By on February 6, 2013

TTAC commentator sastexan writes:

Sajeev -

One of my best friends is shopping to replace his Mazdaspeed6 for something a little more utilitarian that can hold his bicycle and gear in the back (frequent triathlete). Here’s the issue – he wants to get another manual shift car, but his wife is pressing for an automatic because she has never learned to drive stick.

And he is worried that he will get tired of this new car and want to donate to her and get rid of her CX-7 (he is seriously anti-SUV), but feels that if he goes automatic, that day will come very quickly. I suggested he find a good driving school and send her (and maybe a friend) to learn how to properly handle a stick shift and have some fun doing it. That could get her excited about the potential and won’t create marital strife of him trying to teach her to drive manual.

First, does the Best and Brightest think this is a good plan, and second, any suggestions for driving schools?

Sajeev answers:

Luckily for your friend’s marriage, he cannot pawn his wife off to a driving school: most teach the basics of car control, not how to drive a stick. You gotta accelerate/steer/stop before you attend, so it’s time to take matters into his own hands. Because everyone has their “must haves” in anything, especially in a life partner. And if there’s marital strife from this…well, perhaps he’s selling the wrong bill of goods.

Like friction modifier to the limited slip axle that is a marriage, your friend must show his wifey the value in driving a manual transmission.  It’s more interesting to drive, for starters. But more importantly, it makes her exponentially cooler than every other woman around him. Am I lying?

What man doesn’t want a woman that’s fun, exciting and maybe a bit more competitive and challenging?

How could you, a gearhead of a man, not go out of your way to excite a woman like that in return?

When sold on this promise, how can she resist? She becomes exciting to her man! She’s an object of desire!  She’s hooked, so he can teach without fear of her losing interest.  Or patience. This is how love should work. If you don’t believe me, ask my special lady friend.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

 

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80 Comments on “Piston Slap: Honey, If You Do This For Me…...”


  • avatar
    mikeg216

    Bike rack on the back cargo box on top cargo management system for the hatch and put the seats down, problem solved.

  • avatar
    Toad

    Trying to get your wife to appreciate a manual transmission will probably be about as successful as getting her to appreciate video games, golf, or the Three Stooges. Manual transmissions comprise about 5% of new car sales for a very good reason: most people don’t like them, and there is a 95% chance your wife will be one of them.

    Unless your wife is a car “enthusiast” she and your car will be better off with a automatic. She will be safer (fewer distractions), the car will be more reliable (no burnt clutches), and your will probably get better fuel economy (most drivers don’t know how to shift for economy).

    My advice: in a two car household have each spouse pick their own car (with each spouse holding veto power for ridiculousness or price). Buy what you want and need and she can do the same. Everybody wins.

    • 0 avatar
      Aquineas

      I agree with Toad. Manuals are cool and fun, but they’re not for everyone. If she hasn’t learned how to drive a manual on the husband’s vehicle already, evidence would seem to suggest that she’s not motivated to do so. Besides, he won’t have to ever replace a Throwout Bearing by buying her an auto.

    • 0 avatar
      gessvt

      “She will be safer (fewer distractions)…”

      When one is using both hands to operate a vehicle, there’s no place for a cell phone, which is a definite distraction.

      • 0 avatar
        Toad

        If she already drives while using a cell phone a manual transmission won’t change that; she will just steer with her knees or leave the car in whatever gear she is in and keep talking.

        Many people operating a car see driving as the distraction that gets in the way of talking, texting, eating, etc. Adding a manual transmission makes the problem worse, not better.

    • 0 avatar
      Rhiadon

      I had tremendous luck with my wife in this area. We had a TRBL terrible Saturn ION and she really wanted a new car. The Civic Si Sedan (8th gen) had just come out and was available in Fiji Blue. I showed it to her and she LOVED it. Wanted one really bad. I told her she’d have to learn how to drive a stick if she wanted one. She was totally game for it. Taught her how to drive a stick in my Subaru Legacy and the rest is history. We own 3 cars, all are sticks. It’s great!

    • 0 avatar

      Manuals comprise far more than 5% of new car sales in many parts of the world, e.g. Europe. That implies to me that there’s no reason why North Americans can’t learn to like them. I think it’s somewhat of a chicken-and-egg scenario; it’s hard to find well-equipped manual transmission cars in North America, so few people buy them. Also, many who might buy them choose not to because they’re worried about saleability and trade-in value.

