DJ on February 28, 2012:

I am a new car learner.. Can someone please explain the steps to be followed whilst using reverse gear.

joe on February 23, 2012:

Why are u trying to drive and use the clutch to shift thru

all of the gears for. Driving a standard from first gear you dont even need to use the clutch, you match the shift (ex. go first to second aroungd 1000 - 1300 rpm and the trans will shift into the next gear without using a clutch. Truckers dont shift with the clutch everytime, that's what wears the clutch out plus coasting with the clutch in does the same thing.

When the rpms are right you a:shift 1st to neutral and then into second gear without using the clutch, and the same for the next gear. It takes practice.

osbert on February 15, 2012:

am from nigeria thank u 4 some lession u mention. can i always apply clutch when i pull break, is it necessary?

tej on February 05, 2012:

Thanx for all the information and one thing which is most imp is missing and that is how to learn cutting of car on turns and traffic....

Kuda on January 26, 2012:

Thanx vry much,i learnd a lot

James on January 20, 2012:


SAYAN on January 13, 2012:

really helpful,, and we can it as a confidence booster

steven on January 12, 2012:

Have liked the knoweldge.. YOUR GREAT

gez on December 20, 2011:

tnx it's reely usful...

vijay on December 14, 2011:

Today was my 1st day at driving school with manual transmission old maruti suzuki esteem. Now i know what will be taught to me in next few days, i think information you ve provided will be grt help for new driver like me.

seth amankwah on December 09, 2011:

thank you very much now i can move a car to the second gear.i did exactly what you said.

neeta gaonkar on November 20, 2011:

Thanks, as information are very nice. As i m a new learner, the steps given by u are very useful for new learners as well as the people who drives a car. Explaination written by u are very nice.

benjamin on November 19, 2011:

the steps are simple and striaght forward good work

rafique on November 06, 2011:

dude ur steps r very intresting nd very use full 4 the new learners

DeePee on October 16, 2011:

This is how you move your car after you have to stop on an uphill slope - Shift to first gear, while still pressing the brake down. Now release the clutch slowly to the point of 'biting' when you feel the rpm coming down. Just take off your feet from the brake. You will find the car will not roll back. Then give a little more gas than usual. You will smoothly roll forward!

sdprem on October 15, 2011:

I am learner. I always struggle on ascents. I always move backward sending a shock wave to the vehicle at my back or jerk and stop! After reading your hub, just got out, started my Maruthi 800, on the slope just in front of our house, I just manuevered the clutch and gas and just hung there without moving. Wow! What a blessing for Indian roads and traffic. Thank you!

Dinesh` on October 13, 2011:

Dude these are very good steps........... I learned driving a car very easily as I followed your tips/steps..thanks bhai

Lucky1veera on October 01, 2011:

is the Indian cars also in standard transmission system?

Stephanie on September 16, 2011:

When you are on a high speed, would you press the clutch or the brakes. If you to stop the car immediately. Or when you approach the check point. Pls

Jagadeesh on September 13, 2011:

Yes this is very good for new beginers. I brought an small old second hand car(Maruthi 800 AC.) where I have no idea at all. After having a glance on this post I got a good confidence for kickstart and started learnt in a week days now I am driving alone my car. I suggest to be careful look to the front,back right left right while turnings. Safty first. Do not over take unless required.

Steering control also plays a major role with shifting of gears.

Happy driving. Enjoy a cool ride.

barkha on September 09, 2011:

really cool it was the simplest and the best way to learn driving even cheaper only thing i wished it laid some pictures to support the article

super cool article


D.Jayaprakash on September 05, 2011:

Hi antonio,

You should use the same speed you release the clutch and

Antonio on August 31, 2011:

I need a little more lecture on how slow i can release the clutch and how fast i should accelrate to move a car in first gear

priyanka on August 09, 2011:

i m scared i have my first driving lesson reading dis made me feel comfortable wid driving!

senthil kumar on July 24, 2011:

very useful for who all are trying to learn driving with proper way like me.

