Is it worth it to drive a stick? (Where can you rent a car to learn how?)

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Luigi239, Jul 30, 2009.

  1. Luigi239 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2007
    I may be buying a car in the next 6 months (my first one) and I'm thinking about getting it with a manual transmission. It seems just fun to drive, and I've heard you get better gas millage and control over your car. So my first question, is it worth it to get my car with a manual vs. an automatic? Is it harder to use once you have learned how? I'm a new driver, so I'm worried that it will just be another distraction.

    The other thing is where can I rent a stick shift vehicle to learn on? My uncle is more than willing to teach me, but doesn't have car we can use to learn on. I've heard that most car rental places won't rent a stick out to you. I live in Charlotte, NC if that matters.

  2. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604


    Dec 29, 2006
    dallas, texas
    You have to be 25 to rent a car. But it's def. worth it.
  3. gatepc macrumors 6502


    Apr 11, 2008
    Pittsburgh PA
    I would say if you live in a hilly area get an automatic ( you will burn out your clutch ) if you live in relatively flat area I say get a shift if your willing to learn it because you get more control over the vehicle. But if you don't want to be bothered with it again you can always get an automatic.
  4. Luigi239 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2007
    Well my uncle is more than old enough. At the rental place, can the car be rented out to him with me driving it? Or will that cause a problem if for instance we got into an accident.
  5. swiftaw macrumors 603


    Jan 31, 2005
    Omaha, NE, USA
    When renting the car, you have to list all the people who will be driving it.

    Most rental agencies will not allow anyone under 25 to drive their cars, however some do but will charge an extra fee for it.

    Also, the vast majority of rental cars in the US are automatics. I have rented many cars in the US and have never been given a standard transmission.
  6. killerrobot macrumors 68020


    Jun 7, 2007
    He can rent it and add you as a driver, but the rental place will charge up the wazoo because you're under 25.

    You'd have to check out each rental place to see if they have manuals, because even most of the economy rentals are still automatic.

    You should just go to a car dealership and say you're interested in buying a car, and take it out for a spin with your uncle.

    EDIT: Beaten to the punch...
  7. jknight8907 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 14, 2004
    Hudson Valley NY
    If you have anything close to good skills, hilly areas won't noticeably decrease your clutch life.
  8. LizKat macrumors 68040


    Aug 5, 2004
    Catskill Mountains
    WHAT?? The best reason in the world for getting a stick is living in a hilly area! Saves your brakes big time, saves on gas... essential for getting up and down slippery hills in winter.

    I rented a Corolla once, an automatic, and went nuts listening to the thing forever hunting through various ranges of its whole repertoire of gears, trying to find the right one in the hilly, curvy back roads.

    "Not now, you idiot!" I kept saying on one stretch where the road rises, goes around a down-dipping curve and then rises again... that car invariably shifted out in the curve, even if I took my foot off the gas, and then I had to drop it into the low slot to get to the top of the next long rise.

    Of course me trying to drop an automatic into low is always pretty comical to begin with, since my foot naturally expects :confused: to find a clutch :eek: when my hand is on the stick.

    Anyway when I bought my first stick I had someone drive me and it to a level back road, where I could learn how to drive it properly. Then I graduated to a circuit of back roads that traversed hills so I could learn to start from a standstill without stalling or rolling backwards. It's not at all hard once you've done it a few times, but you do not, not, not want to learn this on a freeway ramp in the rush hour.

    Have fun! :) You will not regret choosing a stick.
  9. Luigi239 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2007
    That's how my uncle learned it actually. He bought a '60 something Ford Mustang, and his dad had to drive it home for him, and then taught him how to drive it.

    My biggest fear is that I'm going to get a car with a stick, and then find it extremely annoying to drive it. Even though you say I won't regret it, I'm still very nervous :p
  10. LizKat macrumors 68040


    Aug 5, 2004
    Catskill Mountains
  11. GfPQqmcRKUvP macrumors 68040


    Sep 29, 2005
    I've had a stick shift ever since I've started driving and I wouldn't trade it for the world. It enhances the connectio between you and your car and it's just damn fun. Unless you're in awful traffic every day of your life, get one. You'll love it.
  12. candan9019 macrumors regular

    Feb 18, 2003
    Ontario-> Louisiana-> Colorado-> Ontario
    It seems a lot of the newer automatic transmissions actually get better milage than manuals do, but as for control absolutely.

    Super fun sometimes but when your tired or stuck in traffic it can be a pain.
  13. Signal-11 macrumors 65816


    Mar 23, 2008
    2nd Star to the Right
    Depends on you. If you really want to learn manual, then learn.

    There are places and times where automatic is much more convenient. If you drive primarily in a very hilly, urban area with heavy stop and go traffic, you're better off with an automatic.

    Otherwise, it's a personal preference thing.
  14. Mavimao macrumors 6502a


    Feb 16, 2005
    Lyon, France
    The hardest part about learning how to drive a stick shift is getting the car moving in first gear. It takes practice to get that correct combination of clutch/gas but after that, it's all in the details ;)
  15. spillproof macrumors 68020


    Jun 4, 2009
    It is good to know how to drive a manual even if you don't own one. The knowledge could come in handy someday.
  16. Melodic macrumors member

    Sep 5, 2008
    If you are going to drive in bumper to bumper traffic often (constant clutch in clutch out) or if you live in hilly areas (parallel parking on a hill sucks) then you might find it frustrating. Other than that is FUN! I love driving stick except in NY rush hour
  17. xlii macrumors 68000


    Sep 19, 2006
    Millis, Massachusetts
    I learned how to drive in 1969, when I was 16. We had 2 cars, an automatic and a standard. I learned on the automatic because it was easier to drive... easier to pass the driving test... without needed to shift gears... one less thing for me to think about.

