The clutch is the mechanism
that allows the gears to transition back and forth
smoothly. If you pull the car in or out of gear
without using the clutch, or release the clutch
only halfway into gear, you will hear an amazingly
unpleasant sound. Avoid this.
It's difficult to avoid some sort of wear and
tear on the clutch when learning how to drive a
stick shift. If you go slowly at first and pay
close attention, you can feel (in your feet) where
the clutch engages and disengages. If you learn
that well, you'll put less strain on your car.
You'll also be able to drive any stick shift more
smoothly from the get-go.
Avoid needless acceleration when the clutch is
partially engaged. When at a stoplight, don't get
in the habit of holding the clutch in for more than
a few seconds or you will have other problems down
the line. Instead, put the car in neutral while
stopped for any period of time.
Popping the clutch: Invariably, you will miss
your gear (or release the clutch too quickly) and
the car will lurch ahead. Often at the outset, you
will pop the clutch too quickly and stall the car.
Don't worry, it happens to everyone. Just get those
exercises out of the way before you find yourself
in bumper-to-bumper traffic. .