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I' ve heard several people post that the lack of an automatic might put you off from enjoying a new Solstice. But it's something that everyone's capable of learning. In another thread I wrote this but realised it would best be it's own topic:

Taught both my son, daughter and a couple of neighbor kids to drive a manual in less than a half hour each. Best method:
Borrow a small car. Trucks have so much torque that it's so easy to shift that it doesn't really teach well.

1. On a flat parking lot, where you won't get embarassed, with your foot on the clutch, put the car in first. Without touching the gas pedal, slowly let out the clutch. The car will jump forward and die the first few times you try. Laugh about it. This is to be expected. But it teaches you the "sweet spot" in the clutch pedal travel and how to let it slip. Do this several times. Remember that as you slow down, push the clutch back in or the engine will die. But leave you foot off the gas pedal.

2. After you can get the car rolling, with regularity, do the same thing, but this time, put you foot on the gas pedal and give it a little gas when your in that clutch pedal "sweet spot". Try to keep the engine from slowing down too much or speeding up too much. You'll learn, as you listen to the engine, that the faster you push on the gas, the faster your other foot travels through that "sweet spot". Do this several times, from 0 to 15MPH and back to 0.

3. Getting the car rolling is, by far the hardest part. But once you've got that down, up shifting is easy. The car will let you know when to go to the next higher gear. Normally, shift to the next high gear around 3 or 4,000 RPM or when then engine sounds like it wants to be shifted.

4. A general rule for down shifting is: Glance at the speedometer. Use first when cruising 0-10MPH, second when going 10-20MPH, third when going 30-40MPH, forth when going 40-50MPH, etc.
Remember, Your grandmother drove a standard transmission, and your a better driver than her! And she wasn't cruising around in such a cool car as a Solstice!
 

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I've also found that if you have a spare clutch laying around it's very helpful to teach the person who's learning to drive manual the physics behind a manual transmision.

My friend did that for me when teaching me on his 944 Porsche. I had a really good idea what was happening before hand but actually seeing the clutch and the description of what's going on physically I was able to deduce what I needed to do to shift correctly. Of course it still takes several failed attempts to get it right :D

Basically it's just two round plates coming together untill they in essence stop slipping past each other and stick together. You push in the clutch and they seperate, let it out and they come together. Stalling occures usually when the plates come together completely and you don't have enough energy to overcome the cars inertia. However if you do it slow enough you can get the car to start rolling before the clutch plates stick together completely. You're going to cause wear on the clutch over time if you do this continually because the plates are slipping past each other at a fairly high speed. It's fine to learn with though since doing it a couple times wont destroy your clutch.
 

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This topic came up on a thread many months ago, so I guess I'll just paste what I wrote then again because I strongly urge all Americans to learn to drive manual shift. Back in May I wrote:

Don't worry about messing up the transmission or clutch, they are built to take much more abuse than your learning curve can dish out. I ecourage everyone to learn to drive a manual transmission well for these reasons:

1) You'll never be in that stupid situation where it would be helpful to drive someone else's car or truck and have to say "sorry I can't drive a stick".

2) If you ever travel to a foriegn country and want to rent a car, you'll be SOL. In other countries by and large there are no automatics (although, as Americans, we do tend to export the worst of our culture around the world, so this might be changing). No American driver's experience is complete without at least one driving trip through Europe. You will have a fantastic time and come to realize why so many good race drivers come from there. It is by far the best and most practical way to see Europe.

3) If you drive a sportscar or roadster, IMHO you are not entirely "driving" the car until you are making the choices on when and where to shift gears. After you learn to drive a manual, you'll see what I mean. You feel connected to the car and almost always make better choices than the fuzzy logic of a machine.

4) You can make effective use of engine braking. The direct connection of engine to wheels without slip, means you can save your brakes and be in a more appropriate gear for either a turn or a hill.

5) You can achieve better gas mileage. Important these days. Nothing comes for free, automatics rob energy from your engine to do work for you. If you have cruise control and a manual, on the freeway you will get the best mileage you car can get.

When I was a kid, I learned to drive a manual in a Willys Jeep in the dirt. The dirt really helped I thought. If you dumped the clutch or over reved the engine, the wheels just spun in the dirt, making it easier on the car and instructor, as well as building confidence. Lurching around, snapping your neck back and forth on pavement can be demoralizing for new drivers.