Rajinder Soni (author) from New Delhi, India on July 24, 2011:

Hello William, if you will press too hard then the vehicle will stop with a jerk but if you are in traffic and would like to move slowly then you can press a little clutch with little brake simultaneously.

@maverickserp and fashion, thanks a lot dear.

fashion on July 23, 2011:

Great article.It is very helpful for new drivers.

maverickserp from Philippines on July 19, 2011:

This hub is perfect for those who just start learning or want to learn how to drive a manual transmission car.

william on July 18, 2011:

hi, this realy helps i am 19 i wana be a perfect driver so

what will happen if i apply a footbrake while i am driving on a second gear without using a clutch?

Rajinder Soni (author) from New Delhi, India on July 13, 2011:

What is this metaxeirismena aytokinhta? Is this a car or something. Please elaborate.

metaxeirismena aytokinhta on July 13, 2011:

Thanks for your effort .You did the job well,this steps would really help the reader ,it easy to understand and well written.My dad give his metaxeirismena aytokinhta and in that I’m having a driving lesson.

I"LL KEEP IN MIND patience and confident.

Rajinder Soni (author) from New Delhi, India on May 29, 2011:

You can join any driving learning school in your area. Practical classes from my end is very difficult as I have little time to give the classes. By the way, if you have any question, let me know here.

Prashanth on May 29, 2011:

Hi Soni, Thanks for the training article, which was very useful..Could you help us in pratical classes as well.



Victor on March 22, 2011:

Thanks for step by step instuctions to learn and drive the car.

didi on February 14, 2011:

very much helpful thank you.

Ravi on January 12, 2011:

INDIANS always ROCKS.... No doubt

Sarika Mehra on December 04, 2010:

Thanks it will really help me ,I am learning to drive presently.

Vincent on December 01, 2010:

Very helpful piece of article. Thanks.

amit on November 03, 2010:

I thing there should be a brake that doesn't need to be released while going uphill.

sudhakar on November 02, 2010:

its really helpful learners. After reading this i got enough confident taking car on hill points


jamesmspacey from Hobart, Australia on October 26, 2010:

It's amazing that so many people can't drive a manual transmission. It's just something I think everyone should be able to do and it's not hard to learn and comes naturally after a short while.

ash on October 18, 2010:

Hi Soni,

Thanks for taking your time out for this post. It was really helpful.

transmissionauto on October 10, 2010:

Hi friend i see your hub this is nice. If you want a best Transmission please visit our site...........

venkat on September 19, 2010:

thanks for your posting , this gave a confidence to start learning car ..

ANUKRISH on September 18, 2010:

HI, Soni thanks for this hub. I learnt driving a SUMO [8months] back. After reading this i feel i can drive my car Maruti 800. Problem: how to release clutch and accelerate simultaneously. STEP 4: answer

Thanks. My steering wheel is locked how to unlock it?

Rajinder Soni (author) from New Delhi, India on August 22, 2010:

@Art of Legend India, thanks for your visit.

@Hardlymoving, yes i agree with your tips for longevity of the clutch. People who ride on the clutch need an early replacement of clutch wire and in severe cases replacement of all clutch plates mechanism.

hardlymoving from Memphis, TN on August 06, 2010:

Just a few technical points I'd like to add to increase the longevity of the clutch:

* The time of greatest wear on the clutch disc is during 1st gear engagement. To reduce this wear and avoid a costly clutch replacement job, apply gas only when you feel the clutch is starting to move the car. Not a lot of gas is needed ... then raise the clutch pedal and apply gas pressure together.

* When at a stop, place the transmission in neutral and take your foot off the clutch. Keeping your foot down on the clutch will place wear on a clutch component called the Clutch Throw Out Bearing.

* Never, ever ride the clutch. That's where instead of using the brakes on a hill, you slip the clutch to keep the car from rolling back.

