Starting in 1st using minimal RPMs


Critique my technique, I have only been driving standard for maybe 6 months and think I finally have it down.

From I standstill I give the engine approx. 1200 rpms and simultaneously release the clutch, then when the RPM’s drop to around 800-1000 I “hold it” there for a split second and then the car has traveled maybe 5 feet in this state, I release it the rest of the way and off I go on my merry way. It makes for a nice smooth start so clutch wear should be minimized. Correct ?


That’s a good way to burn up a clutch.

You want to let the clutch out slowly just to where the RPM’s start to drop while at the same time appling the throttle. Practice this, and the clutch will last a lot longer.



When I taught my kids to drive a standard…a drill I had them do was, on level ground; release the clutch with no gas applied, just idle speed. They very quickly developed a “feel” for the release. Ideally, if you’re not occasionally stalling when starting, you are too hard on the clutch.


We have two of three cars with a manual trans. A smooth start with not too many RPMs and no prolonged clutch slipping as you describe sounds good to me.


Your method sounds good to me. Achieving full clutch lockup in the shortest distance possible with the lowest engine rpm possible makes clutches last almost forever. If you aren’t occasionally stalling the engine, your not trying hard enough. If I’m not climbing a grade, I can usually engage the clutch on an idling engine.
I drove a '91 Geo Metro 280,000 miles without wearing out its clutch. I’ve had similar luck with other vehicles.


You should be completely off the clutch pedal within half a carlength. That’s from a standstill and when shifting gears, up or down.

As for throttle when starting from a standstill, practice with the engine as slow as possible, again getting off the pedal in half a carlength. When you are stalling the engine you’ve almost got it. Speed up just enough to keep from stalling / chattering, and get off the clutch pedal.


I agree with Tester. You need to get the clutch fully engaged as soon as possible. You never try to drive (hold it) with it slipping.


Also, never, never, never, slip the clutch to hold a hill at a red light instead of using your brakes. Sometimes, I use the hand brake to keep the car from rolling backwards while my right foot goes from the brake to the accelerator.


At first glance I’m inclined to simply agree with Tester, and his theory is sound as usual, however I’ve driven a whole lot of manuals over the last 40 years and have taught my own kids to drive manuals, and I have to point out that every vehicle engages differently. It’s really sort of impossible to critique this accurately without being there.

You always want to get the engine and the tranny fully engaged with as little slippage as possible. But I have driven badly underpowered little cars that needed to get up a few revs to have enough torque to move the car forward without stalling.