How do I move in very slow bumper-to-bumper traffic?

It all boils down to how well you know your own vehicle and the speed range limits in each gear, especially 1st gear. Once engaged in 1st gear many vehicles allow you to slow down to idle, about 6 kph in most cars, and will not stall if you release the gas.  Some BMW’s idle as slowly…

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How can I keep my car from rolling backwards when starting on a hill?

emergency brake photo

Even vehicles equipped with hill assist feature may roll slightly if stopped on a gradual incline when you release the brake pedal. On steeper grades the hill assist feature does not necessarily give a beginner the time they need to set up the clutch and gas pedals to prevent rolling. However, you can hold your vehicle momentarily on…

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Can I brake without de-clutching?

photo of a foot on the clutch

Each gear has a range of speed that you can drive in. Keep in mind that gear ranges overlap each other. As long as you drive within this allowable speed range any modulations in speed are usually moderate enough not require a gear change, and therefore no need to depress the clutch. If your speed drops below…

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Why do I need to downshift when turning?

Need to Know

Since most turns are done at low speeds, your vehicle should be driven in the gear that corresponds with that speed—usually 2nd when not required to stop and 1st when you are. Taking a normal turn in too high a gear, say 3rd or 4th gear over-burdens the engine at too low RPM and over time…

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What engine RPM should I be shifting up at?


It depends on your vehicle and your power requirements at that moment. Each shift is a compromise between power and economy. Rev the engine to a higher rpm when more power is needed, such as when climbing steeper hills or when passing. Shift at lower rpm for better economy. In the past most experts would…

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What does the clutch actually do?

photo of a clutch

The clutch pedal engages and disengages the engine and the gearbox. When depressed, your powertrain is disengaged, causing the same effect as shifting to neutral. To move off, you release the clutch pedal to set the vehicle in motion whereas when you approach a stop, you depress the clutch pedal to separate the engine from…

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Why Learn to Drive a Stick Shift

stick shift

Even if you don’t ever plan to own one there are several valid reasons to learn to drive a stick shift besides avoiding inconvenience or embarrassment. You could help save a life. Be ready to take the wheel anytime. Once you learn to drive a stick shift you can help out by sharing the driving…

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