      I actually think manuals are safer than automatics. I am a more engaged driver because I have to be more aware of what people are doing around me.

      I definitely don’t buy the reliability issue. Automatic transmissions have a very finite life in most cars; at a certain point they need wholesale replacement. By comparison, a clutch replacement is pretty simple, and flaws like blown synchros can be worked around. Properly driven, a manual transmission will last the life of a car and not be the death of a car.

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        I don’t agree with the resale argument. If you are selling a car with a manual and it is in good shape, I think you can find a buyer pretty quickly.

        Manuals only represent about 5% of sales, but it isn’t because only 5% want them. I think lots of people settle on an automatic because they couldn’t find a well-equipped manual in a desirable color, or maybe because their spouse/significant other refuses to learn to drive one – If you aren’t in this situation, believe me, it is much more annoying and impractical than you would think.

        I think there is stronger desire for manuals than sales numbers indicated, creating strong demand on the used market for the remaining clean manuals after collision and careless owners have taken their toll on the few sold new in the first place.

      • 0 avatar

        I agree with BurgersandBeer. My best friend would prefer to have a manual, but he just hasn’t had the patience to look for something that’s so scarce on the market. My sister prefers stick, but when her kids were young and she needed a minivan or SUV, they didn’t offer them with sticks. (She now drives an FR-S with a stick.)

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        I disagree that more people want manuals but can’t get them.

        More manuals used to be sold in the US. Why did it change? It wasn’t because of conspiracy among car companies. Rather, they found that when given the option, the vast majority of buyers prefer an automatic. Expecting that trend to somehow change is foolish. We see cars do more for themselves–auto wipers/lights, self-parking, radar cruise control, emergency-braking, etc.–there is no way that trend is going to reverse.

        Other parts of the world are beginning to favor SUVs like the US does. My prediction is that the rest of the world will ‘catch up’ to the US on automatics. And the trend will accelerate because there isn’t equal two-way movement between the groups–as there are more automatics, there will be also be more people who can’t/won’t drive manuals, which then drive the number of automatics up even more.

        People don’t drive manuals because they don’t want/have to. Clearly that applies to her. It is folly to expect peoples wants will change just because it’s what you want.

        Going back to the Sajeev’s advice: “your friend must show his wifey the value in driving a manual transmission. … it makes her exponentially cooler than every other woman around him. … What man doesn’t want a woman that’s fun, exciting and maybe a bit more competitive and challenging?”
        - That is some terrible advice! What he would be telling his wife that she is not fun or exciting. He would be saying that he would rather be with a different woman who has those qualities.

        But the advice also fails because she can use the exact same argument against him: He should provide for her wants, and doing so would mean he is a caring, compassionate, and loving man, and what woman doesn’t want to be with a man like that? The difference is that he can’t win with his argument, and it makes no difference (in her mind) whether she can win with hers, because that’s just how arguments are with women.

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        As far as more people wanting manuals than can get them, I was referring primarily to the used market. I think it is still a small factor on a new lot, where someone needs a car quick and can’t wait for a special order, or someone who places a priority on equipment levels and the manual is only available in base trims. That said, if a new car buyer is determined to get a manual, they have options.

        It’s harder with the used market, since the few manuals sold in the first place have suffered attrition from accidents and poor maintenance. Hopefully this clears up the availability part of my earlier post.

        As far as expected people’s wants to change to meet my wants, I’m not sure if that was directed at me, but it’s not what I said (though I guess it could be inferred from a lack of detail). I don’t expect her to suddenly love driving a manual and trade in her daily driver for one; however, it would be much more convenient for both of us if she knew how to operate it though. What if we take my car skiing and I injure myself? The just in case situations. Also, little things like being able to drive my car if her car needs work can add up.

        That said, I can see how if kids are in the picture, cars are swapped so often there is really no such thing as “his and hers” anymore. In that case, you would have to fold and drive an automatic until you can add a toy car.

        I agree that Sajeev’s advice was pretty bad and could backfire big time. Credit for trying though – it’s a tough sell and you definitely have to think outside the box to make it happen. Pragmatism alone certainly isn’t going to cut it.

    • 0 avatar
      dolorean

      There are few things sexier than a woman with great legs in a skirt, rowing through the gears of a Mustang or Camaro (is that an Audi in the picture?) as she races towards the next stoplight. Dated a beautiful female Polizei in Germany who had this fantastic ability. Absolute hotness.

