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Do you drive a stick shift car?
Old 03-22-2010, 08:18 PM   #1
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Do you drive a stick shift car?

In 40 years of auto purchases, I have had only ONE car with an automatic transmission (my Prius which I just traded in for a stick shift car). In a conversation with the salesman, he noted that nowadays most buyers didn't even know how to drive one.

I taught both my kids to drive a stick, and both prefer it. Do you know how to drive a stick? Do you currently drive one?
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Old 03-22-2010, 08:26 PM   #2
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Both of our everyday cars are automatics. DH's corvette is a standard. We have both owned standard transmission cars in the past. I think that I decided to switch to an automatic after I hurt my leg and it hurt when I changed gears.
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Old 03-22-2010, 08:26 PM   #3
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Drove a stick for ~35 years. still try to shift sometimes.
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Old 03-22-2010, 08:30 PM   #4
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Yes and yes. I think I have better control over the car
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Old 03-22-2010, 08:32 PM   #5
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I have always had stick shift cars until I decided to go with an automatic when I bought my new Camry in January. I just needed a change. I might go back to stick shift with my next car. Or not. I like the responsiveness of stick shift but I enjoy the smoothness of the automatic transmission too.
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Old 03-22-2010, 08:43 PM   #6
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Yep, my car has a manual transmission. I frequently rent cars in Europe, and they usually have manual transmissions--the clerks don't even ask you about it. But I've heard that approximately 85% of young US drivers don't know how to drive a car with a manual transmission.

I wouldn't have any reservations in buying an automatic--the gas mileage is nearly the same, and the maintenance may even be less in many cases (clutch replacements aren't cheap). I think a manual is nicest in a sports car or in a car that is "horsepower challenged" as one can elect to stay in a lower gear if needed to accelerate at a faster rate, which can be a safety "plus." If I drove frequently in traffic, I'd heavily favor the automatic.
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Old 03-22-2010, 08:50 PM   #7
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Automatic now, but all previous cars were manual. Even with this car, I often shift into N.
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Old 03-22-2010, 09:00 PM   #8
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Two of my cars are SMG transmissions. These are standard transmissions (not automatics) without a clutch peddle. Shift gears using paddles on the steering wheel. 7 gears-a real blast.
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Old 03-22-2010, 09:01 PM   #9
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I drove 2 manual transmission cars over a 5 year span. It's fun to drive a car with a stick when it has a 9000 rpm redline. The main reason I switched to an automatic is because if I get stuck in traffic it's very painful for my knees. I nearly had to get out of my car in Chicago traffic one time and that was the last straw. The pain is very severe. Even if I load up on Naproxen it's still unbearable. I hope to someday have a second vehicle that I drive for fun that has a manual transmission but until then i'll stay with my automatic.
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Old 03-22-2010, 09:06 PM   #10
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I have one of each. The Miata on mountain roads is almost mandatory to have a stick. The SUV is an automatic. I started going to an automatic the next car after my daughter was born (a few years later) after having my hands full enough with her and driving. I have no trouble at all going back and forth between the cars, maybe because they are so different, an in fact when I was married we always had one of each.

One time in the mid 80s I rented a car in CA and got a stick, with no warning. Not a problem, just surprised when I got in and there it was. Also got a stick in Europe, but I did expect that. Just glad it wasn't in the UK, not so sure about switching sides on the road and with the shifter.

I also got stuck once with a pretty big moving van with a stick. I was supposed to get an automatic, but when I got there they apologized and said it was late coming back, and all they had was the older truck. First thing I had to do was make a left onto a busy highway, and it wasn't anything like the VW Rabbit I owned at the time.

I tried teaching my daughter how to drive the Miata in an empty parking lot. I braced myself for the first lurch, and she smoothly pulled away and shifted into 2nd. Did OK on a few more shifts, then she got on a bit of a hill and couldn't get it, and lost all confidence. I figure if it was ever life or death, she at least knows what she's supposed to do.
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Old 03-22-2010, 09:06 PM   #11
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Both of our cars are automatic.

I know how to drive a stick shift....well; I knew how to drive one that is. I haven't driven a stick shift in almost 25 years...but I have to say I enjoy riding in a car when someone else is shifting gears. It seems a little wild and naughty to me....makes me feel like a teenager again...
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Old 03-22-2010, 09:12 PM   #12
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My first stick shift was my Karman Ghia . The sales guys taught me how to drive a stick shift in the parking lot . I bucked all the way home . I drove stick shifts for years and I am thinking about returning to one for my next car .
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Old 03-22-2010, 09:13 PM   #13
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I am currently driving the only automatic I have ever owned -- a 2008 Honda Civic Hybrid. If it had come with a manual transmission, I would have bought that. I really hate automatics; you aren't really driving, you're just steering. I have driven virtually any type of stick shift you can imagine -- 3, 4 and 5 on the floor, 3 on the tree. 4wd with low and high gearbox. I haven't yet driven a semi.

