Everyone should learn to use a manual gearbox…

Driving a manual transmission is a skill that every car enthusiast should have.

I was thinking about this topic on the way into work, watching drivers just randomly drifting in their lanes on the freeway. It’s the sad classic story of the modern age.

Proper usage of a H-Pattern gearbox is a dying art-form. Most people don’t know how to do it.

With the introduction of dual clutch semi-automatic transmissions and more efficient automatic gearboxes, drivers are less required to understand the mechanics of using a traditional manual gearbox.

To their credit, these modern transmissions are technological marvels. They swap gears faster and more accurately than any human being can shift. Especially with modern cars today, some with more than 500hp as standard, having a computer taking an additional stress off the driver is appreciated.

However I am of the belief that if you’re a true driving enthusiast, that you should know how to properly drive using a manual gearbox.  It’s not required that you own one (but it is highly encouraged by us here. ;))

There are a number of reasons to be good at driving a H-Pattern. I’m going to list just a few of them here.


1) Driving a manual gearbox teaches better hand-eye coordination– Being able to synchronize proper gearshifts, clutch work and use any combination is an efficient and impressive skill in itself.

2) Most drivers of manual gearboxes are better at keeping better space between the cars in front of them- They understand the timing of what is required, especially when the car has to stop quickly.

3) There is no more enjoyable technique in a car, when done correctly. – I honestly believe that there is no more satisfying technique than a proper heel-and-toe downshift. Drivers who can drive a manual gearbox well, especially at speed are appreciated by other knowledgeable enthusiast.

4) Drivers feel more in-tune with their car when using a manual– Being in touch with every forward action, accelerating and decelerating through the gears make a driver appreciate the skills required to be fast and smooth while working the gears.


Driving a manual is the most fun you can have in a car. It’s exciting and engaging. In the 21st century, if you say that you’re passionate about cars, it’s an experience that should not be missed.

If we’re not careful, in a few generations there may be few opportunities left to do so.

2 thoughts on “Everyone should learn to use a manual gearbox…

  1. Learning how to drive a stick leaves a person much less likely to die in a fireball when their accelerator gets stuck under the floormat (teaching new drivers how to put their toe under the floormat and pull the pedal up is not a bad idea either). Even if a person hasn’t driven a stick in 20 years, having had the experience of driving a car that required them to disconnect engine and transmission over and over again gives a much greater understanding of what the N position on the gear selector is.

  2. Gahhhh! I just had a cargasm over that video! Short wheelbase UrQuattro + Röhrl in action + deft left foot braking = cranial rapid unanticipated disassembly.

    No enthusiast is complete until they master manual shifting with heel and toe, double clutched, downshifts.

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