Clutch technique

I’ve gotten myself into the habit of riding my clutch when starting from a complete standstill. But here’s what I think i’m doing wrong, i’m giving the car throttle before engaging the clutch. What I really should be doing is allowing the clutch to grab slightly and then give it gas right? It seems like i’m either riding it out of a start from 1st gear or i’m doing something else wrong that makes my tach drop to like 100 rpms and makes the whole car shake. I’ve only been driving standard trans for a few months, I suppose it’s normal to not have it mastered at this point. Any advice is appreciated, thanks.

Practice, in an empty parking lot, the technique of letting out the clutch without touching the gas pedal. I didn’t think this would work with a gasoline engine without stalling the car, but it does work if you do it gently enough. This will help you develop your technique.

It is a type of dance and both partners need to work together. It is not easy to describe. You should have someone who knows what they are doing and is a good teacher to help you out.

It is normal to not have it mastered in only a few months. Beyond that, every vehicle is different.

I liked Joseph’s description of it as a “dance” between the gas and the clutch pedals. I’ve taught both of my kids to drive manuals. When I taught my son, I kept telling him to do what I THOUGHT I was doing, giving the engine a little gas before letting the clutch out…I’d been driving manuals for 30 years at that point and was long past paying attention. It wasn’t working. So I went out by myself and paid attention. I found that I was really doing as you’re suggesting, letting the clutch grab just at the very beginning of the engine’s upward climb. Then I went back and taught hom correctly.

Regardless of how fast you’re going, or if you’re starting from a standstill, your foot should be OFF the clutch within half a carlength.

This does not, of course, mean rev the engine and slip the bejesus out of the clutch anyway to be off the pedal in half a carlength. The tip to practice starting from a standstill at idle is a good one. It will teach you how much the engine can tolerate without stalling. From there you’ll learn to slip the clutch minimally when starting, and to be off it very quickly and smoothly.

That Hoyt technique will work. It’s usually for the first week of using the clutch. Some cars don’t do anything well, especially if a motor mount is broken. Does somebody else do it better with your car? Ask that person about his secret.

There are some older cars with manual transmissions that can not be driven smoothly by anyone. There is a possiblity that you have such a car so that was a good suggestion; let an experienced manual transmission car driver drive yours but you need someone who knows the difference between a good and a bad clutch. I have had both. Two that I have driven recently that were good were a VW Golf and a Chev Cobalt. The worst that I have driven were the first year Ford Escort and a 1984 Chev Cavalier. Most if not all newer cars should be good as mfrs are beginning to realize that these things matter.

Apply a little gas just before slipping the clutch as you state. Finish letting the clutch out slowly until you feel comfortable doing it a little faster but don’t race the engine or your clutch life may suffer a little. Smooth shifts require a balance between clutch slipping and gentle throttle application.

Make sure you are really in first gear. What you describe sounds like you are starting out in 3rd by mistake.

Oh no, the clutch chatter caused by that is unmistakable. I’ve only done that once or twice in my driving career. Not fun. Anyway thanks to everyone who answered.

Keep practicing. Your CONCEPT is correct; you just need to practice more in an empty parking lot to get the TIMING between the gas and the clutch right. I learned on a '65 Corvair Monza by the way, thought you’d want to know.