Clutch control on hill starts Watch

Aky786UK
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Hi,

I've been driving intermittently for a year in a petrol car, and I've become anxious about hill driving primarily for the reasons that I think I will a) stall or b) roll backwards as my clutch control in general is edgy (think this was down to when I took lessons and endless stalling in a petrol car)

For example, today I was approaching a traffic light at the top of a hill. I slowed down > brake > clutch down > into first gear and waited (I should have put my handbrake up but my machismo made me not and thought it will probably change to green real soon)

When it went to green, as I'd had my right foot on the brake, I tried to find my biting point and released my brake to move onto the accelerator but the car rolled back slightly, and then revved as I made my way forward.

A brief Google showed I should have had my handbrake up as I could have got my speed right then eased up to my biting point but I see so many people get by without using their handbrake and expertly handling their clutch, I feel I should be able to do the same.

Anyways, I'd like advice on how to manage my clutch when I'm stationery driving upward on a hill and secondly, during moving traffic up a hill. One of the roads I travel back from work is a hill that at peak times gets busy so moving traffic is a regular occurrence.

I hope with regular practice it will click and I will have references to avoid the issues I fear but any help (links to videos etc) would be appreciated.

Ta.
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Dunya
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I never pull the handbrake up at red lights. :confused:

Whilst you're waiting for the green light you should have already found your biting point. With the brake down full, your clutch should only be up high enough so that the car is vibrating. As soon as it turns green, take your foot off the brake, give gas and ease off the clutch slowly.

You won't roll back as you've already found your biting point beforehand.
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Apachecow
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Don't buy a used car off Dunya, the clutch will be knackered!

ALWAYS apply a handbrake at lights. There is always a risk of a car going into the back of you and pushing you into oncoming traffic. While waiting have all feet off all pedals. When light goes amber give a few revs and then lift clutch until bonnet rises and then release handbrake.

You are much less likely to stall giving some accelerator especially if going up a hill.

Holding the car on the clutch is bad practice, dangerous and hard on the car/clutch.
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Dunya
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:shock: The handbrake has never been my friend, it always takes me 3 tries to properly pull it up
(Original post by Apachecow)
Don't buy a used car off Dunya, the clutch will be knackered!
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Es0phagus
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(Original post by Aky786UK)
A brief Google showed I should have had my handbrake up as I could have got my speed right then eased up to my biting point but I see so many people get by without using their handbrake and expertly handling their clutch, I feel I should be able to do the same.
Always use the handbrake on a hill, anyone you see "handling their clutch" on a hill is putting unnecessary wear on their clutch – it looks cool, but it is not advisable and you will have to replace the clutch faster.

If you find it difficult to pull up the handbrake, you can press the button in to make it easier (added bonus of avoiding the horrible sound it makes).

All in all, because we are terrified of hitting another car, hill starts are feared by beginners, but from a stop position on a hill, you aren't going to roll back fast enough to cause any real damage in the worst case scenario.
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Aky786UK
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Thanks for the replies, but how would you handle a moving traffic scenario uphill where you might not get chance to pull your handbrake up? My mistake is probably not applying enough gas as I go up so the engine stutters and I panic slightly.
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StriderHort
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BTW a lot of those people you see on hills "Getting by without using their handbrake and expertly handling their clutch" will simply have a hill assist function on their cars brakes...so they have the confidence to know it won't roll back and they can take their time moving from the brake to the accelerator. Either that or they're in an Auto.

As to yr question, yes, add more gas until desired outcome is obtained. Crawling up hills with the clutch is a bugger but just needs done occasionally. You'll get more confident with it.
Last edited by StriderHort; 3 weeks ago
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Es0phagus
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(Original post by Aky786UK)
Thanks for the replies, but how would you handle a moving traffic scenario uphill where you might not get chance to pull your handbrake up? My mistake is probably not applying enough gas as I go up so the engine stutters and I panic slightly.
If you ever feel the car is going to stall/ engine splutters, just press the clutch in, you cannot stall with the clutch depressed.

The scenario you describe is a bit of a nightmare for manual cars – it’s bad enough queuing in traffic, it’s unbearable queuing uphill. It’s tricky but you have to give yourself more time before moving off each time i.e. let the space in front of you grow larger than normal and hope someone behind isn’t impatient enough to try and overtake you/honk.
Last edited by Es0phagus; 3 weeks ago
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TajwarC
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Handbrake on, clutch down (in 1st), stopped > rev car a bit more than you would on a flat surface, bring clutch up to biting point (car will feel like its "sinking", the revs will also fall) > more throttle as you disengage the handbrake = car will move forward without rolling back. Bring the clutch up slowly.

