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    So, I don't have the best relationship with the clutch.... I've been using both petrol and diesel cars to practise driving in so am getting slightly confused.
    Firstly, when going down the gears in both petrol and diesel cars, once you've put the clutch down, moved the gear down, do you just pull your foot off the clutch? I thought that like when going up the gears, you'd have to bring it up slowly keeping the gas on to avoid the car jolting forwards.
    Also, in diesel, am I'm correct in saying you can just move the car by just pulling the clutch up when in second gear? As I know when reversing in a diesel car, you don't need any gas....
    Thank you!
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    Hey

    Your relationship with the clutch will improve over time, it's just takes a bit of getting used to really.
    I always heel toe downshift. It's a lot easier for me and it provides a smoother more satisfying ride.
    But it's tricky to do so to start with I'd just press the clutch and leave it there until you've stopped for now. Then you can work up once your more comfortable.
    You can bring it up quickly if you heel toe (google it if you don't know what it is) but not if you don't.
    You can bring it up slowly but you'll probably jolt forwards if you do it too quickly.
    I've never driven a diesel so I can't comment there I'm afraid.
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    Downshifting: shift once the car has slowed to a speed appropriate to that gear (e.g. don't try to shift to 2nd at 40 mph). Come off the throttle to shift, then reapply it gradually as you smoothly release the clutch pedal (don't worry about rev matching or double-clutching or any of that which some people will doubtless try to encourage - it's not strictly necessary for most drivers on a synchromesh gearbox and now probably isn't the time to learn).

    Starting in a diesel: Start in first, not second - it's what it's there for. Second puts unnecessary wear on the clutch over time and you'll have to go more slowly (and probably joltily). Whilst you can do this without the throttle on most cars with enough care (and modern ones will automatically apply a bit of throttle to keep the engine from stalling), it's better to start to ease on the gas as soon as you reach the clutch's biting point, as this will help you to move off more promptly.
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    You can get moving in pretty much any gear in a petrol car too but, as the previous poster said, first gear is there for a reason.
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    (Original post by SosbanFach)
    Downshifting: shift once the car has slowed to a speed appropriate to that gear (e.g. don't try to shift to 2nd at 40 mph). Come off the throttle to shift, then reapply it gradually as you smoothly release the clutch (don't worry about rev matching or double-clutching or any of that which some people will doubtless try to encourage - it's not strictly necessary for most drivers on a synchromesh gearbox and now probably isn't the time to learn).

    Starting in a diesel: Start in first, not second - it's what it's there for. Second puts unnecessary wear on the clutch over time and you'll have to go more slowly (and probably joltily). Whilst you can do this without the throttle on most cars with enough care (and modern ones will automatically apply a bit of throttle to keep the engine from stalling), it's better to start to ease on the gas as soon as you reach the clutch's biting point, as this will help you to move off more promptly.
    One of the things I have trouble with is getting my foot off the clutch in time before say going around a mini roundabout or reaching a junction and my instructor is always saying foot off the clutch, which is why I thought maybe I should just take it off straight away after I've changed gear. I feel like I'm slowing down too early if I manage to slow down and put it into second gear in enough time...
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    (Original post by DoeADeer)
    One of the things I have trouble with is getting my foot off the clutch in time before say going around a mini roundabout or reaching a junction and my instructor is always saying foot off the clutch, which is why I thought maybe I should just take it off straight away after I've changed gear. I feel like I'm slowing down too early if I manage to slow down and put it into second gear in enough time...
    Right now, I'd say you should do everything unhurriedly in whatever time it takes you - getting it right is more important than doing it quickly. The car behind can see you're a learner, so they're just going to have to wait for you. With practice, you'll get faster and still do it right, but at the moment if you try to rush it you're just going to get flustered and do it wrong, which is more likely to lead to a test failure than taking your time is (trust me on that, I failed my first one because nerves made me rush things). If you have to slow down earlier than other drivers do so you can prepare your gears, do that; most will understand and give you space, the ones that don't are ****holes.
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    (Original post by DoeADeer)
    One of the things I have trouble with is getting my foot off the clutch in time
    Why? Do you keep your foot on the clutch and coast around the corner? I see this an awful lot in my job and I'm wondering why so many do that.

    (Original post by SosbanFach)
    If you have to slow down earlier than other drivers do so you can prepare your gears, do that; most will understand and give you space, the ones that don't are ****holes.
    Your advice is generally sound, but beware that a certain minimum standard has to be set that will be judged on a driving test. Yes, you will be displaying L plates and other drivers should be patient, but the test candidate should be expected to strike a balance. Going into a junction too fast is a fault, but going into a junction far too slowly at an absolute crawl and impeding following traffic unduly will also be regarded as a fault.

    The speed should be suitable for the tightness of the corner, as well as the visibility into it and the presence (or absence) of any parked cars / crossing pedestrians etc. The gear should be suitable for the speed. The steering rate should be varied to accommodate the speed into the junction, avoiding crossing centre lines and striking or mounting kerbs.
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    You could just whip your foot up very quickly and still perform a silky smooth gear shift, but it'll only work that way if you struck a balance between engine speed and road speed. If you change down when going too fast, you'll feel the car drag. Conversely, too slow and it'll jerk or possibly even stall depending on the revs. Lifting your foot of the clutch gradually and smoothly will ensure a smoother transition and help cover up any timing issues, so I'd do that while you're learning/trying to pass your test.
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    I think changing gears was the hell of my life as a learner driver. I have no idea how I can do it now because I remember getting really upset and anxious when seeing a roundabout and knowing I had to change gears! It comes with time.

    Always make sure the car is at a speed ready to change gear, so start with braking when approaching a roundabout. You're in a learner car - so people will be expecting you to brake earlier and be a bit slower - so never worry about breaking too soon. Before you enter the roundabout, get into a lower gear (say 3rd to 2nd) to give yourself plenty of time (this way you won't worry about it) the car may Rev a bit has its in two high a gear, but the more confident you get, the more you will be able to do it more quickly and at the correct times.

    (It all comes with learning - once you have passed and have been driving your own car a while - you will learn the sounds and speeds your car will make when it wants to change gears and won't need to constantly be worrying.)

    Disengage the clutch (by putting your foot down) and ease off the acceratlor, (lifting it up) put into 2nd gear, then lift your foot off and ease back on the acceratlor. Try to remember that going down gears is naturally slowlying the car anyway, so you may lose speed if this is not done quickly.

    If you're really struggling though tell your instructor - that's what you're paying them for! And get them to focus a lesson purely on gear changes. If they are aware that you have acknowledged this is your weak point and need improvement, they will offer more help in this. I was constantly telling my instructor what I wanted more help in and we had many lessons (even after 5 months of learning) in clutch control but I really did not understand it.
 
 
 
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