Frequently Asked Questions about Shift Bay Area & Driving a Stick Shift

Why would I want to take a manual transmission driving lesson?

Here are a few of the reasons why people choose to learn to drive stick shift: - You are renting a manual transmission car nationally or for international travel. When traveling internationally, a manual car is usually standard and automatic rentals can cost considerably more. Therefore, it can be more economical to learn to how drive a stick shift. - You are considering purchasing a manual transmission car and want to learn to how drive one, or you want to know what the experience is like before you commit to purchasing one. - You would like to be able to drive a friend's or relative's car. - You have an interest in learning a new life skill.

How long does it take to learn to drive a manual transmission car?

This can vary from person to person, but typically our 2 hour course is good enough to get a taste for everything, and our 3 hour course is best for those that want to walk away from the lesson feeling confident. We will never rush through your lesson and we'll always make sure to go at your pace and comfort level.

Is stick shift driving hard?

Driving a stick shift car can be easier than you may think. When you first start learning there will be a lot of information to absorb and you will stall and you may get frustrated. But, with the help of our instructors and a bit of determination, this will pass quickly and you’ll soon feel a sense of accomplishment from learning something new. Our lessons and exercises are designed to present the information in an easy to understand format.

Can I take multiple lessons?

Definitely! If you find you need additional practice time to perfect your skills, we offer custom lessons that are by the hour so that you can focus the additional time on your specific needs.

What is the fastest way to learn how to drive a stick shift?

We believe stick shift driving lessons are the fastest way to learn to drive a manual car properly. Our courses focus on learning the fundamentals and identifying trouble areas quickly, and our incredibly patient team will guide you along the way.

Do I need a manual transmission car to take a lesson?

Not at all! At Shift Bay Area we provide the vehicle for your lesson, so you don’t have to worry about abusing your, your friends', or your relatives' vehicles while learning to drive stick shift.

Can you travel to my location for the lesson?

We only operate in specific locations throughout the Bay Area and Sacramento. This is for several reasons: 1. These locations have the right topography that enable us to properly practice all of the exercises (quiet places for the slow speed portion of our exercises, longer stretches of road for the upshifting and downshifting exercises, hills or inclines for hill control excercises, etc.). 2. These locations are in quiet areas, which reduce the anxiety of practicing with a lot of other cars around you.

What are the minimum requirements to take a lesson?

We require that you have a valid United States driver's license or at a minimum a driver's permit. At Shift Bay Area our focus is coaching you on how to properly drive a manual car. We don’t review, teach, or work on rules of the road or other driving fundamentals; therefore, it's important that you already know how to drive an automatic transmission vehicle.

Is it cheaper if we train in my car?

If you prefer to use your own vehicle for training then the cost of the lesson will be 10% cheaper. Most students prefer to use our cars since the car will be driven hard while you're learning; however, we can accomodate using some or all of your lesson time to practice in your vehicle. Note that our insurance policy will not transfer to your vehicle during training, so if anything were to happen to your car you would be solely responsible.

Does Shift Bay Area offer group lessons?

We believe the best way to learn to drive a stick shift vehicle is through a personal one-on-one experience. While you can share the experience with a friend, we typically provide lessons to one person at a time.

Why should I take a lesson from Shift Bay Area?

While there are other companies that offer stick shift driving lessons, at Shift Bay Area we believe we offer a superior experience. Our instructors are patient and will privide a tailored experience based on your knowledge, aptitude, and interests. Unlike other companies, our lessons and training vehicles are fully insured for your protection.

What is the exact address of each of your locations?

Once you complete a booking online, you'll receive a confirmation email that will specify the address of your preferred training location. We don't publish the addresses online because due to road construction, weather, and other events, the training/meeting location may slightly change (but will still be within the same city).

What happens after I make a booking online?

Once you complete a booking online, you'll receive a confirmation email that will give you more details about your lesson including the specific address of your preferred training location, logistics, as well as things to bring like your driver's license, etc. The confirmation email usually goes within a couple of hours, and once you receive it you're all set for your lesson. If you prefer, you can also call us at (650) 395-8570 and we can book your lesson over the phone.