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Americans / Canadians: Manual Transmissions and You

My Thoughts on Manual Transmissions:

  • I greatly prefer to drive standards

  • I’m proficient in driving a standard but don't care to do so

  • I don't know how to drive a standard but would love to learn

  • I don’t know how to drive a standard and couldn't be bothered to learn!


Results are only viewable after voting.

Toothpick

Needs milk and a bidet!
Moderator
Never drove a manual in my life. Maybe one day I'll learn but it isn't at the top of my to-do list. Or even in the middle.

I'll always own an automatic because I of the convenience
 

Alacrity59

Wanting for wisdom
Moderator Emeritus
Contributor
I wish everybody had to drive manual. It would keep people's left foot off the brake so I would not have to watch brake lights flashing on and off and on and off. How can someone be speeding up and have their brake lights come on . . . ack.

On the tractor trailer side automatics are not exactly perfect yet. We see a lot of drive line damage on the autos because they don't shift as smoothly as humans can. On the other other hand the automatic transmissions are a part of an amazingly complex computer controlled system that significantly boosts fuel mileage. Darn hard to beat an owner operator driving his own rig for three or four decades and paying for his own fuel. These guys are artists at driving . . . seriously.
 
It's very hilly where I live. When I moved here I owned a car with a stick, and have owned two more since then, but never more. It's just not worth it to me.
 
It's very hilly where I live. When I moved here I owned a car with a stick, and have owned two more since then, but never more. It's just not worth it to me.
Don't worry, they even have that covered these days. Called hill-start assist and helps prevent rollback when starting from a hill. Is it any surprise that self-driving cars are just around the corner?
 

mdevine

Moderator Emeritus
Don't worry, they even have that covered these days. Called hill-start assist and helps prevent rollback when starting from a hill. Is it any surprise that self-driving cars are just around the corner?
Since buying my first car in the early 80s, all but one of my cars have had manual transmissions. I had an Eldorado for a couple years in the 90s, and missed driving stick. I've taught all five of my kids to drive with a standard transmission, including my now 16 year old. Just the other day, I told him that my generation may be the last that teaches their children to drive. By the time my children have their own kids, I suspect all cars will be self driving.
 
All of my vehicles have been manuals. That was until yesterday... SWMBO was tired of driving our 2dr manual Jeep Rubicon in and around the city... Happy Wife = Happy life = a Ford Escape purchase... Saving grace, paddle shifters. Hopefully it is something like a manual.

Incidentally I have a Jeep Rubicon for sale! :tongue_sm:laugh:
 
I like driving a manual transmission, allows one to get more engaged with the flow of traffic. Though I did drive an automatic two wheel scooter on vacation which was nice in the congested traffic and unfamiliar road.

But will any of this matter once the robot-powered ride-sharing vehicles invade our streets.
 

YKMV

Contributor
We have a VW Golf in M/T and a Ford Focus in A/T.
My wife learned to drive on manual and is good at it but since we got the Ford, she prefers it most of the time.
I prefer the VW. Smaller and cheaper to run and parking with all the beepers is a breeze.
Our son learned on a manual since that's all that's offered in the German Driver Education game..... He's bad at it and hates it.. We got him a VW Polo with A/T... Since he went to school in Prague and now is going to school in Budapest, the A/T is a godsend... His driving frightens his mother and I don't get invited since he knows what I'll say..but at least we know the car has a fighting chance of surviving. Driving in Prague even frightens me... those people are crazy!! :tongue_sm
 
I never knew Thunder Bay even had heavy rush hour traffic. Must be all those wild Moose hogging the passing lane! :lol:
Especially true of the beginner moose who can't seem to get it out of bull low. We'd be better off if they came equipped with an auto tranny.