  • avatar
    espressoBMW

    I agree with Sajeev’s approach but the results may not as promised. I taught my wife how to drive a stick 27 years ago and she is a competent gear changer. However she sees no sense in choosing to drive a manual transmission and refuses to do so.

    So for many years we bought and I drove automatics except for the occasional beater that I was able to buy for short commutes to work. There were also the cars we owned when we lived in Europe where automatics were practically non-existent and my wife very rarely drove.
    Now we are at the point where we have his & her cars. I don’t drive hers and she doesn’t drive mine. I was finally able to buy, unconditionally, that manual 3-series that I’ve wanted.

    My point is: Some people (seems mostly women) just don’t get it. IMO, using a manual transmission provides a human-to-machine connection that not everyone understands or desires. I recently tried to explain this very same thing to my mother-in-law recently when she asked why I would choose a car with a MT. She also didn’t get it even though she has owned MT Miatas for many years. Maybe it’s genetic. But one thing’s for sure, if a woman doesn’t want to drive a stick, she’s not going to drive one.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      My wife is the same as yours in that respect. When forced to, can drive a manual transmission fine, but will avoid it wherever possible. On the track she has a lot of fun with it, but detests it for normal driving.

      I don’t feel the need to push a manual transmission car on her because I have the luxury of several other weekend vehicles that can satisfy that need for gear bangin’, so the dailies are automatics.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      It isn’t a case of not “getging it” as much as it’s just of no value to them. Feeling “connected” doesn’t make them happy any more than a plate full of foods in a variety of pretty colors with coordinated napkins & silverware makes the meal taste better & be more enjoyable to you (for example).

      Everyone has their own things that they enjoy & which make them happy. Being ‘one with the car’ honestly isn’t that high on most people’s lists.

      • 0 avatar
        MrWhopee

        I too love to shift it myself in a manual-transmission cars, but now all of my cars are automatics, because of the traffic jams. It really depends on where you drive. My friend who also perfectly capable of shifting a manual, bought an automatics when he moves to L.A. If his wife’s going to find that driving a manual transmission is a chore, even if she’s perfectly capable of operating it, then a manual isn’t going to work with her, period.

  • avatar
    LeeK

    Jack Baruth frequently points out that roughly half the world’s population of manual transmission drivers are women. It’s only in the US where this has become a male/female divide, with the associated sexual stereotyping. Women are extremely capable of learning, and it’s no big deal.

    The poster’s wife can be taught to drive with a manual transmission in a couple of afternoons in a deserted parking lot. But, and I say this as a manual transmission vehicle owner of over thirty years, that the future is not looking too good for those that insist on rowing their own. The new 8 and even 9 speed automatics, CVTs, and dual-clutch automated units are becoming so good and have closed and even surpassed the gap of fuel economy that there will be almost no reason to own a manual, other than a few die-hard enthusiasts. The market will shift and finding a manual transmission will be like trying to find a car with roll-down windows.

    This topic always brings out the curmudgeons, but automatic transmissions are here to stay forever.

    • 0 avatar
      Eggshen2013

      Fuel economy was never a reason to buy a manual transmission for me.

      FUN was and remains the number 1 reason.

      • 0 avatar
        DougDuffy

        +1 and something else important in a manual… is a clutch. It never seems to get mentioned in manual-vs-auto discussions, but I use the clutch for fun driving, and not just to change gears. Admittedly the habit appeared out of nowhere when I got used to riding dirt bikes.. but for example, you want to throw a 4wd-turbo sideways in the wet leaving a junction (private land obviously), clutch, boost, pop-clutch, sideways.. flappy paddles will be confused with that request. In a sports car in tight stuff, you gain a lot of control over intended and un-intended wheelspin by modulating the clutch.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      At a 95% automatic take rate in the US, we don’t see a divide between men & women, either. Nearly eveyone, men and women alike, prefers ATs.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        So true, but that’s a hard sell in this forum, as Eggshen2013 will tell you. I’m old enough to remember when a manual was called a standard transmission, and automatics were an expensive option. I also remember manual chokes. They’re completely gone now, and I don’t miss them, any more than my dad missed the spark control on the steering wheel of his Model T. They helped make you “one with the machine” but these days, most people want a less intimate relationship.

