When I got out of college and got my first job (this was in August 2000 - very recently) the first thing I bought was my car - 2000 Mustang GT Convertible. I bought an manual because it’d seem like a waste to have a automatic, but there was one problem - I COULDN’T DRIVE STICK!
My only other driving experience was my mom’s Chevy Corsica. So I took my lumps - I stalled four times getting the car out of the dealers’ lot, in the meanwhile getting jeered at by all of the employees, except for the salesmen who knew better. I’m suprised I didn’t get pulled over because I must’ve looked like a young punk on a joy ride in a stolen vehicle.
After a week or so (and who knows how much damage to the car, thank goodness for warranty heh heh) I finally got the hang of not stalling out every time I have to go from a start at a light. I read the owners manual thouroughly to perhaps glean some points on how to drive this thing (i.e. when to shift). It’s recommendations were:
Shift to 2nd at 15 mph
Shift to 3rd at 25 mph
Shift to 4th at 35 mph
Shift to 5th at 45 mph
So I did, and only “pushed” the car (sometimes going as high at 4000 rpm!!!) when I was feeling cocky. Doing as the owners manual said, I ended up shifting at around 2,000 rpm. Why would the owner’s manual tell me to drive the wrong way? I didn’t understand what Max Torque at 4000 rpm meant or Max Horsepower at 5250 rpm meant, so I ignored it, but I was getting an average of 19.5 mpg combined, which was amazing since I assumed I’d get more like 15 mpg.
Then I played Gran Turismo again and noticed that the car on there shifted on redline when in automatic, and rarely did it ever fall under 4,000 rpm or so. So I thought, hmm, maybe I should try that…
Well, I did, and WOW it was like having a new car! Sure, my gas mileage hovers around 15 mpg now, but it’s SO worth it! I spend $900 a month on that friggin’ car (to put in perspective, I pay $385 a month on rent) so I think I should enjoy it!
Well, now it purrs, growls, and genuinely drives like I always thought it should. And I’m never going to read an owner’s manual again.