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Are modern manual shift cars still roll start-able?

I used to roll start a manual shift car back in the 1990s. Very convenient. My battery has died many times (before I figured out there was a parasitic drain) in my automatic…many jump starts needed.

If I were to get a new car, would there be any point in getting a manual shift for the roll start convenience or is it not possible to do that anymore b/c of the computers, etc. etc.?

Not if you have dead battery. The computer needs to see at least 10.5 volts in order for it to function. Anything below that and the computer won’t fire the injectors/spark plugs.


Having single-handedly push-started my late-model car in the company parking lot recently, I can testify that the battery MAY have enough juice to power the field in the alternator even if it does not perceptively illuminate the dome light when you open the door. If it does, a few revolutions of the alternator will power the computer and coils enough to fire the engine.

I would have been really disappointed if it had failed to start. My pacemaker, after all, has limited power as well.

I bump started an '03 Civic manual transmission when the battery didn’t have enough juice to crank the starter. I think all current model manual transmission cars can be bump started so long as the battery isn’t completely dead.

I too understand it as the battery need only have enough voltage to excite the field of the alternator. Once that happens, the alternator can then meet the needs of the fuel pump, injectors, ECM, sensors, etc.

Back when cars had generators and the battery was run to near death while attempting a very cold temperature start, there was always enough battery voltage and amperage remaining to power the non-electronic ignition for a push start. A generator, of course, would not put out sufficient voltage to charge the battery until the engine speed was above idle.

If you have to do this often enough for it to be a concern, we might be able to help if you’ll give us some detaiuls about your driving habits…and maintenance habits.

It depends on the car and the problem. Sometimes you might push-start a car because of a malfunctioning component, like the starter or clutch safety switch. Sometimes the battery isn’t the issue, and if the battery isn’t an issue, you should be able to push-start the vehicle.

On my Civic, when the battery gets bad enough to need a jump start, I haven’t been able to roll-start it, but a tow truck driver was able to roll-start it when the clutch safety switch malfunctioned, and it would roll-start if the starter was broken. I think part of the issue is the size of the battery. My Civic has such a small battery that push-starting it with a dead battery doesn’t give any juice to the spark plugs.

Whether you drive a manual or an automatic, I’d recommend a good set of jumper cables, and I recommend jump-starting be your first option. Push-starting should probably be your last resort.

Well, I don’t worry about the few times in life that one might need to push-start a car. I can think of only one time in 20 years that I needed help in that way.

Although I’ve never done it with a dead battery, I’ve roll-started my 2011 Cruze stick on my slightly inclined driveway on occasion. Works fine, although some insist it’s bad for the car.

Last weekend on the radio show the brothers discussed push starting and suggested that it does no harm to the vehicle whatsoever and saves wear on the starter. I’m not so sure about that. Rocketman

Some late 90s Fords required that the key be turned to the START position to initiate the fuel system functioning to get them to start. Remote starter switches and push starting would not start the engine if the key was in the ON position but would if the key was moved to START.

I agree with the brothers.