Changing stick shift to neutral without using the clutch

I have a stick shift and I have realized I can easily put it in neutral without using the clutch. Is this bad for the gearbox or not?

Normally I would not expect any problems, assuming your engine speed and car speed are well matched at every shift.

That said, I would not do it.

Why Are You Asking ?

Use the clutch every time or pretty soon the car will be shifting itself into neutral.


You are “teaching” the car how to take itself out of gear. In reality you are wearing out the metal parts that keep the car in gear prematurely. Eventually if you do this for years there will be enough wear and damage that the trans will slip out of gear all by itself. The only fix will be an expensive trans rebuild job.

Doing that accelerates wear on the synchros inside the transmission.


As long as you’re doing it by manipulating the engine speed (gently) and not pushing hard on the shifter, not much happens in terms of wear. You’re just creating a window for the thing to move easy enough. I had a clutch cable break 300 miles from home and made it all the way home without a clutch. You merely had to be well versed in double clutching to match the engine speed with the drive train speed for the respective range. Starting it by flooring it (it was a carb’d engine - now would require “almost” flooring it) in gear wasn’t all that hard.

This is a skill set that, I suspect, very few have these days.

I am not saying it is right but both the manual trans 100k vehicles with no clutch or service I had I did that. If trans man says it is wrong it is wrong dot period end.

Please don’t reinvent shifting w/o the clutch. You’re doing it half way and I agree that it shouldn’t be done as all have previously stated. You can do a lot of things easily in a car that aren’t good for it and this is one of them.

Going into neutral I would not worry about. Going into a gear is a different matter.

As long as you “unload” the transmission by easing off the throttle so it slips into neutral with no effort, that’s no problem…


When learning to drive a truck, I discovered I could shift gears without touching the clutch at all (after shifting to first gear), but I still used the clutch anyway. Do you know why? I knew I might not get it perfect every time. If you ever make the smallest mistake, and there is the smallest load on the transmission when you do it, you will cause premature wear to the mechanism that keeps the transmission in gear.