Tips for Learning How to Drive Stick Shift

Tips for Learning How to Drive Stick Shift

There are many reasons why people tend to go with stick shift cars over automatic. Not only are they cheaper to get, but many think it’s far more fun to drive. Another major reason is that a lot of Jeep Wranglers are manual vehicles. What better vehicle to learn how to drive stick shift than a Jeep Wrangler? Manual vehicles make driving way more exciting and it’s worth trying because it can make you a better driver while understanding more about how it all works. With only 18% of U.S. drivers knowing how to operate a stick shift vehicle, it becomes a valuable skill. If you are interested, here are some tips for learning how to drive stick shift.

Avoid Any Distractions

Learning how to drive stick shift will require your utmost attention, which is why you will want to get rid of any distractions. The main one is your phone, which you should have while you are driving anyways. You should also turn down any music in your car so you can listen to the person you are with as they try to teach you. There is a lot of movement that goes in to successfully driving stick shift, from using one had to shit to using two feet for pedals. You can’t properly operate a stick shift vehicle without them. Plus, driving is the most exciting part about it and you don’t want anything to take away from it.

Find A Teacher

The first thing you should do is find a teacher who can properly teach you how to drive stick shift. If you are having trouble finding someone, try and find someone you know who drives a stick shift vehicle. This person should serve as an instructor who is in the car helping you out, not to dissimilar to how you got your license in the first place. They can sit in the passenger’s seat and tell you when you should shift, when to press down on the clutch, and more.

Find A Safe Place to Practice

After finding a teacher, the next thing you should seek out a safe place to practice. You don’t want to move to the roads right away. An empty parking lot is an excellent place to start. You can also try a local subdivision. One thing you should keep in mind is the weather conditions. You don’t want to have other factors like weather affect your ability to drive when you are first starting out. Practicing in these safe locations are also better when you start to drive on your own. Driving is still dangerous and you don’t want to risk it if you are still inexperienced.

Understand the Different Interior

The exterior of a stick shift vehicle like a Jeep Wrangler looks no different than any other car you may see on the road. However, once you will start the notice the differences as soon as you step in the vehicle. While every car’s interior is different, the two main things you will notice is that gear shifter and the clutch pedal. The gear shifter will not have your traditional PRNDL etched on it. Instead, you will have to numbers that will signify the gears along with an R for reverse. The clutch pedal will be next to the brake and the gas. Since there is that clutch pedal, this means you will have to learn how to drive with two feet instead of one. Your left foot will used for the clutch pedal while your right will still be on gas and brake duty.

Learn How to Start it Properly

To start a manual vehicle, step down on the clutch all the way in. Then you will go to neutral, while the car is till off. Now you will clutch all the way in again and turn the key or press the button. The car will now turn on, so you can let go of the clutch pedal. Take your parking brake off and your car should not be moving anywhere.

Know When to Shift

Besides getting used to driving with two feet, you will also need to get used to having one hand on the gear shifter. Every time you shift, you will press down on the clutch pedal. Now the question becomes when the right time is to shift.


  • As you drive faster you will want to upshift when your car increase rpms. This means you must watch your tachometer. Each gear shift is a 1,000 rpms. For example, 1st gear = 1,000 rpms, 2nd gear = 2,000 rpms, and so on.
  • As your car slows down, you will want to shift down until you come to a stop.
  • When you are at a stop, place your gear shift in neutral. To do this, press down on the clutch brake and move the gear shifter to the middle.
  • To park, you will want to put your car in gear and turn on your emergency brake.

Keep Practicing

To mater the art of driving a stick shift vehicle, you will need to continue to practice over and over again until you get a better handle on it. Once you become more experienced with driving a stick shift car, you will be able to know when to shift without looking at the tachometer. But, as you start, you will want to become more and more comfortable with the car. Continue to practice in the parking lot and gradually move your way up to the real streets.

Have Fun

The last piece of advice we have for you is to have fun as you are learning how to drive a manual vehicle. Many people actually favor stick shift driving over automatic because it makes them feel like a racecar driver. This is usually because manual gives the driver more to do and can make your vehicle feel fast. You can feel the same way, but make sure you are still being safe on the roads and become comfortable with it.

One of the best things about owning a Jeep Wrangler, besides its stick shift driving, is how much you can make it your own. AM Off-Road has everything from Jeep Wrangler gas cap cover essential off-roading parts you need.

Tips for Learning How to Drive Stick Shift infographic

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