    After I got my license and had a little experience driving that automatic around, I taught myself how to drive the standard. The only difference is the shift-clutch-gas interaction. I practiced that by backing the car up and down the driveway. After a short time... I got it. The coordination was there.

    Standards are a lot of fun to drive. You need to listen to the engine. The engine will tell you when to shift up or down.

    Hills are no big deal except for this... It's snowing the hill is steep and you are in a line of stop and go cars snaking up the hill. The guy behind you is right on your bumper. You need to use your handbrake to prevent you from rolling backwards when you take your foot off the brake and clutch after you've shifted from neutral to 1st... inch forward and then stop again. Repeat that many times. Other than that you'll love driving a standard.

    So... my advice is to learn on an automatic. Get your license, and get some hours behind the wheel of that automatic. After you feel comfortable there... you can think about learning on a standard. The only difference then will be the clutch shift break gas interaction.
  18. Don't panic macrumors 603

    Don't panic

    Jan 30, 2004
    having a drink at Milliways
    you're sipping an aperitif outside a cafe' in cote d'azur. You lock eyes with the girl of your dreams. she motions to the side of the street and points to her cabrio parked nearby. she throws you the keys and says: "you drive".
    you catch the keys, get to the car and notice, to your eternal horror and shame, that it's a stick....

    sticks are most definitively more fun to drive in general (especially if you like sportsy driving), while automatic transmission is much more convenient in city and heavy traffic: when you're stuck on the FDR going at 1 mile per hour, the fun of the stick quickly fades away.

    milage can be significantly better on the stick (if you drive economically), but modern automatics are not as bad as they used to be.

    an added advantage of learning to properly drive a manual, is (as hinted above) if you plan on traveling: cars around the world tend to be overwhelmingly standard transmission.

    that said, a good alternative that merges the good aspects of both type of transmissions is those where you can 'shift' from one to the other, like tip-tronic , steptronic and the like
  19. OutThere macrumors 603


    Dec 19, 2002
    Give it two weeks and you won't have a worry driving it, 2 months and it's 2nd nature, six months and you'll never want to drive an automatic again. :D

    I got my permit and learned to drive a car for the first time with a manual transmission, took my license test with a stick and have never had a second thought.

    Even modern and advanced automatics don't seem to give you that great feeling of really having the machine attached to your hands and feet, like you have absolute precise control of how fast the engine is spinning and how much power you're putting to the road.

    edit: Sticks are also great because you have an excuse to not lend your car to a majority of people. "Yo brah, can I borrow your wheels tonight?" "It's a stick shift" "Damn dude I'll ask Kevin for his car."
  20. InvalidUserID macrumors 6502a


    Sep 7, 2008
    Palo Alto, CA
    Yes because chirping your wheels and revving the snot out of the engine is fun.
  21. OutThere macrumors 603


    Dec 19, 2002
    I love to rev the engine in neutral, bounce off the limiter and watch the hood lean a little bit. :D
  22. SactoGuy18 macrumors 68030


    Sep 11, 2006
    Sacramento, CA USA
    The only thing though is that unless you drive a really cheap car or a specialized sports car, manuals may become less and less common as the cost of dual-clutch transmissions come down and new continously variable transmissions based on Fallbrook Technologies' NuVinci CVP start to become available in the next several years.

    Already, VW has been quite successful with their DSG dual-clutch gearbox, and we may see almost every Ferrari with a dual-clutch transmission within the next 4-5 years.
  23. moral-hazard macrumors regular

    Jul 27, 2009
    Palo Alto, CA
    I drive a 6-speed manual. Wouldn't have it any other way.

    Then again, I race so its sort of a given (drag and autocross). But even if I didn't, I would prefer it. You do get better mileage assuming you don't drive like a fool, more control, etc. Automatics are laggy and boring to drive IMO.
  24. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    always wise to wear out the clutch while engine breaking vs using the cheaper brakes lol /sarcasm

    motorcycles are the best manuals! rthough my stick shift car is fun too. just alot slower lol
  25. shaunymac macrumors 6502

    Feb 5, 2008
    Nearly everything has been said. If you have any dirt bike/motorcycle experience, it will come much much easier to you.

    I have a manual as a DD. Simply put, when I get in a car with an automatic, I get bored. Everything is too automated, esp. in todays cars.

    If you end up getting a manual, you will feel connected to your car and will be able to shift up/down when you want to, not when transmission deams neccessary. This can be very important. Ex. slowing down, going down hills, or simply cruising in a gear you want.

    I know some of these newer auto's are getting close to manuals but they are still not there and they definately can't replace the feeling it gives you.

    Oh, and you won't burn up your clutch if you learn how to drive. You will probably stall quite a bit in the beginning and ride the clutch as well but you will be fine.

    Any ideas on what kind of car/truck you are getting?

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