Learning how to drive manual TiburonPosted: 2008/10/03
Yesterday, I had my first lesson in driving a manual car. The motivation behind it is nothing super fancy like wanting to drive a racing car or so. It is entirely due to a practical reason. My Honda Civic is in the worst condition it has been in since I purchased it. As Adam is not using his car for next 3 months, he suggested that I use his Tiburon, which is a manual.
My Honda Civic’s mileage has just passed 90,000 miles and it has several problems. From the most costly one to the most trivial one: it needs a new catalytic converter ($700) to pass the emission test (deadline 12/3). It needs a new front window to survive the winter (currently there is a 1 foot long crack). It needs a new seal around both front windows (it was torn out when someone tried to break in in Toronto). It has zillions of scratches in both the front and rear bumpers. Lastly, at around 100,000 miles there are multiple items that needs to be replaced which will cost me at least $1000.
Given how new and slick-looking Adam’s car is, I would’ve sold my car and drove his car instantly. However, there was a big issue of having to use both of my feet as opposed to using only one foot or no foot (cruise control) to drive.
Therefore, yesterday I arranged with Inseok (an acquaintance of mine from college, who’s currently in ECE department) to teach me how to drive with two legs. Knowing that Inseok also has an awesome manual sports car (Mazda RX8), Adam also approved of me learning from him. We drove Adam’s car to a nearby parking lot to try out several things. First I learned how to start the engine which was relatively easy. Then, I learned how to shift the car in first gear. It was quite hard to learn where the clutch engagement point was and so of course I stalled the car multiple times. Finally, I learned how to start the car on a hill. Inseok first taught me how to start the car using the side break on a slope. Then, he taught me how to set the clutch to a point where the car doesn’t slide and then immediately going for the accelerator.
After about an hour of driving, my left leg was so tired. Then I realized, in a situation where the car has to consistently stop and start again (like in traffic jam), my left leg will be tortured like hell. No wonder Adam hates traffic in this car I thought..
Although it was not easy learning how to drive a manual, at the end of the day, I felt as if I learned so much about the physics and dynamics of a car. The feeling of being in full control of another mechanical device is always very rewarding. La la ~