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        Why is it that certain automatic drivers resort to the “everyone else does it, so automatics are better” argument? It isn’t about one being better than the other, they are simply different. There is an admittedly small section of the population that simply finds manuals fun – I have no idea why that annoys people.

        I guess the people that crusade against automatics and insist on derisive terms like “slushbox” and “autotragic” haven’t done the more reasonable manual drivers any favors. It’s made many automatic drivers very defensive of their choice.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    “And he is worried that he will get tired of this new car and want to donate to her and get rid of her CX-7 (he is seriously anti-SUV)…”

    So this guy wants to be able to choose the wife’s car (while prioritizing his own whims for buying new cars for the household) **and** the type of transmission with which it is equipped? Sounds a wee bit…controlling.

    I don’t care for SUV’s myself, but many of those women who prefer them like them for their ride height, which provides the driver with some illusion of safety. That’s a hard preference to shake, and unless he wants to sleep on the sofa, he may just need to get over it.

    I actually had a girlfriend who I converted to the Temple of the Stick. But we were both young, and she didn’t need much converting. Learning how to drive a manual is relatively easy; it’s the lack of motivation to learn and then drive it regularly that is usually the problem.

  • avatar
    hubcap

    Let’s try to shed a bit more light on this. Does his wife want to keep the CX-7? You mention passing the new car on to her and getting rid of her Mazda but is that what she wants?

    If she’s perfectly fine driving the Mazda let her.

    I don’t know the dynamics of this marriage but with each of them having their own car and not having to share, I’d say buy what you want. If his wife doesn’t want to learn how to drive a manual no amount of cajoling will convince her otherwise and on the off chance that she gives in and learns, against her better judgment, she’ll remind him frequently of how irritating shifting that d*#n car is.

    I’m also wondering what car’s he’s looking at. Does something like a ST/GTI/WRX have enough room in the hatch for a bike or would you need something a little bigger?

    Why not do what mikeg216 suggested and get a rack?

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      “I’m also wondering what car’s he’s looking at. Does something like a ST/GTI/WRX have enough room in the hatch for a bike or would you need something a little bigger?”

      I’ve been able to fit my road bike (with the wheels off in it’s case) in spaces as small as an R53 Cooper S (with the back seat down), a Toyota Echo, and a Gen II Toyota Prius.

      “Why not do what mikeg216 suggested and get a rack?”

      While I’m not sure of the poster’s reasons, I can tell you that road bikes for competition are usually not cheap. I typically transport my own inside the car using either a hard padded or soft case. It keeps everything clean and protected after you’ve spent time tuning the bike. I also have some expensive cars that I wouldn’t want to risk damaging by mounting a bike and rack. So, the case protects the cars as well.

      Security is obviously better since the bike is out of sight and setup time for me is just as fast as if it was rack mounted. When it comes time go somewhere, I keep the bike stored in the case and can simply throw it in the back of one of my cars and I’m good to go. I don’t have to spend time mounting the rack and locking the bike into the rack.

      One caveat is that I have an average size bike frame. Vehicle choices could be a bit limited for someone with a larger frame.

  • avatar

    My wife had The Barefoot Contessa on over the weekend, they show her driving a Mini in traveling scenes and yes, it’s a stick!

    2 months after we were married, 31 years ago, we traded her dogwalking (but in retrospect shoulda put away to restore later) ’74 “Spirit of America” Chevy Nova for a ’75 V8 4-speed Monza. She had the weekend to learn it before work on Monday and her commute included a couple hilly intersections.

    She’d only driven stick a few times before but she mastered – and grew to love – the Monza.

    In fact, other than a couple spare cars I owned, all our vehicles were stick shift for the first 11 years of our marriage.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    My wife loves stick shift and taught ME how to drive stick. However this “love” comes from her having a father who insisted that ALL his girls learn to drive stick and ensured that their first car (for all three of them) would be a beat to death 1983 Honda Civic hatch.

