If you’ve never driven a car with a manual transmission, the prospect of learning how might seem overwhelming. It’s not as hard as you might think, however, and we have an in-depth video tutorial to help get you up-to-speed on changing gears and make the learning process go a little smoother.
The video is a great resource for anyone who wants to learn how to drive a manual, but in recognition of National Stick Shift Day on July 16, we thought it would be helpful to also answer questions from drivers who are new to stick shifts. Read on for the answers, and if you have additional questions, send us an email.
Is it OK to start off in 2nd gear instead of 1st?
There’s nothing stopping you from starting in 2nd gear, but most of the time there’s little reason to do so. Plus, it can be harder on your car’s clutch. There are certain situations, however, where starting in 2nd may make sense.
One of those times is when you’re driving on low-traction surfaces, like snow and ice. It’s easier to spin your drive wheels when starting off in 1st gear on a slippery surface than it is in 2nd.
If you try starting off in 2nd gear, you’ll notice the car behaves differently than it does when starting in 1st. When you let off the clutch pedal, engine rpm will fall more rapidly, increasing the possibility of a stall. This might make it harder to get going — especially if you’re new to driving a manual.
Like many things manual-transmission-related, an empty parking lot is your friend. When winter rolls around, find a snow-covered one and try a couple 2nd-gear starts to see how your car responds.