Art of legend on August 03, 2010:

Thank you for information. your method is very easy for learning car driving with safety.When we shall learn car driving I shall follow your method. nice hub.

Rajinder Soni (author) from New Delhi, India on June 30, 2010:

Thank you so much thehands, kellydove, regis, and Kim for sharing your experience with stick car. Yes going uphill and maintaining the stick car in a constant speed with proper use of clutch, acceleration, and brakes is the toughest point. There are still many people in India who feel afraid of going uphill; I was one out of them two year ago.

Kim on June 29, 2010:

I am surprised that not everyone knows how to do this. I think that everyone should know it. Thanks for putting it out there for them to learn.

Regis on June 29, 2010:

I remember teaching my wife to drive a stick shift. It was in a small Toyota.

She did fine until we went up a hill at probqbly a 45 degree angle in Pittsburgh called, Potoma Avenue.

Since the car's rpms were dropping drastically as she started up the hill, I told my wife, Jennie, to shift into 2nd gear.

This done, the car (Dodge Colt) had lost so much momentum that 1st gear could only save her.

Jennie stopped; put both feet on the brake pedal in neutral and said, "You drive, please?"

I got out and came around to the driver's side and got inside while my two children sat mesmerized in the rear seat.

Jennie slid over the gearshift lever, but not until I had both feet firmly planted on the brake pedal.

Whence, we drove up the hill and came home. Interestingly enough, Jennie would take the Toyota out during the time our two kids were in school and practice over-and-over again, releasing the clutch pedal.

I will never forget the experience, nor will my children, nor will my wife, Jennie, who by the way, is now an expert shifter.

kellydove on June 29, 2010:

very informative hub

Jorge Vamos on June 29, 2010:

Thanks for the tips. Once my friend tried to get me to drive her manual truck. Yeah, it wasn't pretty. Maybe with time and practice...

Rajinder Soni (author) from New Delhi, India on June 29, 2010:

Thanks a lot wsteveg and brix99 for your sharing your personal experience with training and driving a standard transmission car.

brix99 on June 28, 2010:

had trouble with the uphill one time i was caught in a traffic. good thing i was able to handle the right clutch and gas to make my vehicle go up the slope.

wsteveg on June 28, 2010:


I like the story.I have one tip

I was an airline pilot and instructor and we taught 1 thing at a time.

After I retired and got in the car business I had to teach a deaf girl. I got taugh her by saying its a game to see how slow you can let out the clutch, NO gas at all. For 5 minutes we started and stopped, went to second like that.We went to a hill and "stood still" with no gas. Then we added the gas and in minutes she had it great

hubpageswriter on June 28, 2010:

A very cool step by step tip which is very useful for beginners and even experienced drivers. Hub up.

Rajinder Soni (author) from New Delhi, India on June 27, 2010:

@md_azamkhan, RogerAD, and charliestork, I am happy that you found my tips helpful enough. Yes I agree #9 is the most nerve racking.

charliestork from USA on June 26, 2010:

Useful guide. Gonna get some lessons soon. :)

RogerAD from USA on June 26, 2010:

I think #9 is often one of the most nerve racking for new drivers. I had pretty much the same sort of instruction as you in regards to learning to start on a hill. That is a great tip about the handbrake too!

To be honest, I feel that if everyone learned to drive a stick first, there would be a lot better drivers out there. You really do get a much better understanding of how the vehicle works. Often, I find that people who have only driven an automatic think their car only has two speeds, go and stop, but really it is possible to control your car much more effectively and efficiently by working with the motor.

md_azamkhan on June 26, 2010:

I can't drive but after read this hub i drive slowly.

thanks for the great hub soni.

Rajinder Soni (author) from New Delhi, India on June 26, 2010:

@jeanie.stecher, cellconcrete, CarpetDiem, thank you so much folks for enjoying this hub. I will check out your hub earnestshub.

earnestshub from Melbourne Australia on June 25, 2010:

Good work soni. I have tried to explain this as well, you have done a good job of it! Driving a standard transmission car is important to know.