    She currently drives a stick shift Vibe, hates the fact that you can only get stick in most new vehicles if you buy the no options model or buy the high performance specialty edition. But her true hatered is the “manumatic” floppy switches. She thinks that it is “inauthentic” and if you’re gonna have a manual, have a freaking manual.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      Amen! My wife insists on all her cars being stick, she teases me for getting a DSG on the GTI. And shes hot too. I am so lucky… :)

    • 0 avatar
      missinginvlissingen

      I am also lucky enough to have married a woman who came equipped with a manual ’91 Corolla and the skills to drive it well. When baby #1 arrived, we added an automatic Volvo to the fleet because, you know, SAFETY. Six years later we both got bored of the Volvo and its creative breakdowns, and SHE was the one who suggested a manual Outback wagon to replace it.

      Yes, I’m a lucky stickshift man.

  • avatar
    Scott_314

    He can take the wife’s CX-7 when he needs the space and rent her a car for $30.

    Save thousands of dollars while they decide, plus they’ll get to test-drive a bunch of new cars. Win-win. Also, get a Swagman hitch-mounted bike-rack for $100-150, they are the easiest to live with.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    Sounds like a silly plan just because he is anti-SUV. He already has a perfect utility vehicle for biking and… triatheling? An SUV that his wife drives and apparently enjoys. And he has one of the best sports sedans ever made, it is practical, fast, fun to drive, and rare enough that it will always be somewhat valuable if he takes care of it. And a bike rack can bridge the gap, not to mention I bet his bike fits in back with the seats folded down.

    But if he simply MUST get a new car, then I recommend the Subaru Crosstrek or the WRX, depending on if he wants more utility or more performance, and let his wife choose her own car when she wants one.

  • avatar
    olddavid

    The interpersonal marital dynamics of each co-habitation is always unique. Foisting your gearhead instincts on the woman you (supposedly) love is almost always a recipe for disaster. The downstream benefits to acceding to her wishes will pay dividends far in excess of the few dollars you will forego in the near term. Take this grain of advice from a 40 year veteran of this institution. When you’re 60, you’ll be glad you let her “win” on this one. In the days of the spouse demo program, she went to the marshaling yard – and with Lincoln, Mercury, Thunderbird, Merkur, Mustang, etc., etc., what did she choose to drive? A four-door strippy Escort. Just goes to show, we all have our tastes, however bizarre it may seem to us. Let her have her way. she’ll reward you for years.

  • avatar
    vvk

    My wife says if I ever buy a car with automatic transmission, she will divorce me. I completely agree that choosing to drive an automatic is totally grounds for divorce.

    Everyone makes choices. Choose your spouse wisely.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      And Prius drivers get accused of being smug?!

      My wife and I have owned 6 vehicles combined. 4 stick shifts (2 Imprezas, 1 GTI, 1 MINI) and 2 automatics (Prius v, 4Runner). I simply don’t see the point of a stick shift in A to B or utility vehicles. My fun cars, yep, give me a stick shift. I love the MINI to death and the 6MT, LSD combo plays a nice part in it being a blast to drive. I enjoy driving my dad’s 6MT Tacoma, so it would probably be decent in the 4Runner, but the 5AT does an admirable job… certainly not grounds for divorce. The Prius is as A to B as they come and a stick shift wouldn’t make it a fun car because it still has a torsion beam rear suspension, low rolling resistance tires, and a soft suspension. It is an amazing baby hauler, though.

      I’m trying to get my wife to give up the MINI for a 6MT FR-S but the little thing is just too fun and too charming to let go at the moment. If it starts giving us problems, that might serve as the catalyst to get my RWD sports car.

      • 0 avatar
        vvk

        I myself really like FWD Buicks (and to a lesser extent their GM clones) because they are so comfortable and their automatics are so good. But my darling is really into Mercedes/BMW RWD thing, so no Buick for me, ever.

        I love driving my in-laws’ LeSabre. It really drives like an electric car. The 3800 is a torque monster and the gearbox behaves as if it is not there at all. I cannot tell it has any gears. The only thing I really miss when I drive it is engine braking. So I downshift it, which is a little awkward.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        Not to mention tough on the transmission, worse for fuel economy, etc. If you like smooth autos in Buicks, why not just enjoy the smooth cruising?

        I dislike the engine braking that I get with the DSG when I am just driving in traffic, I wish they could tune it so that it only happens in manual or sport mode. And in our manual MR2 I quit engine braking when I realized that clutches cost a lot more than brake pads. The Honda CRV auto is over 200k miles now so I baby that transmission as much as possible.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    This doesn’t sound like a happy prescription. The guy in question is obsessing over what car he will get to avoid his wife taking it and getting rid of her hated SUV because he’s against SUVs . . . etc. Or is it that he’s going to pawn his car off on her so that she will dump the SUV . . . I forget.

