A mechanical linkage between the engine and the transmission. Depressing the clutch pedal completely stops all torque from being delivered from the engine to the transmission.
To start a stick shift, first press the clutch all the way to the floor board with your left foot. Ensure that the gear shifter is in the neutral position then turn the ignition with the key. If you are certain that the car is in neutral, you can remove your foot from the clutch. Ensure that the parking or emergency brake is not in use.
Next, position the gear shifter so that the transmission is in the first gear. Again, this should be the position furthest to the left and at the top half of the gear box.
Remove your right foot from the brake pedal. If you are on a flat surface, which is ideal for your first attempt, the vehicle should move very little.
Slowly begin to place less pressure on the clutch with your left foot. Depending on the vehicle, you may feel it begin to slowly roll forward. As you gently release the clutch, begin to press the accelerator with your right foot. This is a delicate motion. Do not accelerate your vehicle excessively. Remember that first gear is only designed for speeds up to about fifteen miles per hour.
At some point, you will have released the clutch completely and will only be pressing the accelerator with your right foot. You will be driving in first gear. Continue to build speed until you feel that you need to shift into second gear. Depending on your vehicle, you can use the sound of the motor, your RPM gauge, and/ or your speed to calculate when you need to change gears.
Take your right foot off of the accelerator while simultaneously activating the clutch with your left foot. Your car will continue to roll. Move the gear shifter into second gear. Release the clutch as you begin to apply the accelerator again. Repeat this process to continue to build speed.
When you park a stick shift, make sure that you leave the gear shifter in first position and apply the clutch until the ignition is turned off. With a little practice and some tips from experienced stick shift drivers, you will be an expert in no time.