The wife's car (97 Accord) is a manual. So is the weekend toy (2001 BMW Z3).
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Old 03-22-2010, 09:36 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Moemg View Post
My first stick shift was my Karman Ghia . The sales guys taught me how to drive a stick shift in the parking lot . I bucked all the way home . I drove stick shifts for years and I am thinking about returning to one for my next car .
Sounds kinda like what I did. First stick shift for me was a Honda Civic and the salesman also taught me in the parking lot.

I enjoyed having two manual Honda Civics before I was married. I sometimes wondered how I would get to work, if for some reason, I would injure my left foot/leg or my right hand/arm.
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Old 03-22-2010, 09:45 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa View Post
In 40 years of auto purchases, I have had only ONE car with an automatic transmission (my Prius which I just traded in for a stick shift car). In a conversation with the salesman, he noted that nowadays most buyers didn't even know how to drive one.
Do you know how to drive a stick? Do you currently drive one?
Clearly your sales guy is not of the youngest generation, or he never would have even thought to mention a manual transmission...

I learned to drive on a golf-course utility cart with a compound low gear that required double-clutching. It's fun! Beats the heck out of pulling stumps out by hand, too.

Those skills were a little slow to transfer to my first college car (no stumps, either) but in nearly 30 years we've only owned one automatic-- a 1994 Ford Taurus hauling wagon. Ford jokes notwithstanding, it sucked. One of its first acts was to destroy itself while my parents-in-law were passengers. Its rebuilt Frankenstein offspring used to rumble in "D" like an Abrams tank when stopped at intersections. We dealt with transmission leaks, random shift settings, and a host of other annoyances. Even periodic maintenance was fraught with suspense.

The Prius's CVT is a joy to drive, but it feels testosterone-deficient to slap around a little paddle shifter. Maybe I could cheer myself up by pretending that it's the same shifter model used by NASCAR drivers. You definitely have to be careful how you wave your latté cup around the dashboard, though, or you'll end up out of gear before you have a chance to curse about it.

Our Altima's manual transmission, however, is my favorite. We've been talking about going to a single-car family after our kid leaves the nest, so it might be my last manual transmission too.

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Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa View Post
I taught both my kids to drive a stick, and both prefer it.
For many months our kid just didn't see the point. After teaching showing her a stick shift, I had to agree with her. Part of the issue is that she views a clutch pedal as a binary device that's either "in" or "out" with no intermediate pause in the quantum-jump process. She apparently attempts to make the transition as quickly as possible, too, in order to preserve her delicate ankle muscles. And it's no fun to watch a teenager red-line an engine in neutral just before the clutch mysteriously pops out.

I offered to show her advanced skills like "downshifting", "peeling rubber", heel&toe braking, and "doughnuts" but she kept muttering about losing her license and mid-life crises.

However this cute guy classmate drives a Jeep with a roll cage, huge knobby tires, and a big ol' meat-grinding floor-mounted gearbox with a long stirring handle. She now sees a purpose in being able operate a manual transmission. I hope that purpose is focused on driving the Jeep.

I've heard that most Mustang buyers request an automatic transmission. I hope it's an urban legend. Seems like that that type of option on that type of car should come with free castration testosterone-reduction surgery.
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Old 03-22-2010, 10:08 PM   #16
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I miss driving a stick shift car. The only reason I don't have one for my daily driver is because DW refuses to learn how to drive one. The problem is that my car stays in the driveway at night and many times DW needs to go out early and my car needs to be moved to get her car out. Grrrrrr! I don't want to have to get up early and ruin my beauty sleep.

I do get to drive one once and a while though. Just take out my 454 4 speed Chevelle. (heh)
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Old 03-22-2010, 10:13 PM   #17
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However this cute guy classmate drives a Jeep with a roll cage, huge knobby tires, and a big ol' meat-grinding floor-mounted gearbox with a long stirring handle. She now sees a purpose in being able operate a manual transmission. I hope that purpose is focused on driving the Jeep.
Cute guy classmate, huge knobby tires, big ol' meat-grinding gearbox, long stirring handle, manual operation... What can possibly go wrong?
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Old 03-22-2010, 10:17 PM   #18
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I drive an automatic but it shifts like a jerky manual as it had transmission problems in the past
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Old 03-22-2010, 10:38 PM   #19
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I drive a stick and have most of my life - sometimes I even tow a travel trailer this way. We made our kid learn as well and he wasn't allowed to get a drivers license until he could take and pass the drivers test with a stick. His friends thought we were weird. Now as a college student overseas, he's mighty glad to have this skill.

I would have to say though that DH has an automatic and when I broke some toes a while back we swapped rides for a few days.
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Old 03-22-2010, 10:41 PM   #20
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Real men are secure enough to have their gears shifted for them.....
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