Are you planning on becoming a trucker? Considering on taking a part-time truck driving job? Or are you one of the wise truck buyers who opt to get a manual transmission truck or commercial vehicle (because it’s definitely cheaper than the automatic ones)? Whatever your case may be, there’s one thing that must be on top of your to-do list: learning to drive a standard manual transmission truck.
If taking driving classes isn’t really among your options, still, there’s no need to fret. Advance Truck Wreckers is here to help you out. Being reputable Melbourne wreckers of all kinds and sizes of scrap and old trucks, we’re here to make you realise that driving a stick shift truck isn’t as complicated as it seems.
Just read on and follow all steps, and you’re good to go:
Study your cockpit
The reason why it’s called a manual transmission truck because it gives the driver full power and control in shifting the gears. Most trucks have 5 speeds, but there are also modern ones that go up to six speeds. In order to master driving a stick shift, you must familiarise yourself with all the essential parts of the manual cockpit:
- Clutch pedal – located at the far left; you will have to step on this whenever you need to move a gear up or down.
- Brake pedal and gas pedal – well there’s really no need to explain these; as they’re used for stopping and accelerating.
- Gear Shifter – or the ‘stick’ is the one responsible for shifting the gears in your transmission. Neutral is not a gear. In fact, it’s to put your vehicle in a gearless state. You can rev up your engine when in neutral, but your truck really won’t go anywhere.
- Tachometer – this is a gauge on your dashboard that’ll show you how many revs per minute your engine’s crankshaft is going. Later on, as you already learn to drive a manual transmission truck, you’ll see that the tachometer is the one that’s going to tell you when you need to shift a gear up or down.
Practice shifting gears
Before you jump right into getting your truck going, we really recommend that you practise pressing the clutch and shifting the gears while your engine is turned off and the parking brake engaged. This will give you a chance to get a feel of how the gears work and how much resistance does your clutch have. Also, by practising a couple of times, you will become more and more comfortable with all the motions and body mechanics involved. It’s important that you
Learn to drive!
Every driver you know who drives a stick shift will tell you that the hardest and most intimidating part of learning to drive a manual is getting your vehicle going on the first gear without stalling the engine (when it suddenly goes off). Prepare your mind and emotions on this part – as it’ll really take time and practise for you to be able to master this one. But don’t worry, just like what we said, every driver have gone through this. And it’s okay to fail a few or even many times. Just don’t give up! We promise you that after you’ve successfully done this, driving and shifting to other gears would be already a piece of cake.
By the way, before you get your manual transmission truck rolling, make sure that you learn and practice in a wide and empty parking lot. If that’s not possible, choose a wide road wherein there’s minimal number of vehicles around. In addition, bring somebody who knows how to drive a manual transmission truck so he or she can guide you.
Now follow these steps:
- Press the clutch with your left foot and the brake pedal with your right, then start your engine. There are some manual vehicles that don’t require you to press the clutch so you can start the engine. However, it’s still a good and safe habit to keep regardless of what kind of M/T or A/T car you drive.
- While still stepping on the clutch and brake, shift your car to first gear. Remember, when using your stick and shifting gears, your clutch pedal must ALWAYS be fully depressed. Don’t take your feet off yet even if you’ve already put the car into 1st gear.
- Disengage the parking brake.
- Now slowly remove your right foot from the brake pedal and position it onto the gas pedal. Get ready for the most tricky part. AT THE SAME TIME: slowly let up the clutch pedal while slowly pressing a little pressure on your gas pedal. If you press the gas pedal too hard and you release the quickly, you’ll stall the vehicle – and you need to turn off your engine again and start from the beginning. Don’t worry if you’re not yet moving. As long as you’re not stalling, that means you’re on the right track.
- Now check your tachometer. If it stays within the 1500 to 2000 RPM while you’re still doing the same slow motion on your clutch and gas, it means you could already release your clutch completely (still slowly). If everything goes well and your engine doesn’t stall, you should begin to feel your gears “bite” and your engine will feel different as compared to the feeling when you were starting moments ago. You’ll now feel that your truck is already slowly moving forward.
- Practise stopping and going. Come to a complete stop by pressing the brake and the clutch pedal at the same time. Then after a few seconds, start to move the truck again by repeating Step 2 onwards.
- When you’ve already mastered stopping and going without stalling your truck, you’re now ready to take on a little more speed. You may accelerate by removing your right foot off the gas pedal then press the clutch all the way down with your left foot so you could use your gear shifter to move up the next gear. After you’ve moved up one gear, just slowly release the clutch while you keep pressing the gas pedal. Completely take off your left foot from the clutch while you accelerate and press the gas pedal harder.
- You will have to downshift once your car’s tachometer drops around 1. To do that, you will have to do the same thing as with Step 7, the only difference is, you’ll move the stick to a lower gear.
- It’s better if you could practise everyday even if in minimal speeds. Once you’ve gotten the hang of getting into first gear and shifting gears without stalling, then you’ll be more good at it in no time. On your first months of driving a manual vehicle, you’ll most probably rely on your tachometer to see if you need to change gears. But as time goes by, you’ll be able to do it even just by feeling and hearing your truck’s engine.
- You need to master the art of “avoiding clutch riding”. Clutch riding means resting your left foot on the clutch pedal even when you’re already in gear. Putting light pressure (not stepping on it against the floor) on the clutch pedal is enough to partially disengage the gear. However, it is never recommended as it’ll cause premature wear and tear on your clutch. So even while you’re still learning, form the habit of removing your left foot completely from the clutch pedal once you get into gear. Besides, that’s what the left foot rest (located just beside your clutch pedal) is for!
Remember, the keys to successfully learning how to drive a standard manual transmission truck or any kind of manual vehicle are the 2 Ps: Patience and Practice. No matter how frustrated you get from stalling your truck too many times, never lose hope and just practise from square one. Have you ever heard of one person who have tried to learn to drive a stickshift but ended up not learning to drive at all? We’re guessing, none, right? So just keep your cool. With your persistence and determination, you’ll eventually breeze through it in no time.
If you’re looking for a reputable company that provides top cash for trucks, cash for old trucks, and cash for scrap trucks no matter the brand and condition, Advance Truck Wreckers is your best bet! We are a leading truck wreckers Melbourne company that’s more than willing to take in your rusty old clunker regardless of its size, age, and brand. And the best part is, your business won’t even have to shell out additional expenses for truck removal and towing – we’ll take care of it for free, just for you! So if you’re now thinking: “I want to sell my truck to Advance Truck Wreckers.” It’s as easy as picking up your phone and dialing this number: 0405063700.