CarpetDiem from Southern California on June 25, 2010:

hey soni,

I think you are in India, but here in the US, it's getting harder and harder to buy a car with manual transmission. I think being able to shift and drive might be a dying art. :) That said, I learned to drive on a manual shift car, and think everybody should! Steve

cellconcrete on June 25, 2010:

"... I can still hold the car steady on a hill without the hand break".

I love the smell of burnt clutch in the morning...

jeanie.stecher from Seattle on June 24, 2010:

Ni Soni. I would like to thank you for writing this hub since the content is just very useful and well explained. For me, learning how to drive was not that difficult since I did not manage to join a driving school. What I did was to sneak my dad's car once and when he knew, he taught me the day after next. hehehe... Well,a s for my choice, I'd rather drive a manual transmission car that automatic because of the power it delivers and the speed.

Rajinder Soni (author) from New Delhi, India on June 24, 2010:

Thank you so much case1worker for sharing your personal experience of driving a stick car on hills. I know the most difficult part of handling a Standard Transmission car is remaining them stand without using brakes in hilly areas and I enjoyed doing this when I was a learner.

CASE1WORKER from UNITED KINGDOM on June 23, 2010:

i learnt to drive in Bath, England which is hilly- even the parkign spot was on a hill- I think my first lesson was to find the "biting point" and I can still hold the car steady on a hill without the hand break-

Rajinder Soni (author) from New Delhi, India on June 23, 2010:

Thanks Electro-Denizen and sporn for your feedback.

sporn from Australia on June 22, 2010:

Please god tell me there aren't people out there learning to drive courtesy of hubpages?!

Electro-Denizen from UK on June 22, 2010:

I've struggled in the past to drive an automatic, being a UK resident, and as most cars here are manual (and you have to past your test using a manual car). There seems to be a strange power lag in automatics going uphill. I highly recommend manual transmission, as I think there's greater control of the vehicle. It's second nature to most UK residents. What's weird, are vehicles that choose your gears for you...

Nice hub, thanks :-)

Rajinder Soni (author) from New Delhi, India on June 21, 2010:

Thanks a lot bluemoscow, borge, vrbmft, and lender for your appreciation.

lender3212000 from Beverly Hills, CA on June 21, 2010:

Great tips! I really need to brush up on my manual transmission driving skills, it's been a long time since I've driven anything other than an automatic.

Vernon Bradley from Yucaipa, California on June 21, 2010:

I got to hand it to you. Writing a hub on driving a stick shift is interesting. You forgot to mention to have the learner take the hub with them. It has good information. I got really silly reading the hub, thinking of funny stuff I would add, like wearing a crash helmet and that large safe area to practice in. Have it out in the country where there aren't even cows around! Stick is a challenge, but fun once mastered, but being on a hill for the first time or even for the one hundreth time when the clutch isn't working or slippping is enough to send anyone into panic mode and perhaps even have PTSD the next time one is on a hill even when the clutch and all is working. I crrently drive a 1989 Toyota Celica that needs clutch work, I think. Perhaps something else. But it is a real adventure every time I drive. I can drive about three miles somehwat uphill safely but after that the clutch starts to sieze. Fortunately, my office is about three miles from the house. Downhill back home is a cinch!!

SO I think that it is a success to write an informative hub on such a mundane, but potentially complicated topic. Great job.

borge_009 from Philippines on June 21, 2010:

Great for beginners. This hub will surely help those drivers who just starting to drive specially drivers of standard transmission.

bluemoscow on June 19, 2010:

I thought i was meant to teach peopl never been in da drivers sit before but this! c'mon its just lik its a reminder to people wu haven't driven in lik a week now,

Rajinder Soni (author) from New Delhi, India on May 09, 2010:

Yes, it will be useful to new drivers of standard transmission because I have laid down all the steps to become on how to drive an ST car.

Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on May 09, 2010:

A very well laid out hub. I can't drive but imagine this hub will be very useful to drivers

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