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(CNN)   CNN asks the tough question no other site would dare to cover: Is knowing how to drive stick in America still essential?   (cnn.com) divider line 392
    More: Stupid, CNN, manual transmissions, impromptu  
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5332 clicks; posted to Main » on 20 Jul 2012 at 4:31 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-07-20 08:01:59 AM
It is essential if you want to drive an automobile. It is not essential if you want to drive a go-cart.

/My Jeep has 3 pedals and 2 doors
//If I wanted a Hummer, I would call yer mom
 
2012-07-20 08:03:37 AM
While the knuckle-dragging alpha assholes are whining about having to put ANOTHER clutch into their POS car because they were showing off their mad shifting skillz, me and my little auto will be out cruising around!
 
2012-07-20 08:05:57 AM
I just bought my first manual transmission car, and it's a lot of fun. Modern performance-oriented automatics are faster, though. I'm not sure you can even buy a new Ferrari or Lamborghini with a stick. Driving a manual is definitely more engaging & fun, though. Before I picked up my car, my friend let me practice with his Fiat 500, and even his low-100's horsepower car is fun to drive because of the manual transmission (and the fact that it's so small).

I won't say I'll never buy an auto again (if I get a family sedan or something like that, I don't want to bother with shifting), but for any kind of fun-to-drive vehicle, it'll be tough for me to choose an auto.
 
2012-07-20 08:06:49 AM
Only reason to learn to drive a stick is this: when the zombie apocalypse begins, you aren't going to wanna be searching for "just the right car", so it helps to know how to drive as many different types of vehicle as possible.

Beyond that: meh. Not knowing how to drive a stick is like no knowing how to write cursive -- you can live your whole life and never need the skill even once.
 
2012-07-20 08:08:17 AM

Cewley: hell no! but it's more fun when you have a fun stick shift car, e.g MazdaSpeed 3!


Just bought one 3 weeks ago. 263hp. Farking awesome.
 
2012-07-20 08:10:41 AM
I have a 470 horsepower 2011 muscle car... I love driving it, but in city traffic I would dread having a stick... I do though, LOVE the autostick option. I love pushing through gears, hearing the roar of the engine and feeling the smooth shifting... just because it is not "manual" doesn't mean that it is not as fun to drive. Evolving technology just means that it is easier and just as enjoyable.... I can drive stick, but it doesn't mean I want to use a 386 to do Excel spreadsheets either.
 
2012-07-20 08:15:07 AM
Driving a manual transmission is so hard that it is the default in virtually all of the rest of the world. It's worth learning to drive a manual if for no other reason than to avoid being screwed by car rental companies.

I'd add that it's not actually harder IMO to drive a manual over an automatic. Once you learn what the engine sounds like at various conditions you automatically switch gear without thinking too hard about it.

A bigger question for me is why diesel is so unpopular in the US when its an instant way to improve mileage by 30%.
 
2012-07-20 08:15:21 AM
In this thread: old men making fallacious arguments to the effect that everyone else should like what they like
 
2012-07-20 08:16:00 AM

Public Savant: MindStalker:
That's why I love that my car has an emergency brake in the middle. So I can yank it while my daughter is driving! (Got her learners license a few weeks ago, I haven't had to yank the e-brake yet!, though I did yank it on a friend whom I was teaching to drive my stick a few months ago just to test his clutch reaction time! )

Ummm... just to make sure, you do know that the parking brake only locks the rear wheels?
And that can be very bad at higher speeds and/or while turning.


Ha, I know. As I said I've resisted the urge to use it, but am prepared to do so if we are about to collide. The friend thing was in a parking lot going about 5mph and I warned him ahead of time.
 
2012-07-20 08:16:19 AM

Gortex: Should I teach my son to use a rotary telephone, too?


It is pretty funny when you watch someone confront a dial telephone for the first time.

// One of my pet peeves is the continued use of the letters on the phone dial in a telephone number. A couple of weeks ago, I was in a Mass State Park and found some vandalism. I knew I was supposed to call "Park Watch" with their helpful number they post on signs around the park, 1-866-PK-WATCH. I think most cell phones don't show the letters-- at least mine doesn't. I tried to figure it out but gave up quickly.
 
2012-07-20 08:17:58 AM

miss diminutive: One of my few regrets is that I never learned how to drive stick. An ex-bf tried to teach me once, but he got so pissy with me when I stalled it once that I just decided it wasn't worth the hassle.