    Really? The view in my crystal ball is not looking good.

    In the 39th year of my marriage to the same woman (who, BTW, learned to drive stick and still does, when a suitable vehicle is available so equipped, which is not often these days), I would strongly suggest that our guy let his wife have the car she wants (within financial reason) and that he have the car he wants (within financial reason).

    I have personally used both roof-mounted and rear-mounted bike racks, and they are all a pain to use, expose your bike to the elements and make it subject to being stolen if you’re not around to watch over it. The hard case idea sounds like a good one. Put the bike in a case and toss the case in the car. Everything stays clean and dry.

  • avatar
    jjster6

    Teach her drive a stick. I’ve taught several people including my wife. She was very reluctant at first. After they learned they all thanked me for teaching them. I don’t think anybody should get a driver’s license without being able to drive stick. But that’s just me.

    • 0 avatar
      VelocityRed3

      JJ I feel the same way, so that makes two of us :D

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Add me to the list of people that think you should be required to learn to operator a manual transmission car… but it will never happen. My mother drove manuals so that’s how learned. She had a VW Rabbit (cool) then a Dodge Omni (yuk).

      I taught my wife (at the time my High School girlfriend) to drive stick using my ’85 Civic S1500 hatch. When she realized you can make the car go “much quicker” (well as quick as 97HP goes) by reving that great little Honda engine up to redline she was hooked. She has driven stick ever since and laughs at co-workers who can’t handle a 5 or 6 speed. She gets alot of respect especially from other men because she can actually drive a proper car.

      However my wife is not normal – she watches Top Gear (UK) and spent her youth in the pits of those legendary upstate NY dirt tracks. Two of her favorite movies are: Gone in 60 Seconds and the Italian Job. She drove my 350Z for about 2 blocks before exclaiming: “We have got to get this car!”. So yeah I’m lucky.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        She sounds great, my wife is the same way, at her job all the guys are so impressed that she can drive a manual and prefers it. Some of them have asked her to teach them, and she makes fun of them for not being able to. I love it… LOL

  • avatar
    cargogh

    When I think back over the favorite women of my life, all 6 enjoyed driving a stick. As far as I know, all are currently driving automatics.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    I can teach her to drive a manual in a 1/2 hour. Learning through ‘baby steps’ takes way too long. And wrong. The 1st lesson should be on a steep hill (going up) where YOU can work the parking brake and keep it from rolling back (from the passenger seat) for the 1st few starts/stops. Hills are the toughest and scariest part of driving a stick and once mastered,( probably in 20 minutes) the rest is cake.

    I drove a little, I forgot what it was, but when I tried to coast backwards down a steep driveway, it wouldn’t go. I eased up on brakes and nothing. For a second, it just sat there completely static. Then it let go all at once. I though ‘WTFs’, then it hit me. Oooooh… OK.

  • avatar
    wstarvingteacher

    My wife can drive a stick as well as I. She picked out our last car (a stick), then her knee went bad. I would never have picked the Nissan Cube we now own but am the duty driver. Much prefer the looks of the scion. It was her choice as I have my truck. I got used to the car and sure intend to keep the wife. Toad (and some others) are certainly right.

    Need I point out that the cube, scion, and/or soul would hold his bike and be fun to drive. Some of us are really hung up on what whim we give out money to. Obsessing over your vehicle type/looks may be a sign of inadequacy in other areas. I know this is a car site but just saying……

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    When I was car shopping, I was insistent on a manual transmission. this inevitably rankled dealers that didn’t have one in stock. The most commonly used argument was “what if your wife/girlfriend/significant other” can’t drive stick? My response was always that someone who couldn’t drive stick had no business driving my car. I’m spending my $, I’m the one that’s driving it 99% of the time, so I get what I want. then again, I’m single so this was all hypothetical. call me crazy but that would be a non negotiable discussed prior to ever entering a comitted joint relationship. I get the final say over the vehicles that I own, buy, sell, and drive.

    • 0 avatar

      They want you to buy what’s in stock. If they happened to have a surplus of sticks in stock, and you wanted an automatic, the dealer would probably try to talk you into a stick.

