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The Clutch
How to Drive a Stick Shift Car - The Clutch
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If driving a stick is like dancing, then your dance partner is the clutch.  
You must learn to
feel the exact moment at which the clutch engages
connects the engine to the wheels).
But first some safety precautions:  You must have the vehicle on flat
ground (
so that the car does not roll).  There must be no car in front or
behind.  I prefer a large empty college parking lot on Sunday.  You should
have someone drive you to an acceptable location and stay with you while
you practice.

The clutch is that extra foot pedal on the floorboard. See the diagram.

It is time now to start the car!
Engage the emergency hand brake.  Depress the clutch.  Put the stick in
neutral, then turn the key and feed some gas.  The car will start.
Confirm that the stick is in neutral.
Release the clutch.

Caution; if you release the clutch and the stick is not in neutral, the car
will suddenly jump a couple of feet forward or backward (depending on
what gear it happens to be in).  Then it will stall.
Very dangerous!

You will start this exercise with the stick in neutral,
the brake pedal depressed (
right foot),
and the hand brake released.

You will then:
  • Hold the clutch pedal down, as far as it will go (left foot).
  • Put the stick in first gear.
  • Right foot off the brake, feed gas gently to 1,200 RPM                  
    on the tachometer.
  • Now slowly and gently raise the clutch until you feel                          
    the car start to roll.
  • Immediately depress the clutch all the way down to the floor,        
    and brake to a stop.
  • Continue to play the clutch up and down, rolling the car, until you
    know exactly the point at which the clutch engages.
  • Put the stick in neutral, then release the clutch.

If you come off the clutch too fast, or give too little gas, the car will
stall.  Don’t be discouraged.  Restart and try again.  You will get it!

If you get confused,
slam the clutch down to the floor and step on the
brake pedal!
 This will stop the car.  You will then have time to think it
over and start again.

If you brake to a stop without the clutch the car will stall.
Simply depress the clutch, put the stick in neutral, turn the key and
feed a little gas to start the car and try again.

Soon you will have the feel of the
exact point at which the clutch engages.
When you do, repeat the exercise.  But this time put the stick into the
reverse gear and roll the car backwards two or three feet.  Continue
rolling the car forwards and backwards to get
the feel of the clutch.
Once you have it you will be ready to learn to drive in 1st gear.

  The link to your next lesson is:

Driving in 1st Gear
Foot Pedals: Gas- Brake-Clutch
Good Job
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Still having trouble engaging the clutch?
The car wont roll for you and it stalls?
Here's a trick no one will tell you!

If the car doesn't want to roll for you,
practice on a slight down grade.
Now the car
wants to roll down hill,
and will engage the clutch very easily.

Hold the clutch to the floor.
Put it in 1st gear.
Feed gas to 1500rpm.
Bring clutch up slowly.

As soon as car starts to roll, slam clutch
back down to the floor.  Repeat as many
times as necessary till you learn the
engagement point of the clutch.

Guaranteed Success!
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