Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Rent a manual stick shift car in US?

  1. Jan 17, 2014 #1

    Monique

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I'm curious whether it is at all possible to rent a stick shift car in the US, or are they all automatic? I just received my driving license and I'd like to practice, so a road trip is on my list. I need a vacation anyway :biggrin: The problem is that in Europe (the countries I checked) I need to have my license for two years before I can rent a car, there is no such restriction in the US. I don't want to drive an automatic though, any recommendations?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 17, 2014 #2
    Very very few companies offer manual. If they do it's likely a premium company like Hertz and you'll likely be renting a nice Mercedes or some convertible at $100+/day.
     
  4. Jan 17, 2014 #3

    nsaspook

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Buy a cheap beater as a practice car. Most rentals stopped because people who did rent one rented it to practice on. Too many of them were getting destroyed for just this purpose. If you're near Mexico you might be able to work out a deal with a cross-border rental company.
     
  5. Jan 17, 2014 #4

    turbo

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    You might want to hook up with some car dealers in your projected destination. Car dealers with extra inventory often rent them out, and automatics are not all of their inventory. When I taught my wife to drive, it was in a little manual stick-shift, and she steadfastly refused to drive an automatic. We got by.

    Good luck in your quest.
     
  6. Jan 17, 2014 #5

    Vanadium 50

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    This is not easy to do. Since people who can drive an automatic can also drive a stick, but the inverse isn't true, most rental companies only rent automatics. Another reason they don't like to do this is if they did, people would rent them to learn on them. One customer, one clutch.
     
  7. Jan 17, 2014 #6

    Monique

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    We have a platinum Sixt card so always get nice upgrades: rent a mini get a bwm. I checked Sixt in SF and no cars were available (they're not located there?), in LA there were only 9 models and all automatic.

    I hear that people just buy a car, but for a 2-3 week vacation that's too much hassle I think.

    Thanks, I'm thinking of visiting some national parks in Western US. Never been in SF and the Grand Canyon is definitely on my list, I'll have to see if there is enough time for a round trip. Then contacting a dealership would be an idea, otherwise it would be more convenient to pick up a car in one city and drop it off at another.

    I was afraid of that. I don't know what will happen when I start driving an automatic, I'll become a lazy driver :biggrin:
     
  8. Jan 17, 2014 #7

    Student100

    User Avatar
    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    Get a cheap motorcycle; it’s the best way to learn without destroying something expensive in my opinion. I taught my girlfriend on my old Goldwing and it worked out pretty well, but even a cheapo dirt bike in a secluded parking lot at night would work. She picked up stick in the truck in about two hours afterwards. It might sound unrelated, and to a degree it is, but the principles are the same. I would almost trust her on my Harley now. Almost.

    This is if it’s feasible, here it’s pretty easy to get permit/license for bikes. I don’t know the laws and what not in the UK or if you’d feel comfortable on two wheels. If you can get your license before your road trip there are bike rentals over here. To ummm... practice on. :wink:
     
  9. Jan 17, 2014 #8

    AlephZero

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Nothing exciting will happen when you "start" driving an automatic. But once you get confident enough to forget about controlling the car and concentrate on driving, you will probably floor the brake pedal with your left foot when nobody else expects it :redface:

    The problem must be poor (or non-existent) teaching, not the difficulty of the task. After all, everybody in the UK starts learning to drive on a stick-shift, and driving instructors don't need to replace the clutch every week. Balancing on two wheels while learning seems an unnecessary complication!

    Modern electronic engine management systems have made it much harder to stall than it used to be, so long as you are basically doing the right things (i.e. not hitting red line on the rev counter and then trying to do a racing start).

    Find a quiet level piece of tarmac, and start by learning how to get the car moving in first gear without touching the gas pedal at all. Once you can do that reliably, everything else is easy.
     
  10. Jan 17, 2014 #9

    nsaspook

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    You could rent a small U-haul truck with a stick. Plenty of room for camping gear. :wink:
     
  11. Jan 17, 2014 #10

    Monique

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Haha, that happened to a friend when driving the bridal car. Very funny, as long you're not driving at high speed.



    Yeah, driving a stick shift is not hard at all. My instructor took me to the highway before first explaining where the 4th and 5th gear are and when to shift, it wasn't a problem though. I stalled the car only twice, once during the intermediate exam at the start when driving out of the parking lot and the second time during the real exam at the first traffic light, just due to extra tension.