Bob
 
Try to push start an automatic with a dead starter. Or bad solenoid. Or battery that just can't quite get it to turn over. Being stranded out in the middle of nowhere with a vehicle that is perfectly capable of running if you could just START it, kinda sucks. Also, my foot keeps stabbing for a clutch pedal that isnt there, when I stop at a light in a car or truck with an automatic. It is just WRONG. The only time a standard is a PITA to me is very hilly cities like SF or Philly or Portland, where you have stop and go traffic bumper to bumper wih plenty of red lights, combined with steep hills. That will almost have me wishing for an automatic to do the driving for me and I just steer the car, stop it, and go it. But nah.

Used to be, we called them Standard Transmissions. Now, people call them "Manual" transmissions like they are some specialized oddball thing. It is the basic thing, hardly removed from the nitty gritty mechanics of making a car go. We are getting to be a species that totally ignores every aspect of owning a vehicle except for paying for it and going somewhere in it. I got one of my neighbors to admit that he has NEVER EVER even checked his engine oil, much less any other fluids, and he only ever popped the hood once, to get a jump start. I showed him how to check belt tension, look for cracked hoses, check fluids, inspect battery connections, test and replace fuses, look where the car was parked for liquid stuff that doesn't belong, check and inflate tires, measure tread wear, change oil and filters and fuel filters too, all that good stuff and he was gung ho about it for about lets see... a week, maybe. Why? Because cars are going all space shuttley on us and dealers want to sell you on the idea of just mashing the gas pedal and turning the steering wheel and calling it driving. They HATE to sell you a Standard transmission. Or rollup windows. Manual door locks. And forget about fully manual brakes and steering... not that that was ever any fun, but where the rubber meets the road, and all the mechanical and electrical stuff going on between you and it, are this big abstract irrelevant concept these days. Used to be, most any 17yo kid could do a tuneup... a real tuneup. Now, you got grownups who have to call AAA when they get a flat tire.

Automatics are the carts of the car world. Standards are the Straights, or at least the DE's.
 
Try to push start an automatic with a dead starter. Or bad solenoid. Or battery that just can't quite get it to turn over. Being stranded out in the middle of nowhere with a vehicle that is perfectly capable of running if you could just START it, kinda sucks. Also, my foot keeps stabbing for a clutch pedal that isnt there, when I stop at a light in a car or truck with an automatic. It is just WRONG. The only time a standard is a PITA to me is very hilly cities like SF or Philly or Portland, where you have stop and go traffic bumper to bumper wih plenty of red lights, combined with steep hills. That will almost have me wishing for an automatic to do the driving for me and I just steer the car, stop it, and go it. But nah.

Used to be, we called them Standard Transmissions. Now, people call them "Manual" transmissions like they are some specialized oddball thing. It is the basic thing, hardly removed from the nitty gritty mechanics of making a car go. We are getting to be a species that totally ignores every aspect of owning a vehicle except for paying for it and going somewhere in it. I got one of my neighbors to admit that he has NEVER EVER even checked his engine oil, much less any other fluids, and he only ever popped the hood once, to get a jump start. I showed him how to check belt tension, look for cracked hoses, check fluids, inspect battery connections, test and replace fuses, look where the car was parked for liquid stuff that doesn't belong, check and inflate tires, measure tread wear, change oil and filters and fuel filters too, all that good stuff and he was gung ho about it for about lets see... a week, maybe. Why? Because cars are going all space shuttley on us and dealers want to sell you on the idea of just mashing the gas pedal and turning the steering wheel and calling it driving. They HATE to sell you a Standard transmission. Or rollup windows. Manual door locks. And forget about fully manual brakes and steering... not that that was ever any fun, but where the rubber meets the road, and all the mechanical and electrical stuff going on between you and it, are this big abstract irrelevant concept these days. Used to be, most any 17yo kid could do a tuneup... a real tuneup. Now, you got grownups who have to call AAA when they get a flat tire.

Automatics are the carts of the car world. Standards are the Straights, or at least the DE's.
Yea, that is one way of looking at it. OTH cars have come a long way in reliability to render most of that unnecessary to know. The down side is as you say when an electronic piece goes, usually without warning, you are dead in the water. Mechanically the car is capable of running if it wasn't for the defunct electronic part. What you make on the bear you loose on the peanuts.