This is not how you teach someone to learn a manual transmission. I remember cringing while learning in our vomit and white colored 1958 Ford wagon, while my Dad made trenchant observations in the passenger seat. When the time came for our kids to learn (they had already completed driver ed. on a slushbox), I just threw the keys to my '77 SAAB 99 at them and said "Go learn to shift for yourself, just go somewhere I don't have to listen to the gears grind or smell the clutch." We live in the country, so there were no issues with them just going out and learning by themselves.....and they learned.
 
2012-07-20 08:25:16 AM
I learned how to drive on a manual transmission. My first few cars had sticks*, and very occasionally, I still get to drive one. However, I can't really own one now, because the distaffbopper doesn't know how to drive one. Plus, since I'm often either talking on the radio, or sending/receiving Morse, it's nice not to have to drop the mic or key just to shift.

I actually kind of wish I still had a Spit. Fun to drive, and I'm friends with a mechanic now so fixing it as is inevitable would be less of a problem.


*Triumph Spitfire, Subaru station wagon, Nissan Sentra, Ford Escort - all had manual transmissions
 
2012-07-20 08:28:45 AM

kimwim: [i.imgur.com image 717x960]

My ride, stick, it would be a waste as an automatic.


Meriden?
 
2012-07-20 08:29:05 AM
My man card was revoked so long ago it ain't even funny. It stands to reason that I've never driven a stick.

/it also stands to reason that i will die alone and unloved, but i'm used to that
 
2012-07-20 08:29:12 AM

Public Savant: MindStalker:
That's why I love that my car has an emergency brake in the middle. So I can yank it while my daughter is driving! (Got her learners license a few weeks ago, I haven't had to yank the e-brake yet!, though I did yank it on a friend whom I was teaching to drive my stick a few months ago just to test his clutch reaction time! )

Ummm... just to make sure, you do know that the parking brake only locks the rear wheels?
And that can be very bad at higher speeds and/or while turning.


One of the things I really like about winter is that when there is snow on the roads/parking lots, I can use the parking/emergency brake to swing the ass end of my car around hither and yon. It's great for giving the distaffbopper heart attacks when I'm pulling into the driveway.
 
2012-07-20 08:32:56 AM

vatica40: //next car probably won't have it available with all the fancy computers and whatnot


It's hard to believe that I'll ever buy another new car, just because of all the fancy computers and whatnot. I suspect I will not.

The three new cars I have purchased in my life were all sticks, first two had window cranks and no A/C, last one that wasn't an option. You got what you got. Still stripped down by today's standards.

Knees are pretty much shot. I have to keep an auto in the stable now for commuting. Still love the sticks though.
 
2012-07-20 08:35:28 AM

doglover: If you can't drive stick, you can't drive yet.


Oh please, you think you can "drive" because you have a stick? I had the mechanic disable the power steering in my Jeep. Then I took off all the mirrors and pulled out the seats. If you can't work a stick and clutch while putting 30 lbs. of torque on the wheel and sitting backwards in a Jeep with no seats to change lanes, I say you can't drive yet.
 
2012-07-20 08:35:55 AM
At least the article called it stick as opposed to standard. If it's hard to get ahold of, it's not really standard anymore, is it? Nowadays automatic is standard.
 
2012-07-20 08:39:38 AM

Kaymon: At least the article called it stick as opposed to standard. If it's hard to get ahold of, it's not really standard anymore, is it? Nowadays automatic is standard.


This is only true in the US. Overseas it is stick that is still standard.

Funny enough, I had a conversation with a Russian friend of mine, he said the only reason people drive stick in Europe is because they are to cheap to buy automatics!

So many people with onions on their belts in this thread!!
 
2012-07-20 08:43:24 AM
i.telegraph.co.uk

Scoffs at all of you pansies.
 
2012-07-20 08:46:25 AM

enderthexenocide: people who always brag about how awesome a manual transmission is sound a lot like the people who adore every product apple releases, or insist that monster cables make the music sound better.


Untrue. Apple products are a fad, monster cables are great but not the end-all and be-all of sound...

But driving a manual transmission is something everyone should at least know how to do. I put up with my clutch in traffic times and sometimes curse having one, but it keeps me awake when I drive sleepy, my fuel consumption is better than most people I know who drive autos, and they're less expensive to buy. It's called a STANDARD transmission for a reason.

Ok yes, I do stomp on the floor in every auto I drive now, and if u had a stroke my mister would probably panic since he himself can't drive one, but manuals are stolen far less frequently and a clutch is easier to replace than an automatic transmission.

/off soapbox
 
2012-07-20 08:49:04 AM
Unless you're a valet, it isn't essential. Pisses me off to no end that I now have to ask the valet if he knows how to drive stick. But still something everyone should learn.
 
