Learn How To Drive Stick In Five Minutes

If you had to describe what we do here at Jalopnik, chances are you’d say something about how we’re an organization dedicated to making the world a better place through song and magic. Oh, and we do shit with cars. This episode of Neat Stuff in Cool Cars is a mix of both, as we get racing driver and NBC Sports contributor Parker Kligerman to teach people to drive stick.


It’s a given that every human has a soul-demanding right to know how to drive a manual transmission, and it’s one of the greatest problems facing mankind today (no exaggeration — ISIS wouldn’t even exist if everyone knew what a clutch did). It’s unbearable that so many people still don’t know how. So we’re solving it, by teaching these three hapless folks how to drive stick.

They all come in with their own reasons for wanting it — fear of not being able to hijack a car, impressing dudes, making Ballaban look like an ass — and it’s so very satisfying to see it happen.

Plus, this is the official debut of the Jalopnik Crotch-Cam system of pedal-observing, and it’s fantastic. Enjoy.

Contact the author at jason@jalopnik.com.


Kevin Barrett

Every time I see that damn dog-paddle gesture I know somebody is about to stall the car. Don’t start by trying to teach the end result, start by teaching what each pedal does and have them practice using them individually in neutral. Hold engine speed at different levels, practice range of motion on the clutch, depressing the pedal quickly, letting it out slowly.

This is my method, and nobody’s ever stalled my cars, or suffered the bucking bronco. Everybody’s been able to make it into second gear smoothly within 20 minutes.

My cars, by the way, are a Protege5 with 210,000 miles, and a Miata with 120,000 miles, both with original clutches.