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Old 01-09-2010, 08:15 PM
 
1 posts, read 18,583 times
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I go to Europe often and my next trip will be Italy, and I want to rent a stick there,, so I decided to learn how to drve a stick and I took a lesson. I got the hang of the basics, but Iwould love to practice so that it is second nature before I rent a car in Europe. What is my best bet? There are no stick rentals here, but based on my one hour behind the wheel, can I get the hang of it, and not stall out all the time going on hills etc, or does it really take time to learn?
If anyone knows where I can rent a stick in the Long Island or Bklyn, area, please let me know.
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Old 01-09-2010, 09:18 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
860 posts, read 1,880,694 times
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If you do it full-time, you should feel comfortable within a few weeks. I drove an automatic most of the time when I started driving and once went two years without driving a stick shift. It's pretty amazing how quickly you can fall out of practice.
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Old 01-09-2010, 10:54 PM
 
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If you're willing to drive the stick transmission, then the lessons you've had so far are adequate to know what needs to happen.

Once out on the street in the real world, you will make some mistakes about slipping the clutch too mutch or not enough ... and might even do slight damage to a clutch or stall the motor ... and not always make every shift perfectly. You might even choose the wrong or optimal gear to be in sometimes.

So What? Other than your possible embarrassment over delaying another car on the road while you restart yours, or lurching forward instead of smooth driving ... it's no big deal. If you're paying attention, you'll find that driving a stick shift will be second nature in no time at all ... kinda' like total immersion. Virtually every street car stick trans has well chosen ratios and easy to operate clutches these days .... it's harder to go wrong than it is to do it right (or at least acceptably), and perfect isn't necessary to get the job done.

Enjoy your trip.
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Old 01-09-2010, 10:58 PM
 
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I find that the complete learning curves of some manuals can be months in the making. Sometimes it takes a while to learn all of the ins and outs...
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Old 01-09-2010, 11:17 PM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan and Sometimes Orange County CA
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You will get the basics down in about three days and stop stalling. Hill starts will take a lot longer. Do not be afraid to use the parking brake, or even ease the car back against the bumper of the car behind you if you get desperate. TO use the parking brake, pull it up to hold you then you can ease it off as you increase gas power, kind of like slipping the clutch, but you do nto hop all over the place.
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Old 01-09-2010, 11:34 PM
 
Location: Dallas, TX
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I can only speak from personal experience of course, but it shouldn't take more than a couple of hours before you're good enough to safely drive it on the road.

Hill starts are a piece of cake, and if you feel unsure whether you can do it without rolling back, just hod the car on the e-brake until you feel it pulling forward.

It took me 45 minutes to get good enough at hill starts to do it without concern, as for the actual shifting, well all cars feel different, but 1-2 hours training and you should have the hang of it. Everyone messes up a change every now and then, I've never had anything but stick, and only occasionally borrow or dive an auto, and as much as it's second nature by now, I mess them up on occasion as well.

Don't be nervous, that's the best advice you can get.
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Old 01-09-2010, 11:41 PM
NCN
 
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All our driver's ed cars when I was learning had stick shift gears. They just wanted to make sure we knew how to use gears if we ended up not owning an automatic. Nothing to it. Just learn how the gear shift works and let out the clutch easily while putting on the gas. You should be comfortable in about a day and really a pro within a week. That means that you will be able to be on a hill in between two other cars at a stop sign or light and go with the flo.
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Old 01-10-2010, 08:24 AM
 
Location: Poway, CA
2,590 posts, read 4,910,563 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
Do not be afraid to use the parking brake, or even ease the car back against the bumper of the car behind you if you get desperate.
while i fully understand it is the responsibility of the car behind you to leave enough room to roll back, i don't think it's wise to suggest using it as some sort of backstop. the parking brake idea is a good trick, though.

to the OP, you should find yourself more than comfortable in just a few days if you can keep yourself behind the wheel consistently. my wife has been trying to learn stick for years, and while she can drive stick in the academic sense, her skills go down the toilet if she goes more than a few weeks without driving my car. i try to get her to take the keys a bit more often, but she's always afraid she'll get into a situation she can't handle. of course, that's a catch-22 because if she drove more often, she would know how to handle the situation! but i digress.

now, as a word of caution, if your plan is to rent a stick so that you can go tearing up the backroads through the alps, be REALLY careful! the biggest advice i could lend there is to choose your gear well in advance of the corner so that it's one less thing you have to worry about. don't even mess with the clutch in a corner, for now. also, when in doubt as to which gear to be in, always take the safer choice and go one higher. of course, if all you plan on doing is driving around the villas, nevermind all this

Mike
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Old 01-10-2010, 03:44 PM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan and Sometimes Orange County CA
15,819 posts, read 31,771,034 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whiteboyslo View Post
while i fully understand it is the responsibility of the car behind you to leave enough room to roll back, i don't think it's wise to suggest using it as some sort of backstop. the parking brake idea is a good trick, though.

to the OP, you should find yourself more than comfortable in just a few days if you can keep yourself behind the wheel consistently. my wife has been trying to learn stick for years, and while she can drive stick in the academic sense, her skills go down the toilet if she goes more than a few weeks without driving my car. i try to get her to take the keys a bit more often, but she's always afraid she'll get into a situation she can't handle. of course, that's a catch-22 because if she drove more often, she would know how to handle the situation! but i digress.

now, as a word of caution, if your plan is to rent a stick so that you can go tearing up the backroads through the alps, be REALLY careful! the biggest advice i could lend there is to choose your gear well in advance of the corner so that it's one less thing you have to worry about. don't even mess with the clutch in a corner, for now. also, when in doubt as to which gear to be in, always take the safer choice and go one higher. of course, if all you plan on doing is driving around the villas, nevermind all this

Mike

I did it all the time when I was in San Fransisco and still learning and rented an underpowered car. No one seemed to mind once they realized what I was doing. One guy in a Ferrari got really mad though.

THat reminds me. The kind of car you learn on makes a huge difference. UNderpowered economy type things are easy to stall. You have to be really clever at bad driving to stall my Camaro, even in second gear. (On the other hand, it would be pretty easy to end up in someone's livingroom, but that is far less likely than stalling). Rent or borrow a powerful stick shift and practice. Start out in parking lots.

I thaught my daughter to drive a stick on a six day trip from CA to MI. After some training sessions while driving through parks (maybe 2-3 hours total), she handled freeway driving very readily. She is still not comfortable onsurface streets, but she has not driven stick since the trip.
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Old 01-10-2010, 04:30 PM
 
4,010 posts, read 5,888,440 times
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There used to be millions of VW beetles on the road here and we are talking about a 2500 lb vehicle with a 40 hp - 60 hp engine. Automatics were extremely rare so almost always they were 4 speed shifts. The point is that it's pretty easy to learn to drive one and you really don't even need to worry about rolling back once you get the hang of it.

On driving in Europe, this would be the last thing I would be worrying about as the obscure traffic laws, markers, ruleless traffic circles, and god help if you go into the UK where driving on the opposite side of the road adds a dimension to it that can be heart stopping if you are not used to it. Unlike America which has a road system that a chimp can successfully handle, you are expected to know details there that can get you into trouble if you don't. This is why there are not cup holders in European cars, you really have to concentrate on not getting killed.
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