How to explain gear changes to my girlfriend
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Community Lounge, Introductions and General Discussion Discussion, How to explain gear changes to my girlfriend in General Discussion; Okay so I have been trying to teach my girlfriend how to drive a standard car, but we don't make ...
  1. #1
    MattHatlee's Avatar
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    How to explain gear changes to my girlfriend

    Okay so I have been trying to teach my girlfriend how to drive a standard car, but we don't make it far into the lesson because every time I tell her anything she immediately asks "why?". For example we were driving down the road and I was explaining that when you reach a certain RPM you need to change gears. Of course her response was "why?" I looked at her and tried to explain it (using the analogy of riding a bike) this just confused her. How else do I explain why you need to change gears in a car to someone who doesn't know anything about cars?

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    RippyPartsDept's Avatar
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    Re: How to explain gear changes to my girlfriend

    http://www.howstuffworks.com/transmission.htm
    see if you can get her to read/watch this and understand it
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    EcSTSatic's Avatar
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    Re: How to explain gear changes to my girlfriend

    And she doesn't understand the bike example? I would put her on a 10-speed and let her try to ride it in one gear. Tell her she is the engine and explain why she has to shift to make it easier to ride. Don't try to get into gear ratios, power curves etc.

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    The-Dullahan is offline Cadillac Owners Master
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    Get a new girlfriend.
    Koooop, Koooop, 77CDV and 3 others like this.

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    Re: How to explain gear changes to my girlfriend

    I've taught many girls many things over the years but driving a stick is not one of them.
    It will probably result in clutch/trans damage. Not just because it's a girl, either. Most people will never learn.
    I do compliment you on knowing how at 16, though.
    Get her an automatic.

    Quote Originally Posted by The-Dullahan View Post
    Get a new girlfriend.
    ^Or this.

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    Re: How to explain gear changes to my girlfriend



    Get her an automatic.

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    Re: How to explain gear changes to my girlfriend

    Since she is asking you questions I have to assume she is thinking enough about it to care about learning so I am going to side with the g.f.

    She probably needs some one else to teach her that knows more about it and can explain her questions to her so that she can understand things.
    orconn and orconn like this.

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    The-Dullahan is offline Cadillac Owners Master
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    I think everyone should be taught to drive standard.

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    Re: How to explain gear changes to my girlfriend

    Quote Originally Posted by CTSCHICK View Post
    She probably needs some one else to teach her that knows more about it and can explain her questions to her so that she can understand things.
    Oh snap! You can't say something like that to a guy!

    But don't worry MattHatlee, your GF is probably otherwise perfectly happy with the size of your brain.

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    Re: How to explain gear changes to my girlfriend

    Lol it wasnt meant that way

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    Re: How to explain gear changes to my girlfriend

    Quote Originally Posted by CTSCHICK View Post
    Since she is asking you questions I have to assume she is thinking enough about it to care about learning so I am going to side with the g.f.

    She probably needs some one else to teach her that knows more about it and can explain her questions to her so that she can understand things.
    Are you volunteering?

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    Re: How to explain gear changes to my girlfriend

    Oh, come on, my chauvinist piglet, Forums friends! You act like teaching on of the opposite sex to drive stick shift is tantamount to a major break through in feminine accomplishment. Let me just say that I have taught three young ladies how to drive a car equipped with a manual transmission. The first accomplished the "daunting " task on a 1958 Jaguar XK 150 drop head coupe ((for those not familiar with four speed Moss boxes, they are equipped with a synchronized first gear (and, oh my, neither is reverse), only 2nd, 3rd and fourth are synchronized)). This famous gear box has given many a man difficulties over the years!

    The second mastered the five speed manual on our 1983 VW Scirocco (it had all synchronized gears) and enjoyed manual gear shift driving so much she chose to use the car for her 45 mile (each way) daily commute, in L.A. traffic, for over a year.

    The third was a bit slower on the uptake but nevertheless mastered a six speed Mercedes all synchro box (not one of the smoothest, easiest units) and while not really enjoying the effort could drive it passably in a pinch.

    All three caught to the fact and concept that the clutch was used to disconnect the engine from the transmission thus allowing a smooth movement of the gear lever from neutral to the desired gear. They also quickly caught on the idea that releasing the clutch (by easing pressure on same) the engine was again connected to the transmission and the drive wheels. The co-ordination to accomplish these mechanizations was also quickly accomplished as through trial and error they learned to add gas as the they released the clutch.

    I realize that for a few generations, now, the skilled use of a manual transmission has eluded many a male, and thus the teaching of this minor skill to females may prove difficult. Just remember your grandmother drove a stick shift car for decades before you were born and managed this feat while raising your relatives!

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    Re: How to explain gear changes to my girlfriend

    Tell her in woman speak. If she doesn't that fries the engine and trans, and NO SHOPPING FOR HER!

    Seriously though, the bike riding idea is good.
    77CDV and 77CDV like this.

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    Re: How to explain gear changes to my girlfriend

    Quote Originally Posted by Aztec ETC ECS View Post
    Are you volunteering?
    If they were closer I might or I know some one that could

  16. #15
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    Here's how I've explained/demonstrated it to my friends:

    After using the bicycle analogy to explain that an engine, like your legs, can only turn so fast, and doesn't have infinite power, I get in the car with them, put it in first, and accelerate. When first accelerating, I jab the throttle for a second a couple of times, and explain that "first gear is great for acceleration, buuuut..." then continue to accelerate to ~20-30 MPH. With the engine revving pretty quickly, I point out that "this is about as fast as you can go in first. The engine can't go any faster, it's spinning that fast for no reason, and that'll not only cause wear and damage, but you'd go through gas like crazy." Then I shift into second or third, and point out that the RPMs are in an acceptable range, and the car can maintain speed, and even still accelerate.

    Then I slow back down to ~5-10 MPH, shift to a high gear, and try to accelerate. Obviously, not much acceleration is going on, and the engine might even have trouble holding the current speed. I explain, "now the engine's turning too slowly to make enough power to accelerate".

    You don't have to demonstrate each gear individually, just show each end of the spectrum (high speeds in low gear, and low speeds in high gear), and show that shifting into the next gear as RPMs increase, allows speed to increase, but keeps the RPMs in about the same range (use whatever wording you see fit to explain). Usually they get the idea after that.

    Demonstrating that the clutch connects/disconnects the engine and transmission is easy. Just come to a stop in gear with the clutch down. Wheels stopped - engine turning. Then come to a stop again, in gear, clutch up. Obviously, it will stall. Wheels stopped - engine stopped.

    Once the basic concept is understood, you can give a simple explanation of power band. "The engine makes more power as RPM increases... to a point. Since it takes less power to maintain speed than it does to accelerate, you can keep the RPMs lower when cruising, and when you want to accelerate quicker, downshift so the RPMs are higher"

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