How Long Does it Take to Learn to Drive Manual? (Is it Really Hard?)

If you live in the United States, you are one of about 97% of drivers who do not know how to drive manual or stick as some would call it. You now want to join the 3%. Your question is, how long does it take to learn manual driving?

In short, it takes anywhere from 20 to 30 hours or more of practice to get reasonably comfortable with driving a manual car. Some countries that do tests with manual vehicles when applying for a driver’s license require that a student learner practices for at least 15 to 20 hours before being tested.

How long it takes will depend on how fast a learner you are and whether you are learning by yourself or with a tutor. Some several online tutorials and videos will help you learn but some of these don’t do a great deal when it comes to teaching you to drive manual correctly.

Is it hard to learn to drive a manual?

Unlike automatic transmission vehicles where you simply have to push the throttle down and work the breaks as necessary, driving manual involves a coordinated approach where you use both legs and arms.

If you have never done it before, it will feel somewhat awkward at first and you will definitely stall the car more than once as you learn the basics of driving stick. The more you practice, the better you will become at it.

Can you teach yourself to drive manual?

You definitely can teach yourself to drive stick but the best option would be to get an experienced instructor, friend, or relative that knows how to drive stick. You will learn a lot faster this way and also avoid mistakes.

When you are learning by yourself, you will need to figure out things like clutch control, how to start a manual transmission vehicle, gear selection, when to change gears up or down, and similar things. If you have chosen this path, here is a short guide on how to drive a manual car.

Can you learn to drive manual in a month?

This is a common question that comes up especially in forums where people want to know just how long it will take for them to get comfortable driving stick.

If you put in at least 30 minutes to an hour per day within that month, you will be able to drive stick. Again, it also depends on how fast of a learner you are. Others can get it down within a space of a few days.

How to Drive a Shift Stick Vehicle

One of the keys to driving a manual transmission car is understanding clutch control. This is one of the fundamental concepts that you will need to master. A manual car has 3 pedals.

Depending on your vehicle, you may have a footrest that looks like a pedal on the far left. Some vehicles will not have this footrest. Next to that is the clutch pedal. The brake pedal is in the middle and the accelerator pedal is on the right side.

Step 1:

Push the clutch pedal all the way down. Put the car in neutral. This is the position right in the middle of the H that makes up the gears.

To check whether the car really is in neutral, wiggle the stick around and if it moves around, you are in neutral. If you start a car in gear with the clutch pedal not pushed down, the vehicle will do a violent jerk.

Step 2:

Start your engine and slowly let the clutch go. Your car will start idling.

Step 3:

Push the clutch all the way down then put the car in first gear. This is found by pushing the gear to the left then up.

Step 4:

Push the accelerator down until you get to between 1000 to 2000 RPMs while still pushing the clutch down.

Step 5:

Slowly let up the clutch pedal until you feel the car begin to vibrate a little then start moving forward. At this point, hold the clutch in that position for a while until you feel the car fully engages into gear. At this point, you can then let your foot off the clutch as the car will now be in motion.

How do you get used to clutch control?

Learning to control clutch is key. If you let your foot off the clutch too fast at the vibration point, you will stall the car. Everyone does this when first learning to drive. The only way to get used to clutch control is to keep practicing again and again until you figure it out.

Conclusion on How Long it Takes to Drive a Manual Transmission

Learning to drive a manual car gives you the opportunity to experience a side of driving that you will never get to experience in an automatic vehicle. It’s a lot more fun to drive manual than automatic. Just like anything that is worth pursuing, it takes time effort, and patience to learn manual but the experience is more than worth it.