By Anthony Santiago - Editor-in-Chief

December 30, 2022
How to buy manual car without knowing drive one

How To Buy Manual Car Without Knowing How to Drive One

If you're like many people, you've been dreaming of the independence and thrill of having your own car for some time. But if you don't know how to drive manual, it can seem like the dream of owning a manual car is out of reach. Don't worry, it is still possible to buy a good, solid manual car even though you might not know how to drive one right now. 

While many manufacturers are focusing on automatic transmissions because they are more fuel efficient, shift faster and require less maintenance, there are a niche set of drivers that want to continue to enjoy manually shifting a car. 

Data does show that vehicles with manual transmissions are 1% of the cars produced each year. In the 1980's, the percentage of manual cars was 35%. This does indicate how technology is the driving force of change.

However, there are collectors, car enthusiasts and drivers who still want to enjoy the feel of being connected with the engine and vehicle with their left foot. You might be in the small group. Don't worry, its not rocket science. It is entirely possible to buy a manual car even if you don't know how to drive stick shift.

Here's how!

Bring Someone With You

When you're buying a manual car, it's important to bring someone along who has manual experience driving one. It's true that the vast majority of buyers aren't expected to drive their manuals perfectly the first time around, having an experienced driver by your side can save you a lot of grief, embarrassment, hassle and disappointment in the long run. Not only should they help evaluate how it drives, they'll be able to spot signs of anything that could pose as a risk or problem with the car itself.

Preferably, you will want someone who is also knowledgable with cars in general, since their input will help you determine the feel of the clutch pedal. Newbie drivers will not be familiar with a bad clutch while they focus on not stalling.

Furthermore, an experienced driver may point out parts that could use some replacement or repair such as clutches, transmission mounts and filters which may need some attention before you settle on purchasing the vehicle. They can also recommend professional services such as clutch inspections which they wouldn’t have any chance of spotting while simply behind the wheel.

The driver will be able to let you know if there is something inherently wrong with the transmission. When you take your first test drives it’s best to start slow and look for any unusual vibrations or sounds that could point out issues with gearbox, clutch or engine.

Pay attention when shifting between speeds and make sure to shift seamlessly with few jerks. Look for how much effort is required when driving around curves and in city streets — if the car is difficult to maneuver, this could be an indication that gearbox needs adjustment.

By bringing an experienced friend along with you when you're making your purchase decision for your manual car can make all the difference in avoiding future headaches or unpleasant surprises when its time take off in your new ride for the first time!

Practice Before Test Drive

As a first-time buyer of a manual car, you may feel slightly overwhelmed in your hunt for the perfect model. Before going out to test drive cars, it’s important to get some practice driving a stick shift.

First, you will want to find a good sized parking lot. Many parking lots have spaces that are large enough to allow a few practice maneuvers such as proper stopping and switching gears. This can help you get a feel for the rhythm of switches and make your test drive to car much more successful.

Once you’ve had some practice driving in a controlled setting, it’s time to take your newfound skills out on the open road. Remember to take things slow. 

It will take some time to get used to balancing the clutch with the gas pedal. In fact, there is a high degree of chance that you will make wrong gear mistakes with a standard transmission. Compared the the automatic transmission counterpart, you will need to learn how to have gentle clutch control, especially with brake to gas.

Stick shift driving is very different on hills and stop and go traffic. These are the two scenarios where drivers have the most complaints.

Research Best Cars to Learn Manual

Before you start shopping, here are some tips for buying a manual car without knowing how to drive it:

Identify Beginner-Friendly Cars: Many cars can be good for learning how to drive manual transmissions, but there are some models and brands that are particularly well suited for beginners based on their size, weight and other features. Popular cars such as the Honda Civic, Ford Focus and Mazda Miata are great places to start researching because they have manageable clutch action, responsive gearboxes and relatively shallow learning curves when starting out.

honda civic manual transmission

Honda Civic

The Honda Civic is the premier pick for manual driving novices: its transmission has a smooth and responsive feel, making gear-shifting effortless. With excellent maneuverability and balance due to its agile design, you can depend on it to practice various techniques safely. Plus, thanks to its sturdiness and durability reputation, you know that this car won't let you down in terms of reliability - ensuring that your lessons will last!

ford focus manual transmission

Ford Focus

The Ford Focus is an ideal car for those looking to learn how to drive manual. Its smooth and precise transmission makes it easy to switch gears, allowing you to master the art of driving stick quickly. On top of that, its well-balanced handling abilities make it a great choice for practicing different maneuvers while honing your skills on the road. And if you ever need help along the way, rest assured - the vast performance and aftermarket parts community will be there in support!

mazda miata manual transmission

Mazda Miata

If you're looking for an incredibly fun and reliable sports car, look no further than the Mazda Miata. Its precise transmission makes it easy to shift gears as you become accustomed to manual driving, while its nimble handling enables drivers to practice a variety of techniques with confidence. Additionally, known for both durability and dependability, this remarkable vehicle is sure to provide years of memorable experiences on the road!

subaru impreza manual transmission

Subaru Impreza

When it comes to learning manual driving, the Subaru Impreza is an ideal choice. Boasting a reliable all-wheel drive system and rock solid grip on slippery roads as well as normal driving conditions, it has earned its reputation as one of the finest weather vehicles ever made. The transmission also makes shifting gears simple and smooth while providing excellent control over your ride. Moreover, you can rest assured knowing that not only will this car provide top tier performance today but for many years to come! This is especially true with the community of driving purists within the Subaru owners. 

