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Clutch control

Video on clutch control.

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Clutch control in the city Clutch control in traffic uphill

Clutch control is controlling the speed of the car when driving slowly (below 5mph) with the clutch and gas pedal.

Clutch control is one of the hardest parts to master for most people when they're learning to drive a manual/stick shift car. You'll feel at one with the car once you've mastered it though and in complete control of the car at slow speeds.

Watch our video above on clutch control as we demonstrate when it would be used on hills, creeping up to and out of junctions and in slow moving traffic.

You'll also be using a lot of clutch control during the reverse manoeuvres such as parallel parking.

Practice the following somewhere quiet where you'll be left alone.

The biting point.

It's important to get used to where the biting point is in your car.

To find the biting point:

1. Press the clutch down
2. Select 1st gear

3. Press the gas (accelerator) to get the revs up to around 1 and a half on the rev counter (more if moving off uphill or no gas for moving off downhill).

Remember: Pressing the gas will not necessarily make you go faster but it will help the car not stall. You'll only move off fast if you release the clutch quickly with gas.

4. Raise the clutch slowly until you feel the biting point. You will know when you've got the biting point as the back of the car will dip down slightly and the engine sound will change. When you feel it, keep the clutch still.

How to do clutch control.

Once it's safe all around, signal if needed and release the handbrake, but keep your feet still.

The car will now move. Raising the clutch slightly (about the thickness of a pound coin) will make the car move slightly quicker. Lowering the clutch down (again, about the thickness of a pound coin) will slow you down and that's clutch control.

Raising the clutch completely with a little gas will allow you to drive on and accelerate if required.

When you feel confident, practice clutch control on a hill and in traffic or creeping at a junction.

This is just a rough guide to clutch control, it's not a replacement for good quality driving lessons with an instructor.

Video on how a clutch works

Driving test
Moving off & stopping
Clutch or brake first? How to change gear
When to change gear When to change gear - hills
How to steer
Clutch control
How to avoid stalling Hill starts
Bus lanes
Pedestrian crossings Meeting traffic

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