      I’ve just started the preliminary investigations into my next car, and the dealers I’ve talked to so far are very open-minded about me driving a manual. They already realize I’m probably going to do a custom order so they really don’t care what I want, as long as I buy.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    This lady I knew from HS has never been in an accident and now pushing 40 yo. It could be because she’s never owned an automatic or perhaps that her 1st car was a Bug with bad brakes. She would down shift, while pumping up the brakes and counter steering the left or right pull from the front drums. I’d watch in complete amazement from the passenger seat. I was pretty fearless, but not enough to drive that thing!

  • avatar
    dolorean

    Couple of reasons to learn to drive stick:

    1. Try renting a car in Europe or Asia with an Automatic. If you find one, it will be expensive. I know that most ‘Muricans don’t have passports so this may be a non sequitor.

    2. Greatest anti-theft device in the states. Seems most car thieves do not know how to drive a manual.

    3. Said it before, few things are sexier for a car guy than a woman in a skirt banging through the gears with authority. Its like free porn.

    4. Pop-the-clutch push starting is an option if your battery decides to poop the bed on you. I’ve heard of flappy paddle automatics that can do this, but never seen one.

    5. Lonely, bendy road early on a cool Spring Saturday morning. Road is slightly damp, ambient air temp hovering around 62, and sun is brilliant at your back, and no one is on the road for the next five miles. For this, you just gotta have a manual.

    6. Public service announcement: http://godsavethemanuals.com/. Join the crusade.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      @dolorean “2. Greatest anti-theft device in the states. Seems most car thieves do not know how to drive a manual.”

      Check this out!:
      http://www.usatoday.com/story/driveon/2013/01/29/corvette-carjacking-stick-shift/1875845/

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        @mcs. Got your angry, gonna-hurt-you face? Check.

        Buddy packin’ heat with a gat? Check.

        Dude sitting alone in his Corvette at a stoplight? Check.

        “An attempted carjacking in Florida speaks to the increasingly lost art of driving cars with a manual transmission: the would-be thieves couldn’t figure out how to steal a Chevrolet Corvette….One of the thieves, pointing the gun at the driver, demanded to know how the car operates. They couldn’t start it, and Bean (driver) said he had to tell them repeatedly to push in the clutch. They still couldn’t figure out how to drive it.”

        Priceless.

  • avatar
    cargogh

    7. During all systems haywire out to kill you wide-open won’t shut off no-brakes situations, just depress the clutch and let ‘er blow.

    • 0 avatar
      dolorean

      Good point cargogh.

      8. By and large, replacement of a clutch, tremendously cheaper than the replacement of a automatic and don’t even get me started on how much flappy paddle tranny replacement would run you.

      9. For car makers such as HyunKia and some others, you can get most of their model line with manual or auto. In this scenario, go for the manual, save the $1200 and get the Sat Nav and leather instead.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      you can do the same with an AT

  • avatar
    ICARFAN

    Somehow I got lucky enough to marry a wife who would only own a manual car and also when we drive by a kit car that looks like a pre-WW2 Alfa for sale thinks we should stop and look at it.

  • avatar
    tedward

    I guess I’m lucky. My wife only drives stick, and, if anything, is even more contemptuous of automatic cars than I am. She’s brutal on anyone who suggests a car that isn’t a manual, from family members to salesmen.

    Tell him to teach her himself, then go get the stick wagon he really wants. A Volvo V70 R, a Sportwagen tdi, the Saab 9-5 or 3, maybe even a 3-series or A4 wagon. If he’s into cars, and has those requirements, there’s really no reason not to do the right thing here. Put it to him as a moral imperative.

  • avatar
    sastexan

    OP here. Sajeev has a decent backlog – a transaction took place about 6 months ago – the Speed6 had a few critical issues start to go wrong all at once out of warranty, so he traded it in on a Golf TDI with the DSG then traded her CX-7 for an RDX (his wife’s choice).

    Marital bliss continues. He loves the TDI (lots of distance driving) and she loves the RDX and can drive the TDI if she wants to.

    • 0 avatar
      sastexan

      In my house, my wife can drive stick – she knew how to when we met, just little practice – and she likes doing it occasionally, but most cars (namely my old car) she had to sit too close to the steering wheel to feel comfortable – regardless of the third pedal. But generally she prefers automatics, as most Americans do.

