I live in Spain now but grew up in the US.
I learned to drive stick with my dad while listening to Car Talk.
I’ve always driven gasoline cars until 2 years ago when I bought myself a Diesel Citroen Gran Picasso.
All good up to there.
Now my wife is learning to drive and here in Spain there is no such thing as a “learner’s permit” so you have to do any practice driving with an instructor and paying 25€ per 45 minute class.
As this is all very exciting for my wife, we talk about her experience every night when I get home and I try to explain my point of view on some things.
So last night we were talking about how to get the car started from a stop and how to use the clutch and accelerator and how to move your feet.
“With the car in neutral and with your right foot on the break, push the clutch in with your left foot and start the car. Now, with the engine started, put it in first gear and as you lift the clutch up you give just enough preasure on the accelerator so that it doesn’t stall and your on your way. Then the rest of the gears is a dance with your feet, pushing the clutch in while you take your foot off the gas, change gears and then let up on the clutch while you accelerate listening to the engine to know how much gas you need to give it”
So she goes to class today and talks to her instructor about this who says:
“With a diesel it hurts the clutch if you give it gas while your foot is on the clutch. You should always start in first gear by just slowly taking your foot off the clutch and the car will start moving. Once your foot is completely off of the clutch, then you should start to give it gas.”
My reaction was that this is impossible. Every gasoline car that I’ve ever driven would have stalled doing this but today at work when I went on lunch I tried what the instructor said: I started the car, put it in first gear and lifted my foot slowly off of the clutch without giving any gas at all expecting the car to stall. To my surprise the car started moving forward without the slightest hint of wanting to stall. It was mind blowing since I had assumed that my new diesel car would drive itself more or less like the gasoline cars I’d had in the past. After all a clutch is a clutch, the clutch mechanism isn’t different, it’s the method of combustion that’s different… I think.
So according to my wife’s instructor, In my diesel car, when I step on the accelerator just a little to get the car started in first gear I’m hurting the clutch.
I don’t have access to a gasoline car any more but I swear I had to gas it a bit when getting started in first gear and that was how my dad taught me.
I’ve done a lot of reading on the internet and found several articles about “riding the clutch” but I don’t ride the clutch, this is different.
I don’t drive with my foot on the clutch, always to the side except when I change gears, I don’t stop at a light and leave my the clutch pushed in while waiting and I don’t leave the clutch pushed in when waiting on a hill.
Does anybody have any thoughts about this?
Should i start off in 1st gear and just lift my foot off the clutch waiting until the car is actually moving before i accelerate?
I’ll change habits if it really is healthier for my car but it wont be easy.
It seems to me that just lifting your foot off of the clutch without giving any gas is hurting the car and not the other way arround but I don’t have any facts to back that up with, just a gut feeling.
I’ve had the car 2 years now and it’s seems to be fine but if there is anything i can do to prolong the life of the clutch…