As you get better, you work on being smoother and keeping the wheels from spinning in the dirt. Then as you get good, you work on REALLY making the wheels spin in the dirt. Dirt training is also very helpful in learning how to control a car in a slide. I realise that the Solstice may not be the best choice of vehicles for dirt training, but maybe you can borrow someone's old car or truck. If the dirt doesn't work out, I have trained people on manuals in empty parking lots. They work pretty good because there's no pressure of traffic.

Anyhow, I think everyone should learn to drive a manual and the Solstice is the perfect reason to do that! :cheers
 

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brentil said:
I've also found that if you have a spare clutch laying around
Also to replace the one in the drivers ed car. lol :) Your gonna need it :glol

Good luck to all the trainees. You will be happy you learned. :cheers
 

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Manual

Hee hee hee man oh man I really do have to learn how to drive stick. I have asked my dad to teach me but he is against me getting a stick shift. I live in Southern California and he said there is too much traffic here to drive a stick. Funny he drives one :mad Help can I go to some kind of driving school that only teaches how to drive stick?????? Anyone know of anything here in southern cali???????? :crazy
 

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Traffic does make driving a stick more of a pain...lots more work. I suppose a driving school would teach you or you could just wing it...that's how most people learn, head to a closed parking lot on Sunday and start. You'd be surprized how quickly you'll learn.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Help can I go to some kind of driving school that only teaches how to drive stick?????? Anyone know of anything here in southern cali????????
I'm pretty sure there's some out there. There's a couple here in Houston. Here, they have V6 Mustangs with a stick shift on the floor. These are the schools that normally teach new drivers. Call a few from the yellow pages and ask them. Tell them you already know how to drive but you just want to learn to drive a manual shift. I don't know if they have an abbreviated course.
AeroDave wrote:
You can achieve better gas mileage. Important these days. Nothing comes for free, automatics rob energy from your engine to do work for you. If you have cruise control and a manual, on the freeway you will get the best mileage you car can get.
That same loss of power will make your car accelerate slower. A PT Cruiser with an automatic is a full second slower in a 1/4 mile than a stick shift. That's about the differance between a normal Solstice and a turbo or supercharged one. And your actually paying less for the faster car! :thumbs
 

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You can always talk a friend into them teaching you in their manual tranny car. If you don't have any friends with one, get some new friends :D j/k

Another way is to go to a car rental place with someone who knows how to drive one already, rent the car and have them drive off (so you don't feel pressured from not knowing how to drive it infront of other people). Find some secluded parking lot Sunday morning and start stalling it out till you learn the correct way to drive it.
 

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I'm personally ashamed I can't drive stick. All due to my parents not allowing me to own one (I always wanted to). I don't know what I'm going to do, I really have no access to a stick, probably won't until the Solstice comes out.

I've heard that used car dealers sometimes have a beater they'll let a customer learn in, so they can sell 'em a stick, maybe I'll have to fein interest if thats true.
 

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brentil said:
Another way is to go to a car rental place with someone who knows how to drive one already, rent the car and have them drive off (so you don't feel pressured from not knowing how to drive it infront of other people). Find some secluded parking lot Sunday morning and start stalling it out till you learn the correct way to drive it.
You'll be extremly hard pressed to find a rental car agency in this country that rents manuals. Even the sportscars they rent are always automatic. In foriegn countries it's just the opposite, you can't get automatics most of the time.

PammySolstice- You live in southern California, I don't know where, but you could take a little trip to Mexico and rent an original VW Bug down there real cheap and take a day or two to learn stick. I've rented those there and they're never automatic. They're usually pretty crappy looking, and around the resorts they often cut the roof off and paint them day-glow colors, but they're perfect for learning. I guess you'd have to go with a friend who knows how to drive stick to get you off the lot though. Just a thought, and a trip to Mexico is way more fun than a driving school! :D
 

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Manual trans and heavy traffic

Seriously, driving a modern car with a manual transmission in traffic is no big deal. Pretty much every car with a manual transmission these days had a hydraulic clutch. This gives you a low effort "light" clutch pedal. I used to own a '78 Trans Am (trailer park magnet, by the way) with a cable-operated heavy clutch. That thing was a bear to drive in traffic, and it took awhile for me to build up my left calf muscle to get used to it.