      At least I am able to keep a manual shift car in our household.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      haha… 6 months ago huh. Good choice though, IMO the DSG is the best compromise between a real manual and an auto, though others here will disagree strongly! And I often wish I had gotten the TDI instead of the GTI, the gobs of torque make it feel almost as fast as a GTI, especially at legal speeds, it can get nearly double the fuel economy, and has the same suspension/wheels/seats as the 06-07 GTIs. No plaid though, but some may consider that a blessing.

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        No way, the plaid sold me on the MKV GTI. The seats were hands down my favorite part of the car. I had 58k miles of plaid goodness.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        Oh I love the plaid too, I remember fondly the plaid from the early VWs (my friend had a GTI, I had a Scirocco), and I insisted on finding a GTI without leather as I wanted the plaid seats. But it seems to be a love it or hate it thing… whenever discussion about the GTI comes up, it ends up around 50/50.

  • avatar
    skor

    It’s almost impossible to teach an adult how to drive stick. Case in point: My father. My parents grew up in post-war Eastern Europe. My father was 30 years old when he came to the USA, and had never been behind the wheel of car. His fist car was a Ford Falcon with two speed auto.

    When I was 16, a friend owned a rusted out 72 Pinto with a 4 speed. We referred to the Pinto as the “Flintstone car” because of the big rust holes in the floor boards. I learned to drive stick on that old Pinto. After I graduated college, I bought a car with a manual trans and attempted to teach my father how to drive a manual……it was hopeless.

    My advise: Your wife….and you…..will be a lot happier if you forget about forcing a manual gear box on her.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      You have to want to learn. If she can text and drive, she can drive a stick.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      I’m over 40 and yesterday, I learned how to weld. My mom learned to drive a car at 30 yo for the very first time! It was with an automatic, but still. She learned to drive a stick sometime after. It’s not true what they say about old dogs either..

    • 0 avatar
      cargogh

      Mom was 45 in ’81 when Dad replaced her 1980 Cordoba with a new Plymouth Horizon. It was a beige Miser model with a high geared 4 speed. She could not have cared less that it could be flogged and still get nearly 50 mpg. It only went through one clutch in two years with her learning to drive a stick and my sister getting her license in it. Mom drove my ’78 Fiesta a couple of times, which was fun to watch, but hasn’t driven a manual in the last 30 years. She might have been the first person to exclaim, “Kill it with fire!” Later, she loved the ’84 Reliant (automatic, of course).

  • avatar
    roadscholar

    Women who love to drive sticks are hot.

  • avatar
    Slow_Joe_Crow

    The first thing he has to do is quit triathlons and focus on bicycle racing.
    Then just get a good roof rack. I can take 4 people, 3 bikes and all their gear to a cyclocross race with a Saturn SL2 and a roof rack. Selling his wetsuit and funny bike to another tridork should cover the cost of the rack and a couple of jerseys with sleeves.

  • avatar
    timlange

    My wife likes our manual transmission Solstice and knows what the numbers on the boost gauge mean. But getting the comments “I’ve gotten boost over 21, how have you done so far?” Is a bit much sometimes…

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    In the words of C-3PO, “Let the Wookie Win”. It is better not to upset the wife. Just get her an automatic.

  • avatar
    DucRam

    I learned to drive with a manual, and have only owned one automatic. That automatic was the one car I regret owning, and it is also the one I owned the shortest time.

    The ability, or desire/willingness to learn, how to drive a manual was a requirement in my dating life. Happily married to a manual driver and we plan on teaching our daughter the same when she reaches driving age.

    This will have a plus side with the daughter. I seriously doubt any of her friends will try to borrow her car in the future.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    Tried teaching the wife to drive stick. Just not interested. And as much as I’d like to have my car with a stick and hers with autobox, it just isn’t practical with twins who require a car seat and my job with an on-call schedule.

    My “fun” car will be a stick and maybe she will change her mind then. But me, I love manuals for the control offered and the fun factor.

  • avatar
    JaySeis

    This so reminds me of my ’99 SD F250 six speed stick! turbo diesel. 444 inches channeled through gear rowing to strike fear into the hearts of men and women. Taught my teenage step-daughter to drive it and my son-in-law still raves about that!

  • avatar
    AnsonYu

    I want to learn manual but it’s hard to find a decent inexpensive and safe manual car in Australia.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    He should buy the vehicle he wants. Then, when his wife wants a new vehicle, she should buy what she wants.


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