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Is it bad to shift manual car on 1st gear without clutch

Hello everyone! Today, driving my manual car in the city I made a very stupid mistake. I tried to launch the car, shifting to the first gear without depressing the clutch pedal (I’d just forget, i don’t know). The shifter slides normally on 1st gear seems to me, no grinding noise! When I put on the 1st gear, engine just stall!
After this case I didn’t notice any problems with the transmission, but…
What could be the damage to my transmission, if any?
Is it a big deal to put on gear when the car idling, without using clutch?

You put some extra wear on the first gear synchronizer. I’d get the transmission oil changed and forget about it.

Yes it is a big deal. Keep doing that and you will need a new transmission quite soon. Doing it once by accident likely did no damage. Don’t do it on purpose.

Concur w/the experts above, as a one time event, from neutral to first at idle, stalling engine, as long as the engine wasn’t at high rpms at the time, not much chance of serious damage.

I’ll add a caution, when I was a teenager a friend of mine was giving me a ride to school and showing me how he had discovered he could shift up and down in quite a few of the gears on his family’s car without using the clutch, just by adjusting the engine speed. He said he’d been doing this for a couple months. A week later he was complaining about the family car having transmission problems … lol …

Doing it regularly will do damage, but it sounds like yours survived the error in good health.
If they were that delicate mine never could have survived my son’s learning process… or my daughter’s… great memories all these years later.

For the record, I’ve ground a few gears over the years too. Perhaps it’s inheritable? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Haven’t we all at one time or another?? I certainly have … Even after driving a manual for a very long time! :wink:

I used to do that all the time with my 61 Fiat. It had a vacuum leak so it would not idle and on a couple of occasions, I had a flywheel bolt break and jam into the clutch so it did not work. I’d let the engine almost die and then hit the gas to keep it alive. During that point where the engine was almost stopped, I’d slide it into first and off I’d go. I shifted without using the clutch too.

All this happened while I was going from Bootcamp in San Diego to my “A” school class in Memphis, TN so fixing it along the way was not an option. BTW, the starter went out too. Starter quit in AZ, the intake started leaking around Amarillo, and I lost the use of the clutch around Little Rock, but I made it.

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Sounds like typical Fiat reliability…


Thank for sharing the story! Figuring out temporary work-a-arounds is part of what makes diy’er car repair fun! Well maybe “fun” is exactly the right word, but it makes it “interesting” anyway. I don’t think I’ve ever had to work around that many serious problems before myself. I presume you wouldn’t have gone to so much trouble if you were going to boot-camp, rather than from it … lol … About the best I can do, on occasion I have to park my Corolla facing downhill so I can do a roll-start when the starter is acting up.

Hello keith I have a question about my car it’s totally different from this thread but I feel like you know your stuff get back to me when you can thanks ’

Just post your question ? There are quite a few knowledgeable people here. Better in a new thread so the replies will be for the question.


I just did thanks !

If you didn’t hear any grinding noise and the only reaction was the engine died I would not be concerned. Keep your ears tuned to the transmission for a few days to listen for any unusual noise. If no noise you are good to go.