Bob
 
Never learned. Several years ago, my wife and I were in Ireland, and the rental cars were all still stick.
It was a good thing that she knew how!
 
autos are great in stop and go traffic, like cities. but manual are all around better. i learned on both types, always felt better and more confident driving a manual
 
my first experiance in driving stick was on my uncle tractor as a kid. I was still small enough that every time I had to shift, I had to use both hands. it made for an interesting field when I was done with the bush hog because it had a hard pull to the right, so every time I let go of the wheel to shift it would start going to the right, then after shifting I would straighten it back out. lol! when I was a teenager my father started to let me driver his F-350 Duelly. it was a 5 speed manual with a heck of a clutch. my first truck at 16 was an automatic but less then 6 months later I sold it (not do to the transmission, just do to having to work on it every single day after school just to keep it running). my second truck was a stick. I was still 16, and I have been driving stick ever since. I currently own two cars, one is an automatic and on the days I have to drive it, I find it boring. I just simply enjoy a manual tranny. I thought my wife when we started dating about 8 years ago. she is the only one in her entire family that drives stick other than her father. it blew my mind when I learned that none of them knew how. I genuinely thought most people knew how. everyone in my family knows how, even if they don't driver one daily. my mother, father, both grandmothers, all my cousins, uncles, my grandfathers when they were alive, etc.
 
They are a PITA to use in heavy stop and go traffic though.

Just not enough reason for me to use a manual transmission these days.

Bob
Manual transmissions are a dream to use in traffic. While everyone else is stomping on the throttle to slam the brakes on in 5 feet, I slip off the clutch in 1st and just let it idle along.

There isn't an option for me. I guess I can say I prefer to drive manual, but going off the other options of "don't know how to drive manual", I say I don't know how to drive an automatic. They do such stupid stuff and generally react opposite of what I want it to do which I take care of when I drive with my manual.
 

Acmemfg

Contributor
Ambassador
I learned to drive with a column mounted 3 speed. Up until quite recently it seems about every 2nd or 3rd truck I owned had M/T. The current Ford Explorer has paddle shifters...never use them.

If I need that old school "run it through the gears" vibe, I'll crack out the Harley.

Odd how automatic transmision motorcycles never caught on. Honda still makes one I think. Never actually saw one up close though.
Some other outfit (Ridley) made an A/T bike as well. They were kind of rare. I believe they're still somewhat available but production is on hold.
 
Grew up with MT vehicles, but don't own one now. They are great for snow, but it rarely snows anymore where I live. AT are generally easier for me in heavy traffic, so when I go to the city they are nice. My car has a manual shift option, which works about as well as a manual for everything but push/bump starts.
 
I learned to drive with a column mounted 3 speed. Up until quite recently it seems about every 2nd or 3rd truck I owned had M/T. The current Ford Explorer has paddle shifters...never use them.

If I need that old school "run it through the gears" vibe, I'll crack out the Harley.

Odd how automatic transmision motorcycles never caught on. Honda still makes one I think. Never actually saw one up close though.
Some other outfit (Ridley) made an A/T bike as well. They were kind of rare. I believe they're still somewhat available but production is on hold.
I have ridden, but HATE AT bikes. Engine braking is a lot more important with a motorcycle than it is with a car.
 

YKMV

Contributor
Manual transmissions are a dream to use in traffic. While everyone else is stomping on the throttle to slam the brakes on in 5 feet, I slip off the clutch in 1st and just let it idle along.
Quite Right. I'm always finding the car is going faster than I want it to just about the time I have to hit the brake before I rear-end the guys in front of me...And I don't consider myself a lead-foot driver.

It's the lag-time and the response-time that gets me in trouble.
 
I had quite a few manual transmission cars and taught both of my children to drive on an MGB. My daughter still breaks out in a sweat talking about stopping at a light while aimed uphill, with another car close behind. I live in the metro NYC area and a shift is just too much work in traffic. The only way that I would ever get another shift car would be a sports car (probably antique anyway).
 
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