Best tips to master the use of clutch – a key to driving manual transmission cars


For all those who are about to drive a manual transmission car, mastering the clutch remains pivotal to success in driving away early jitters. Steering control does not take much of a doing hence let us focus on the major uses of the clutch at important scenarios that we are faced with right from getting the car started till parking the vehicle. At all stages remember once the feet is off the clutch the car engine is expected to shut off so you better put your feet on the clutch.

Scenario 1: First interaction with the clutch, starting the car: When you are all set with the front, rear view mirrors, adjustment of seat, fastening of seat belt check the handbrake, press the clutch fully, check the gear is in neutral, turn on the key to start the car. Depending on whether the car is parked downhill or level parking release the hand brake carefully. With the clutch fully pressed, change the gear to first, with feet on brake, look at the mirrors/blind spot, release the brake gradually and release 50% of the clutch(car vibrates that is the indication) without using the accelerator to slowly allow the car to move. Once the car develops a motion, slowly use the accelerator.

Scenario 2 : At a 4 way junction to cross without turning left or right : Keep the clutch at 50% with full brake , depending on traffic whenever safe to move , without accelerating , release clutch and move on and once out of the junction accelerate to gather speed by going to a higher gear using clutch.

Scenario 3 : Uphill stuck in traffic , use of clutch to keep car under control and move immediately without moving back when lights turn green  – While stuck up , keep clutch pressed , brake pressed and handbrake up. When time to move keep brake fully pressed, release 75% clutch and when car vibrates release brake, car moves forward and then accelerate on a need basis.

Scenario 4: Moving downhill: Keep clutch pressed fully since you are descending with gravity, foot on brake till you come down and then regulate clutch, brake and accelerator depending on need.

Scenario 5 : Crossing a turning and moving left or right : Keep the clutch 50% pressed , with full brake check whether it is safe to turn left or right and then release clutch and then brake,  move without accelerating , after safely on the side of road on turning use accelerator to move forward.

Scenario 6: Driving in reverse to find a parking spot: Press clutch fully, set gear to reverse, press brake fully subsequently slowly release clutch to 50% , release brake without accelerating till car moves back and then move it without accelerating and find the spot.

So master the use of clutch to remove early jitters to enjoy driving.