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Who Says Women Can't Drive Stick?

Published May 14th 2008, 5:56pm by

Mark_elias_2009_corollaI love driving a manual transmission. My current vehicle, a 1998 Honda Accord, has racked up nearly 145,000 miles on the original clutch, and it’s still going strong. Almost every car I’ve ever owned was a manual, except for the beautiful classic 1968 Ford Mustang I owned in college. All said, I think I’ve put more than 500,000 miles on manual transmissions over my lifetime. And, I’ve done quite a bit of that in HEELS!

Most of my husband’s cars were also manuals. We were getting seated in a rental car on a family vacation one year, when we saw the shift lever on the console, and practically in unison said to each other “Oh my God, it’s an automatic. Do you know how to drive an automatic?” We both spent that entire vacation stomping our left foot onto the floor every time we started the car. (Manual transmission drivers will understand why that is funny. The rest of you might not get it.)

I’ve taught at least three other people how to drive a stickshift: One was my college roommate who would often borrow my car, another friend from college whose inability to learn to shift actually killed the clutch in my Chevy Monza, and one male colleague who bought the used car before he even knew how to shift it, and needed to learn just so he could drive it home. Ironically, my older son who is approaching permit age has told me several times he doesn’t want to learn to drive a stick; he says it seems like too much trouble. My answer to him remains “Oh yes, you WILL!”

Markeliasstickshift_2 I came across this post at Lipsticking.com, in which Mary Schmidt recounted her mishaps with a Mitsubishi Eclipse. For some reason, the vehicle had two clutches die very sudden deaths in the first 11,000 miles. She said, “The first one that died, the mechanic made a comment something like, 'Man, even if you had your foot on the clutch pedal at all times, you couldn't have killed it this fast.'

The second clutch that abruptly died (while I was driving on the PA turnpike. One minute I had a gear higher than second, the next I didn't.) I had the car towed to the original dealer from which I leased the car. His comment (complete with chuckle and eye-roll): ‘You women can't drive stick.’ ” He may have been a complete bozo, but I think her lifetime ban on Mitsubishi products might have been a little harsh.

So, Ladies, stand up and be counted! Do you drive a stick? Tell us about it here, or share your car stories in our automotive social network at www.carblabber.com.

Brandy_schaffels_s Brandy Schaffels
Editor, AskPatty.com

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