2012-07-20 08:49:31 AM
Up here in Europe, you won't be allowed to ride stick if you pass your test in an automatic, so pretty much only handicapped people take such a restricted license at the moment.

Today, I see 2 out of 5 used cars for sale where I live are automatics. Can't say I like where this is heading.
 
2012-07-20 08:49:38 AM
2004 Toyota RAV4 - 5 speed stick - wouldn't have it any other way. I love a manual trans!

Just watch when you have to go through emissions testing (in MD), I usually have to wait 1/2 hour because these idiots don't know what to do with "that stick in the middle". Oh, and valet parking...
 
2012-07-20 08:51:20 AM

Pants full of macaroni!!: Scoffs at all of you pansies.


Before the age of 8, all my vehicles were powered that way.

//Those were much simpler times and onion belts were cheap.
 
2012-07-20 08:51:53 AM

ArcadianRefugee: Only reason to learn to drive a stick is this: when the zombie apocalypse begins, you aren't going to wanna be searching for "just the right car", so it helps to know how to drive as many different types of vehicle as possible.

Beyond that: meh. Not knowing how to drive a stick is like no knowing how to write cursive -- you can live your whole life and never need the skill even once.


That's the mindset of why a lot of things fall by the wayside.

Why write thank you notes when an Egreeting works?

Why bother learning cursive, no one knows how anymore?

Why bother cooking when McDonalds is just up the street?

Why bother walking when I can just stuff my rolls into a Hoveround?

Mentalities like that are the death of society.

That's why I handwrite letters, know my neighbors, make my own marinara sauce and don't just open jars, and will ALWAYS drive a stick. I refuse to get what I consider to be lazy.
 
2012-07-20 08:52:48 AM
Oh - and also - I wasn't allowed to take my driving test without knowing. Dad insisted. Took my learning and test in a 77 Toyota Carolla
 
2012-07-20 08:54:11 AM

doglover: If you can't drive stick, you can't drive yet.

That's pretty much how it goes. Sure you can navigate an automatic passenger car from A to B without killing anyone, but you couldn't use a stick.

On the other hand someone who can drive stick can also drive automatic without so much as moment's hesitation. It's a superior skill. Literally it trumps the other kind of driving.


Totally agree. I was thining this the other day when I saw the umpteen billionth person weaving toward me in the next lane with their head bent on their phone. If you drive a stick, you are multitasking most of the time while driving - both hands independently and both feet. Automatics require one hand and one foot and no brain. If you forced all cars to be manual, it would force people to learn how to drive or they just wouldn't be able to. Less traffic, less accidents, yay!
 
2012-07-20 08:54:39 AM

Spass_Taschen: Unless you're a valet, it isn't essential.


The main reason I want to learn, besides general man-card questions, is so I could drive the normal rentable cars in Europe, Latin America, etc. That's not 'essential', but a somewhat decent reason. Of course, most Americans have never held passports either.
 
2012-07-20 08:54:54 AM
If you don't know how to drive a standard, you don't know how to drive.
 
2012-07-20 08:57:54 AM
I learned on a stick in Germany (and have my Fahrerschien to prove it), but I drive an automatic. Why? It's too hard to find a nice tiny stick around here. People who want stick are willing to pay more, so they cost more. I buy used cars cause I got three kids and ain't made of money, so I get autos.
 
2012-07-20 08:59:04 AM

Carn:

Totally agree. I was thining this the other day when I saw the umpteen billionth person weaving toward me in the next lane with their head bent on their phone. If you drive a stick, you are multitasking most of the time while driving - both hands independently and both feet. Automatics require one hand and one foot and no brain. If you forced all cars to be manual, it would force people to learn how to drive or they just wouldn't be able to. Less traffic, less accidents, yay!


I have a friend who drives a 2010 Jeep Wrangler 4 door with 30 inch tires, and can text and shift... null point is null.

You can eat and shift. You can use your phone and shift. You can get into just as many accidents and shift. Hell, just look at the comments above, people say they are shifting without even noticing.

All I see in this thread is people yelling at clouds at how in the good old days they had to learn.. this new fangled technology is just dumb! TV will make people dumb! Computers will make people obsolete and lazy! You are all going to die without onions on your belts.

I have YET to see ONE argument as to WHY manuals are better. I know how to drive both, but would rather enjoy my autostick. The only real answer is that Manuals are cheaper than Automatics.

//slashies make it better
///just because!
 
2012-07-20 08:59:15 AM

Lawnchair: Spass_Taschen: Unless you're a valet, it isn't essential.