I'm to the point now where I PREFER to drive my manual shift car in traffic. If I need to slow down in a hurry, I can take some of the load away from my brakes by downshifting. As for clutch effort, every manual trans car I've owned sinct that T/A has had a hydraulic clutch. The difference is night and day.
 

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naoki said:
I'm personally ashamed I can't drive stick. All due to my parents not allowing me to own one (I always wanted to). I don't know what I'm going to do, I really have no access to a stick, probably won't until the Solstice comes out.

I've heard that used car dealers sometimes have a beater they'll let a customer learn in, so they can sell 'em a stick, maybe I'll have to fein interest if thats true.
The Pontiac dealer will get you into a manual and teach you how to drive the car decently to make the sale! I don't know if they will take you right out in the Solstice, but chances are they will have a Sunfire somewhere on the lot that they would take you out it. Its not really that rough on a clutch to teach someone to use it. It can take that abuse and still lead a long life. They certainly won't let you walk out and not get a sale because they were reluctant to show you how to drive one. They really don't take long at all to pick up.

I first learned to drive stick in my father's Fiero. Now, that is not exactly like a modern manual. Fiero clutch pedals need to be dropped almost all the way to the floor each time to disengage the clutch, and the shifter is rather notchy and balky. (In fact it is only a 4 speed manual!) I stalled the car the first time, the second time I was off and moving. About 15 minutes later I was already good enough on it to be out in traffic. Getting really good at it takes a little more time than that of course, but you will quickly be good enough at it that you can drive it out in traffic and be able to manage it.
 

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I'd bet it would take someone about 15 minutes to learn to drive a stick shift...but the key is in wanting to..

Automatic Solstice are important for guys whose spouses don't want to learn how to drive a manual tranny..

I would prefer DSG for the Solstice and would pay 1500 extra like Audi charges for this tranny...

JMO
 

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JBsZ06 said:
Automatic Solstice are important for guys whose spouses don't want to learn how to drive a manual tranny..

JMO
Hey now let's not be sexist! :mad Driving a stick relates to what you learned to drive on, not your gender.

My parents had a ford explorer and a porsche 944 when I learned to drive- both sticks. I won't drive an automatic. But by the time my little brother learned to drive my parents had an automatic ford expolorer and a tiptronic carrera 2- so my brother prefers automatics even though he can "kind of" drive a stick. It all depends what you develop and appreciation for.

NONE of my male friends and/or boyfriends have ever shared my love of a stick shift and ALL drive automatics even in their beamers, roadsters and pick-up trucks. There are plenty of men out there waiting for the automatic to come out too, not just the wives. :nono
 

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ahhh the good old Porsche 944. That's what I learned stick shift on as well. Was a wonderful car to learn to really drive in.
 

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we had one of those, till we t-boned someone who ran a red light, nice 1983, but the guy we bought it from repainted the front half cause we didnt like the key-marks on the front so we had to always wax it cause the back half was oxodized and the front was new...so it was a pain
 

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solsticegirl said:
Hey now let's not be sexist! :mad Driving a stick relates to what you learned to drive on, not your gender.
Hey hey! I'm not too sure he was being sexist. He said something along the lines of "auto is for guys whose spouses don't want to learn how to drive manual"

Although "guys" usually refers to men, it can also be used in the sense "hey guys" to collective group a bunch of people.

No need to get :mad and call people names! This board is getting OUT OF CONTROL already!
 

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Hey hey hey!! I am pretty sure that he meant "men" when he said "guys" in that context. Only JBsZ06 can confirm.

Not trying to be OUT OF CONTROL or anything (not me!), but I'm just sticking up for us girls who can drive a stick better than then men in our lives. ;)
 

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I've always thought girls should more naturally be able to work a stick than a man.

I know if I ever let someone else handle my stick in my Solstice I'd certainly prefer it to be a girl.

And I was afraid you were going to rib me on the fact that I personally couldn't drive stick.... oops... shouldn't have reminded you.
 

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naoki said:
I've always thought girls should more naturally be able to work a stick than a man.

I know if I ever let someone else handle my stick in my Solstice I'd certainly prefer it to be a girl.

And I was afraid you were going to rib me on the fact that I personally couldn't drive stick.... oops... shouldn't have reminded you.

That's OK, Naoki. We'll just consider you a chick until you learn how to drive a manual :lol :glol ;)
 
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