Popping the clutch on a new car

transmissions
clutches

#1

Does anyone know if you can still start a new car by popping the clutch on a downhill roll? I used to do it on an old army jeep. Recently acquired a 2003 passat wagon, 5-speed. It will only start with the clutch depressed, I’m told this is normal, so I am wondering if it’s still possible to roll start it. I would test it but it’s also the first car I’ve had with airbags, so I am a little worried about setting them off.


#2

It should work just fine. The “safety” requiring you to depress the clutch pedal applies only to the starter motor.


#3

They have been making cars that won’t start without the clutch pressed for a long time now. It usually varies by make.

I was surprised to discover that my Civic can’t be push-started with a dead battery, but I am not sure why that is. I think it has to do with the fact that it has such a small engine that it won’t refuse to start until the battery is completely dead, which leaves too little power to fire the plugs when I pop the clutch. If your vehicle has a moderately sized engine and the battery isn’t completely dead, you should be able to push-start it.


#4

Yes, you can still push-start a new car. The clutch interlock you’re talking only matters if you’re operating the starter motor.

Push-starting will not set off the airbags. You have to hit something pretty hard to set them off.


#5

Remember, you also need power for the fuel pump and for the engine computer.


#6

Yes, you can jump start the car if the battery has enough juice to run the computer and fuel pump. Turn the ignition to “on”, get the car rolling, put it in 3rd or 4th gear and let out the clutch.


#7

Why not 2nd gear?


#8

Yeah, I’ve always done it is 1st 2nd or reverse. It gives you the most engine revolutions per distance, and if you’re in a higher gear you’re more likely to stall it or have it take off on you.


#9

I’ve always done it is 1st 2nd or reverse

My old Sunbeam Imp and my old VW Beetle were both started more than once by sticking my foot out the door and pushing my car backwards then quickly pressing the clutch, shifting into reverse and popping the clutch.


#10

There have been many previous threads on this very topic. This particular one was both informative and extensive: http://community.cartalk.com/posts/list/1054210.page


#11

Thanks everyone!