Took me a while to get the hang of it, just go to a local hill and practice. But yeah even after a year or so I still always use the handbrake on a hill. As others have mentioned, although holding the car at the biting point will keep it stationary on a hill, this is the worst thing you can do for the clutch. Don't worry if it takes a bit more time (as long as you're not actually holding traffic up). Its always safer
Last edited by TajwarC; 3 weeks ago
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TheMcSame
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(Original post by Aky786UK)
When it went to green, as I'd had my right foot on the brake, I tried to find my biting point and released my brake to move onto the accelerator but the car rolled back slightly, and then revved as I made my way forward.
Sounds like there wasn't enough contact between the plates. Just enough so that once you revved the car would move but not enough to completely hold the car.


A brief Google showed I should have had my handbrake up as I could have got my speed right then eased up to my biting point but I see so many people get by without using their handbrake and expertly handling their clutch, I feel I should be able to do the same.
Keep in mind that not everyone is driving a manual. Automatics are pretty prevalent these days, I believe manuals are still the most popular but I don't think automatics are far behind on our roads. Also, keep in mind that other people have more experience (needs no explanation).

You also need to keep in mind that cars are different. Diesels and large petrol engines are less finicky with clutch work because they produce more torque. With diesels, it's a result of the fuel, combustion method and overall heavier components (which aids in low-end torque production). With large petrols it's mostly down to the bore stroke (a common method of increasing engine displacement, aids in low-end torque production) and again, heavier components (though this is down to quantity as opposed to heavier materials, I.E. more cylinders)

I learnt in a 1.6L petrol Corsa, you could move on the clutch alone if you were careful with it, though only on flat ground, whereas my 1.4L diesel Fiesta can crawl uphill on the clutch alone if you're careful with it. On flat ground it's effortless and it will even pull itself at idle RPMs in 5th gear while fighting against the brakes (left the car in 5th when going into a 30 zone, went to slow down for a red light, forgetting I was in 5th, and the car was fighting against the brakes).

Anyways, I'd like advice on how to manage my clutch when I'm stationary driving upward on a hill and secondly, during moving traffic up a hill. One of the roads I travel back from work is a hill that at peak times gets busy so moving traffic is a regular occurrence.
Work on your clutch control and get to know the car. Failing that, leave a gap in the traffic so you can slowly crawl along and not have to faff about with the clutch.
Last edited by TheMcSame; 3 weeks ago
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samh665
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In uphill moving traffic, i’d normally hold it at bite and also put a bit on the accelerator. That way i don’t roll back, and can also creep up without the engine sounding like it’ll stall

Even sometimes i may put my slightly down and slightly up on the clutch, because holding it in one position for a while can be painful. If i get enough acceleration, I don’t really roll back if the clutch isn’t fully at the note

But i hate it when a car is right up behind me on a hill. I get nervous that if i roll back, i’ll hit it
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Nuffles
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In stop and go traffic on steeper hills, if I'm driving a manual I'll often forgo the foot brake entirely and just use the handbrake. One foot on the clutch, one on the throttle, and one hand on the handbrake. No juggling necessary then, and tends to be much smoother. The only downside is no brake lights for those behind you but I'm talking about crawling up a hill in <5mph stop and go so those behind should be able to keep up with what I'm doing.
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J0n3zviper
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(Original post by Dunya)
I never pull the handbrake up at red lights. :confused:

Whilst you're waiting for the green light you should have already found your biting point. With the brake down full, your clutch should only be up high enough so that the car is vibrating. As soon as it turns green, take your foot off the brake, give gas and ease off the clutch slowly.

You won't roll back as you've already found your biting point beforehand.
Well this isn't good practice.. The handbrake is there for a reason
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Dunya
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(Original post by J0n3zviper)
Well this isn't good practice.. The handbrake is there for a reason
I was never taught it either.

Passed my test without doing it :confused:
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LeMansClivey
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You should only be finding your bite point in the couple of seconds before moving off. Anything longer is just going to wear-out your clutch. Use the hand / parking brake on gradients and release as you find the bite point whilst moving off again.
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iiilly
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(Original post by Dunya)
I was never taught it either.

Passed my test without doing it :confused:
I've never used the handbrake either and I've never seen anyone using it🤷🏻*♀️
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J0n3zviper
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(Original post by Dunya)
I was never taught it either.

Passed my test without doing it :confused:
So you have never used your handbrake?
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TheMcSame
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(Original post by J0n3zviper)
So you have never used your handbrake?
You seem surprised. From my observations, it seems like a good portion of people on the road don't use the parking brake except for when they park.
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Dunya
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(Original post by J0n3zviper)
So you have never used your handbrake?
Of course I have. Just never used it for stopping at a red light.
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Nint123
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(Original post by Aky786UK)
Thanks for the replies, but how would you handle a moving traffic scenario uphill where you might not get chance to pull your handbrake up? My mistake is probably not applying enough gas as I go up so the engine stutters and I panic slightly.
what you do is:
1) pull handbrake
2) clutch all the way in
3) give 2.5-3 revs
4) get the biting point
5) when the car starts to move put the handbrake down

more detail: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xsO1jBlEOI
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