    It's annoying that these limitation exist that a license must be owned for at least 1-2 years before one can rent a car. I have nowhere to park a car, I depend on rentals. A friend owns a Maserati that we sometimes borrow, but I doubt I get to drive it :smile:
     
  12. Jan 17, 2014 #11

    Student100

    User Avatar
    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    Do you feel comfortable on hills? That was my biggest problem when learning. SF has a lot of them!

    Yeah, here in the US you have to go out of your way to get a stick shift, even when purchasing a vehicle. Hardly anyone learns to drive with them anymore.
     
  13. Jan 17, 2014 #12

    lisab

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Monique lives in The Netherlands. They don't have hills really, and nothing like San Francisco, where sidewalks are sometimes replaced by stairs. They have lots of negative hills though (areas below sea level :biggrin:).

    Monique, it will be tough renting a stick shift from one of the traditional rental companies. But I don't think driving an automatic will hurt your learning too much. You still use the same time/speed/distance judgement, and that's critical.
     
  14. Jan 17, 2014 #13
    Or learn to left foot brake, because the appendage in question gets bored with nothing else to do. You very quickly learn feel.
     
  15. Jan 17, 2014 #14

    Mark44

    Staff: Mentor

    I hear that "almost."
    Two of my motorcycles have foot clutches and you shift gears with your (left) hand. Except for the hand you use to shift, this is similar to how you shift a manual transmission on a car. The other two motorcycles are newer and have the more prevalent hand-clutch, foot shift combination.
     
  16. Jan 17, 2014 #15

    AlephZero

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Again, it's what you are used to. I've only driven an automatic a few times in my life, and I wouldn't have any idea how to start safely on a steep hill without reading the instructions first. On the other hand, driving a stick shift on single track roads with lots of blind corners, passing places about the same length as a car, and 20% or even 25% gradients - no problem!

    As somebody else said, Monique isn't in the UK, but the UK regulations for bikes are tougher than for cars. For example you have to complete an off-road training course and pass a test before you are allowed on the road at all, and after that there are restrictions on the engine size/power/max speed of bikes you can ride while learning - definitely no Goldwings or Harleys allowed.
     
  17. Jan 17, 2014 #16

    Student100

    User Avatar
    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    Yeah, I only mention it because it might be a bit harrowing if she finds a stick rental (or automatic for that matter) and gets frustrated with SF landscape if she's used to flatter pastures.


    That's my bad, I read Europe and subconsciously insert UK. :tongue:
     
  18. Jan 18, 2014 #17

    Borek

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    You have just won this years "most ridiculous quote" contest.
     
  19. Jan 18, 2014 #18

    Monique

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Amsterdam has hills too :biggrin:
    8468096147_88d20868f9_m.jpg

    But I'll stay away from those for a while and I probably won't choose to drive in San Francisco either, depending what traffic is like. I have a fear of heights and driving in the mountains is torture, so learning to navigate winding roads in an urban environment (where you won't drop into a ravine), does sound like a good way to get over the fear.

    I guess you're right, it will be good for developing driving judgement. And it will be fun to drive on vacation! I haven't seen any other countries where I could get that opportunity. Maybe it's the automatic car that makes them more confident in beginner drivers, although I at first thought it was the wide and straightforward roads and lack of cyclists that makes it easier to drive.
     
  20. Jan 18, 2014 #19

    D H

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    When are you going? If it's later this year, SF to Yosemite National Park is an easy half day drive, and Yosemite to Zion is an easy one day drive if the road out of Yosemite is open (the road is opened mid May in years with light snow to early June in years with lots of snow). From Zion, it's a short drive to the north rim of the Grand Canyon and to Bryce National Park. The road from Yosemite to Zion passes through Vegas, which may or may not grab you.
     
  21. Jan 18, 2014 #20
    It's the other way around isn't it. Stick drivers can jump in and handle an automatic or a stick with ease.
    Drivers taught on an automatic have a more difficult time transferring over to a stick.

    Learning how to manipulate the brake, clutch and accelerator without stalling or having a jerking takeoff is more difficult, than the simpler automatic.
    Especially, on inclines one has to hold the brake, let out the clutch and when it starts to grab quickly move the foot over to give the engine some power, or use the other option with the park brake and release when the clutch grabs and the engine is up to revs.

    With an automatic, since the engine will not stall, things become much more simpler.
    If Monique rents an automatic, she might never want to back to a stick, since gear shifting at the correct revs and all that jazz is taken care of "automatically".
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: Rent a manual stick shift car in US?
  1. Renting a Room (Replies: 5)

  2. Apartment Rent Cost (Replies: 10)

Loading...