Be cautious of companies offering cheap parking lot experiences! You won't learn all the necessary skills to be safe on the open road from a just a parking lot. We encourage you to know how to spot red flags, why these lessons are so cheap, and how your experience with us is completely different. Learn more here.
We're the Bay Area's preferred choice for professional quality stick shift lessons. If you want to learn how to safely and properly drive a manual transmission vehicle, then you've come to the right place. Whether it's your first time or it's been a while and you want to work off the rust, we provide a variety of lessons tailored towards your goals.
Your day will start off in a Mini Cooper S, where you'll learn the fundamentals of stick shift driving including conceptual topics, first gear, reverse gear, parking, upshifting and downshifting, proper hill control, as well as more adventurous real-world practice on city streets and highways. Regardless of the lesson you choose, you'll walk away with practical knowledge that you'll be able to apply right away.
For your convenience, we offer stick shift lessons in the following cities throughout the Bay Area:
Meet the latest Mini Coopers that joined our fleet:
MINI TwinPower Turbo engine
207 lb-ft torque
6-speed manual transmission
Front wheel drive
Tons of fun...
Our experience is rated 5 Stars on Google
I was really impressed by this service. I booked a full start to finish manual driving lesson and Sarah was my instructor. I felt comfortable, at ease and in good hands, professionally. Sarah was patient and walked me through the instructions and reasons behind some of the concepts and pointers, but she was also laid back and when I was in the driver's seat let me do my thing. I felt she had a calming presence and gave me good tips and reminders. I knew a bit about shifting before the lesson, but I am way more confident now and I think we even went over the three hours to zip around in the hills a bit. Great value, excellent quality, clean and reliable car, superb instructor. If you're looking to learn how to drive a manual car or even just brush up your skills, book Shift Bay Area! You won't regret it.
I was lucky enough to get Dennis, who was a flawless teacher. Very thorough, efficient, clear, and helpful. After 2 hours I felt extremely comfortable with the clutch and all scenarios in common driving (hill starts, downshifting, etc). Was tons of fun!
Highly highly recommended. Everything about the experience was 5-stars. I had some email questions when I was signing up and the team responded to me immediately. Registration email had very clear instructions on where to meet and how to prepare. On the day of the lesson, Joseph was super professional. His instructions were clear, came at the right time when I was practicing, and delivered calmly. I was very nervous at first, but the way the lesson was structured allowed me to layer my skills on top of each other. I was surprised at how natural it felt when I drove on the open road. Best of all I had a lot of fun! Thanks so much to the Shift Bay Area team!
Otto was an excellent instructor! He was very clear about the lesson goals, possible options, and expectations at the beginning. I had a great time, learned a lot, and feel confident in my ability to transfer this skill to other cars.
Corey was my instructor, and he was great! Super clear with his instructions, and I feel I now have the tools I need to get behind the wheel in a manual car. I'll be booking another 1hr session to practice what I learned. Highly recommend!
A NOTE ABOUT SAFETY
Did you know some companies that offer stick shift lessons in the Bay Area don't provide a professional experience?
While their prices may seem tempting, their instructors are everyday folks like Uber and Lyft drivers who offer lessons for extra cash using their personal cars or even require that you provide your own. They’re classified as contractors, and this carries personal and financial risks that you should be aware of before considering them. Read an in depth review by one of our customers who initially took a lesson with one of these other companies.
There is no guarantee that you’ll receive a proper, structured lesson. Parking lots are red flags!
Each instructor conducts the lesson their own way and there may not be a structured lesson plan to follow. Be especially careful when the entire lesson is taught in a parking lot, since you can't learn all the skills necessary to safely drive a manual car from just a parking lot. We've had numerous customers who have taken lessons with these companies, didn't learn much, and came to us for a proper lesson. The incorrect techniques that they were initially taught at these other companies shocked us!
You’re fully liable in case of an accident.
There's a reason why these other companies require you to have your own insurance and/or use your own car. Their insurance won't cover an accident or a collision with others; therefore, they require you to provide your own insurance so that you're financially on the hook, even if the accident is not your fault.
These companies don't have maintenance requirements for the vehicle used during the lesson.
These companies don't inspect their instructor's vehicle and cannot guarantee the vehicle used for the lesson is safe. Furthermore, the contractor does not have to follow any sort of maintenance schedule that ensures their vehicle can provide a safe learning environment. We've heard stories of customers learning for 2 to 3 hours in a car that was smoked in and barely drivable.
The company saves money while you sacrifice quality.
When a company classifies their instructors as independent contractors it saves them a lot of money since they don't have to pay workers compensation or provide other benefits that are entitled to hired employees. They also don’t invest in training and retaining employees, which directly impacts the quality of the lesson you receive.
We professionally train our instructors with the goal of providing you with a consistent and structured educational experience so that you can be confident your time and effort are well spent. Our 75+ five star reviews on Google highlight our unique approach to helping you learn this skill.
We conduct our lessons on quiet open roads to ensure that you properly learn ALL the skills. We don't keep you stuck in a strip mall parking lot for hours on end.
We own our vehicles, which means that they're fully insured, regularly inspected, and meticulously maintained to provide the safest learning environment. Not to mention, our sporty Mini Coopers are tons of fun to drive.
Our instructors are employees of our company, and we provide them with employment benefits and safety measures that are at the root of an ethical business.
Our goal is to inform you of your options and give you the tools to ask the right questions so that you can make an informed decision. As the saying goes, "you get what you pay for" and some of these other companies are cheap for a reason. Stay safe out there!
Our prices start at $259 for a basic lesson and $379 for a complete experience. We also offer custom lessons starting at $139 per hour, which we can tailor to your specific goals. Learn more about each course below, and if you're ready to take the next step it only takes a minute to book your lesson.
At Shift Bay Area our goal is to teach you the proper skills and confidence to drive a manual transmission vehicle while making sure that you have fun in the process.
As an auto enthusiast, a pilot, and throughout my career of mentoring others, I've observed various teaching techniques that are effective in making sure that students walk away from a lesson with the confidence to put those skills to use. That's the mission that I instill in every instructor on my team, with the added requirement that learning should also be a fun experience. I invite you to give us a try!
Dennis Chernyukhin - Founder
Looking to book a lesson? Use our booking page. If you want to contact us for any other reason, you can get a hold of us below.
Shift Bay Area
PO Box 2133
Redwood City, CA 94064
We're open 24/7 via email, and we'll return your calls as soon as we park the car.