The main reason I want to learn, besides general man-card questions, is so I could drive the normal rentable cars in Europe, Latin America, etc. That's not 'essential', but a somewhat decent reason. Of course, most Americans have never held passports either.


I don't have a passport yet because I've never had the cash to travel. Remedying that later this year, however.
 
2012-07-20 09:01:34 AM

392Zaphod: Carn:

Totally agree. I was thining this the other day when I saw the umpteen billionth person weaving toward me in the next lane with their head bent on their phone. If you drive a stick, you are multitasking most of the time while driving - both hands independently and both feet. Automatics require one hand and one foot and no brain. If you forced all cars to be manual, it would force people to learn how to drive or they just wouldn't be able to. Less traffic, less accidents, yay!

I have a friend who drives a 2010 Jeep Wrangler 4 door with 30 inch tires, and can text and shift... null point is null.

You can eat and shift. You can use your phone and shift. You can get into just as many accidents and shift. Hell, just look at the comments above, people say they are shifting without even noticing.

All I see in this thread is people yelling at clouds at how in the good old days they had to learn.. this new fangled technology is just dumb! TV will make people dumb! Computers will make people obsolete and lazy! You are all going to die without onions on your belts.

I have YET to see ONE argument as to WHY manuals are better. I know how to drive both, but would rather enjoy my autostick. The only real answer is that Manuals are cheaper than Automatics.

//slashies make it better
///just because!


I gave you several actually. I burn less fuel by optimizing the RPM's, they cost less than autos for the same model car, and replacing a clutch is less costly than replacing a transmission block in an auto.

Plus, if your starter goes out, you can push start a manual. You can't push start an auto.

/lawyered.
 
2012-07-20 09:06:34 AM
kiwimoogle84:

I gave you several actually. I burn less fuel by optimizing the RPM's, they cost less than autos for the same model car, and replacing a clutch is less costly than replacing a transmission block in an auto.

Plus, if your starter goes out, you can push start a manual. You can't push start an auto.

/lawyered.
>
Did you read the article? :)

FTA: The automatic Ford Focus gets slightly better gas mileage than its manual counterpart; moreover, new options like continuously variable, dual-clutch and semi-automatic transmissions with paddle shifters, while expensive, can make up for their price tag with fuel efficiency.


Also I have a 100,000 mile/7 year warranty on my transmission, I don't pay for it to be replaced. It can also be extended to 200,000 and 10 years. Also, you WILL replace that clutch at least 2 or 3 times before I have ANY need to replace my automatic transmission.

Again, the only point is that Manuals are cheaper to buy than Automatics. In my model car is was about 1000$ cost difference.

/objection to lawyered! :)
 
2012-07-20 09:07:36 AM

7FARK7: While the knuckle-dragging alpha assholes are whining about having to put ANOTHER clutch into their POS car because they were showing off their mad shifting skillz, me and my little auto will be out cruising around!


Their pos car that can out-corner, out-accellerate and generally just out-perform your automatic in every way? Somebody sounds jealous.
 
2012-07-20 09:07:41 AM
Bah broken html tags is broken :(
 
2012-07-20 09:09:01 AM

392Zaphod: kiwimoogle84:

I gave you several actually. I burn less fuel by optimizing the RPM's, they cost less than autos for the same model car, and replacing a clutch is less costly than replacing a transmission block in an auto.

Plus, if your starter goes out, you can push start a manual. You can't push start an auto.

/lawyered.
>
Did you read the article? :)

FTA: The automatic Ford Focus gets slightly better gas mileage than its manual counterpart; moreover, new options like continuously variable, dual-clutch and semi-automatic transmissions with paddle shifters, while expensive, can make up for their price tag with fuel efficiency.


Also I have a 100,000 mile/7 year warranty on my transmission, I don't pay for it to be replaced. It can also be extended to 200,000 and 10 years. Also, you WILL replace that clutch at least 2 or 3 times before I have ANY need to replace my automatic transmission.

Again, the only point is that Manuals are cheaper to buy than Automatics. In my model car is was about 1000$ cost difference.

/objection to lawyered! :)


You ignored the ability to push start, and if you treat your clutch well, you won't have to replace it soon at all. My car has the original clutch, I'm the second owner, had it for five years, put 75K miles on it. Not even a hint of needing replacing yet. I bet your auto goes out before my clutch does.
 
2012-07-20 09:10:44 AM
Yes.
 