Note: In 2024, Subaru will be dropping the manual transmission for the Impreza

vw golf manual transmission

Volkswagen Golf

With a renowned reputation for reliability, precision transmission and superior handling capabilities, the Volkswagen Golf is an excellent choice when learning to drive manual. Its responsive gearbox ensures smooth shifting while its balanced agility allows drivers to practice different maneuvers with ease. Plus, you can depend on this car's durability as it has proven itself time and again in both performance and longevity - making it the perfect vehicle for novice motorists!

As you narrow down your list of cars to look at, pay close attention to keys aspects of the cars you’re considering such as gear lever travel (long or short), shift pattern (standard H or reverse H), engine revs per mile (high vs low speed) and steering feel (firm or soft). Knowing these details can help you make an informed decision about which car would be suitable for learning with.

TIP: Try Out a Few Models: It’s always helpful to test out a few different vehicle models before choosing one specifically designed for manual transmission drivers. As you learn, this will give you an idea of what’s right or wrong with each one and see if it fits your needs or not. Be sure to visit dealerships during the day with plenty of time so that you can really get comfortable behind the wheel before making any decisions about which one is right for you!

Benefits of Manual Transmission

When it comes to buying a car, one of the primary questions to consider is whether to get a manual or automatic transmission. While there are many benefits that come with an automatic, opting for a manual is far more cost-effective and allows for a more engaging driving experience.

Manual transmission vehicles are known for their fuel efficiency as they allow the driver to be in complete control of the gear shifts and often require less fuel than an automatic. Manual cars also offer fun, as gear shifting becomes part of the driving experience, providing an enjoyable experience.

With a manual car, drivers have better engine control than with an automatic transmission. Manual cars offer flexibility with how you drive; you can choose when to shift gears through anticipated terrain such as going uphill or accelerating on flat surfaces. This allows you to adjust your speed no matter what kind of conditions you’re faced with.

With a manual car, the driver has ultimate control over their speed because they can choose when to change gears and can easily slow down or speed up depending on their preference and current road conditions. This makes it easier and safer while navigating through traffic or hazardous road conditions such as bad weather or unexpected turns in the road.

All in all, manual transmission cars have better fuel economy, require less maintenance no matter what type of vehicle you’re looking at purchasing whether that be an SUV or sports car thus saving on costs overtime; plus having optimized performance if well maintained; are more fun and engaging compared to autos; and provide full control allowing drivers decide when they want shift up or down helping them anticipate traffic ahead without having pre-programmed gear shifting techniques by auto transmissions.

Driving Considerations

Before deciding against a manual transmission, let's consider the following factors that could influence your decision:

Hills: Driving a manual transmission on hilly terrain can be quite intimidating. Truth be told, hill starts demand precise gear shifting and perfect clutch control. If you're living in an area full of hills, then opting for a car with manual transmission may not be the best choice when considering comfortability and convenience. A steep hill may pose a significant challenge as a newbie driver. However, with enough practice, you should be able to tackle any hill of any size. 

City traffic: For those who frequently encounter heavy urban traffic, a manual transmission can be exhausting to drive due its constant requirement for shifting and monitoring of gears. If your daily commute consists largely of stop-and-go driving, it may not be the most convenient choice for you.

Foot injuries: If you have an injury or condition that restricts your usage of pedals, a manual shift car could be problematic. This is because driving such a vehicle requires frequent use of the clutch pedal, something which might result in discomfort for some drivers.

Not universal for all drivers: The decision of whether to drive a manual or automatic transmission comes down to personal taste and what best suits your capabilities. It is worth noting, however, that some drivers may not be comfortable handling a manual gearbox; after all, there is no wrong choice when it comes to selecting an auto-shift over a standard - both have their respective pros and cons! Ultimately though: whichever feels most convenient for you should be the one you opt for.

Final Thoughts

If you're new to driving a manual car, it may seem daunting. But with thorough preparation and the right resources here at BuyCarBlog, conquering this task is completely achievable.

Spend time researching different models of manual cars that appeal to you; take them out for test drives whenever possible; seek advice from experienced mechanics and friends who have experience with these vehicles - all of these steps will help you make an educated decision when buying a new or used car.

It won't be easy but the rewards are plentiful! Owning a manual car can provide plenty of satisfaction in return for taking the effort upfront. Trust me, its worth it!


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Anthony Santiago - Editor-in-Chief

About the author

I am a passionate car enthusiast who likes to help people save money and avoid headaches when it comes to cars. I believe that everyone can find the right car at the right price. I share my tips and experience so you can learn quickly and maximize your next SUV, truck or car purchase.

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