How to Slow and Stop a Manual Properly?

A manual transmission is fun when you are going somewhere. But, what happens when you have to slow the car down? Or, have to make a stop?

It is easier with an automatic. Just step on the brake and the car will slow down. The transmission will catch up to the engine as the brakes force the slowdown of the car. When stop is quicker, the pressure is increased on the transmission to bring you down to first gear without skipping the sequence.

Since the basic principle of driving a manual transmission is control, the power to slow down the car is all on you.

There are a couple ways of doing it. It will depend on the type of stop, however. One could simply ease off the accelerator, slowly apply the brakes, put the shifter into neutral and coast until you stop. This is not recommended for all situations. It might be fine when driving in a low speed, but once you committed the shifter to neutral, you lost the ability to accelerate to avoid any last second problem arises from the traffic around you. Your response time to maneuver will increase if you have to re-shift to a positive gear and apply gas to avoid trouble.

The proper way to slow down your manual transmission-equipped car is to downshift. When you take your right foot off the brake, you press the clutch with your left foot, shift down a gear. You will have to touch the accelerator pedal to do some rev matching before releasing the clutch. Now, it’s back on the brake to repeat the process until you reach at least third gear. The car should be slowing down and you should slowly get on the brakes to shift down to neutral and stop the car.

When slowing down from a highway speed, a little more work is needed. It will require you to watch the speedometer and tachometer to measure your downshifts. You might want to wait until you get to 35-40MPH before downshifting from sixth to fourth to third – using the brake, clutch and accelerator pedals properly. Do be careful if you slip into a much lower gear on the downshift. You might end up to over revving the engine, which could cause problems down the road.

However, if you want to have a little fun, work the accelerator a bit on downshifts. That way, you can enjoy the wonderful noise your Volkswagen makes that is music to anyone’s ears – even our TDIs!

Downshifting is an art onto itself. Practice it a few times. Besides, practice makes perfect.