2012-07-20 09:11:38 AM
This new Scion FR-S gets better mpg's with an automatic than its manual counterpart.
I Haz a sad.

graphics8.nytimes.com
 
2012-07-20 09:12:29 AM

kiwimoogle84:
You ignored the ability to push start, and if you treat your clutch well, you won't have to replace it soon at all. My car has the original clutch, I'm the second owner, had it for five years, put 75K miles on it. Not even a hint of needing replacing yet. I bet your auto goes out before my clutch does.




You're right, forgot the push start option.. but if I had a POS I would worry about needing a push start. ;) When was the last time you EVER needed to push start a car? If you want to use that argument, I can say you should still use a choke or a crank start because you never know when you might need it!

Also, challenge accepted! I only have 10k miles on my car though so it might be awhile before I can tell you when I need a new transmission! ;)
 
2012-07-20 09:12:59 AM
farm9.staticflickr.com">
 
2012-07-20 09:15:44 AM
Drive stick with that kung-fu grip, let the banana split and watch it go right to your thighs
 
2012-07-20 09:16:54 AM

392Zaphod: kiwimoogle84:
You ignored the ability to push start, and if you treat your clutch well, you won't have to replace it soon at all. My car has the original clutch, I'm the second owner, had it for five years, put 75K miles on it. Not even a hint of needing replacing yet. I bet your auto goes out before my clutch does.



You're right, forgot the push start option.. but if I had a POS I would worry about needing a push start. ;) When was the last time you EVER needed to push start a car? If you want to use that argument, I can say you should still use a choke or a crank start because you never know when you might need it!

Also, challenge accepted! I only have 10k miles on my car though so it might be awhile before I can tell you when I need a new transmission! ;)


I don't have a POS, and besides, POS is in the eye of the beholder. My ex had a 1991 Chevy S-10 and he loved it more than anything. His starter went out on a road trip, and we started it up three times push starting and got through our trip and home, plus another couple of times to make it through until payday when we could afford to fix it.

Also, sticks are stolen less since criminals aren't masterminds. Also, manuals are better in snow since you can control what gear you're in and how high/low you rev it. Far more control.

I could do this all day. :)

Call me old fashioned, but I still think everyone should know how.
 
2012-07-20 09:17:00 AM
I'm happy most people don't drive a stick,the family never asks to borrow my F150 longbed and they know better than to ask me for help.
 
2012-07-20 09:17:39 AM
One argument that I will say for the Automatic OVER the Manual? I can play with my wife while she is in the passenger seat if I have an Automatic! :P
 
2012-07-20 09:20:44 AM

392Zaphod: I have YET to see ONE argument as to WHY manuals are better. I know how to drive both, but would rather enjoy my autostick. The only real answer is that Manuals are cheaper than Automatics.


You can push-start a car with a manual transmission if the starter dies, and you can use the (working) starter to move a car with a manual transmission a short distance if necessary in an emergency.
 
zez
2012-07-20 09:23:09 AM

randomjsa: doglover:
On the other hand someone who can drive stick can also drive automatic without so much as moment's hesitation.

Except that part where you try to hit the clutch that's not there.


Whenever I drive my wife's car, I usually end up hitting the brake pedal with my left foot around 15-20mph
 
2012-07-20 09:24:17 AM

kiwimoogle84: ArcadianRefugee: Only reason to learn to drive a stick is this: when the zombie apocalypse begins, you aren't going to wanna be searching for "just the right car", so it helps to know how to drive as many different types of vehicle as possible.

Beyond that: meh. Not knowing how to drive a stick is like no knowing how to write cursive -- you can live your whole life and never need the skill even once.

That's the mindset of why a lot of things fall by the wayside.

Why write thank you notes when an Egreeting works?

Why bother learning cursive, no one knows how anymore?

Why bother cooking when McDonalds is just up the street?

Why bother walking when I can just stuff my rolls into a Hoveround?

Mentalities like that are the death of society.

That's why I handwrite letters, know my neighbors, make my own marinara sauce and don't just open jars, and will ALWAYS drive a stick. I refuse to get what I consider to be lazy.


Plus, it sound like you have absolutely nothing else to do in your life, which must be nice.
 
2012-07-20 09:25:02 AM

392Zaphod: One argument that I will say for the Automatic OVER the Manual? I can play with my wife while she is in the passenger seat if I have an Automatic! :P


I can do that while driving a stick too. I can drive mine one handed. It's not hard. I've gone for hours on a road trip holding his hand (or whatever else...giggity) and not have to let go to shift.

Maybe it's because I used to ride motorcycles, that I just don't feel I have control in an auto. But you definitely have more control and if my mother would just quit tossing her car in drive WHILE it's still reversing, maybe she wouldn't have two transmission rebuilds already in a car she's had for only four years. *facepalm*
 
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