Automotive

Manual Transmission Driving Tips

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[OP]
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Manual Transmission Driving Tips

Let's do one of those threads where people list tips and tricks on how to maximize the efficiency and fun factor of driving a manual transmission car. I know we all like to think we're experts at driving stick or any car for that matter, but I expect to see a lot of polarizing views but all views welcomed. Let's keep it clean and polite.


As for me, I've only been driving manual for a year so I'm looking for tips more than anything but I heard that the highest/tallest gear consumes the least gas so I'm usually in 4th or 5th gear (it's a 5spd) when ever possible regardless if it's 40 or 60km/h.

Has PB been banned? I feel like this is a thread he's more inclined to create.
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I want to learn how to drive stick. Most of my driving right now is city though so I think the whole fun factor would wear off pretty quickly.

Still, I might consider a stick for my next ride.
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Depends on your speed/RPMs. If you're lugging the engine...say 5th gear at 30km/h, you'll have to have your foot down on the accelerator and the engine will be using more fuel to push the car. If you were in second gear at 30km/h then you would use less gas because the gearing lets you ease up on the accelerator.
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dasaylay wrote:
Mar 4th, 2013 12:19 pm
Depends on your speed/RPMs. If you're lugging the engine...say 5th gear at 30km/h, you'll have to have your foot down on the accelerator and the engine will be using more fuel to push the car. If you were in second gear at 30km/h then you would use less gas because the gearing lets you ease up on the accelerator.
Good advice. I'm in North so everyone drives like 60-80km/h here. I'm rowing through the gears pretty frequent.

Pro, it's a personal choice. I think if you're buying a manual gear car to save on the initial cost you would make up that cost in 4-5 years because manuals are now getting worst mileage than the auto equivalent. Most new autos are now CVTs now which get better mileage so it depends if you get an econobox to save fuel.

It's a shame though because I'm looking at a car and they only offer CVT with their AWD model and I'm kind of coaxing myself into liking the CVT because of the torque vectoring AWD which I hear is awesome in this car.
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Supercooled wrote:
Mar 4th, 2013 12:47 pm
Good advice. I'm in North so everyone drives like 60-80 km/h here. I'm rowing through the gears pretty frequent.
You can also skip gears in a manual transmission car, provided you can get enough low-end torque from the engine. On my Mustang GT, in the city, I can go from 1-4-6, plenty of grunt. On the Civic, I can only do 1-2-4-5, since the engine is basically gutless.
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Pretend you have no brakes. Learn to control speed with throttle alone. With a manual transmission (or rather, without a torque converter); you can slow down the car sufficiently by just closing throttle.

This forces you to look further up ahead; and smooths out traffic.
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KevC wrote:
Mar 4th, 2013 1:05 pm
Pretend you have no brakes. Learn to control speed with throttle alone. With a manual transmission (or rather, without a torque converter); you can slow down the car sufficiently by just closing throttle.

This forces you to look further up ahead; and smooths out traffic.
I think that little nugget will become very apparent real fast to new drivers. I know when I first discovered that, I was thrilled and giddy as all get out. Needless to say, that is how I navigate congestion either on city or highways. Still amuses me to see cars closing in on me before they realize they better hit their brakes. :D
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KevC wrote:
Mar 4th, 2013 1:05 pm
Pretend you have no brakes. Learn to control speed with throttle alone. With a manual transmission (or rather, without a torque converter); you can slow down the car sufficiently by just closing throttle.

This forces you to look further up ahead; and smooths out traffic.
Isn't that essentially engine breaking, which wears out your transmission faster?
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LyGuy wrote:
Mar 4th, 2013 1:15 pm
Isn't that essentially engine breaking, which wears out your transmission faster?
Yep. But as long as you're not downshifting, slipping the clutch to get into 1st at 7000rpm.

I don't even downshift unless I'm driving really aggressively.
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KevC wrote:
Mar 4th, 2013 1:05 pm
Pretend you have no brakes. Learn to control speed with throttle alone. With a manual transmission (or rather, without a torque converter); you can slow down the car sufficiently by just closing throttle.

This forces you to look further up ahead; and smooths out traffic.
Good advice, and this applies to driving in general, auto and manual.

In the city, where some of the intersections have countdown timers, I can coast to a stop if I see I won't be able to make it across.

On the highway when traffic is moving slowly, I usually like to switch over to the right lane and follow buses or tractor trailers. They do a better job at keeping consistent speed than the accordion effect of tailgaters on the left lane.
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LyGuy wrote:
Mar 4th, 2013 1:15 pm
Isn't that essentially engine breaking, which wears out your transmission faster?
Engine braking in stop & go rush hour traffic is negligible wear if you're just letting off the gas. Slamming your car from 5th to 3rd to engine brake is a different story.
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Patience is key to learning a manual. And realizing that you will probably stall a few times in traffic. If that happens immediately apply the brakes, put it in neutral and start the engine and try again.
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Jul 18, 2006
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The technique I use is called wide-open-throttle (WOT) short shifting. Once the clutch is engaged, you floor it and then shift at the lowest workable RPM, say around 2,000 or 2,500 rpm for a four-banger.
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Supercooled wrote:
Mar 4th, 2013 12:47 pm
... I think if you're buying a manual gear car to save on the initial cost you would make up that cost in 4-5 years because manuals are now getting worst mileage than the auto equivalent. Most new autos are now CVTs now which get better mileage so it depends if you get an econobox to save fuel.

It's a shame though because I'm looking at a car and they only offer CVT with their AWD model and I'm kind of coaxing myself into liking the CVT because of the torque vectoring AWD which I hear is awesome in this car.
It actually depends how you look at the fuel cost when comparing manual to auto. If it's highway driving from A to B sure auto saves fuel. In the city stop and go traffic torque converter in auto is not that efficient than manual (instantly when engage). Also for manual you can control what gears you are on to save gas or coasting down to a stop before the light etc.. I know bigger gear ratio for auto but I would say the difference is minimal depending how you drive a manual. However car with manual makes you feel more alert on the road.

With 5th gear at 40 km/h might flood the engine which is not a good idea. I used to look at the rpm to change gears when first driving manual but not checking it anymore. Instead it's the sound and feel than cause me to determine what gear it should be in.
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I have a Altima 5 speed and Maxima auto. Both have, basically, the same engine.

The Maxima sucks for city driving compared to my Altima. Maxima can get ~350 km full tank mixed and the Altima can do ~400 km full tank EASILY

And the Altima is heavier in weight. 3289 lbs vs 3245 lbs

One factor could be the weather though...

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