What happens if you drive without clutching?

I wouldn't recommend it...

42w ago

24.3K

For those of you who only drive a car with two pedals let me quickly explain what the clutch pedal does. The clutch is the third pedal by your feet and its job is to allow you to change gear.

When you press the clutch pedal down, the plates come apart separating the engine from the drive wheels allowing you to change gear. Bringing the pedal back up re-engages the plates which in turn connect the engine to the drive wheels and off you go again. It is really very simple.

But, what happens if you were to drive without using the clutch pedal at all? Well, this is possible, but I would not recommend it, especially if you have any mechanical sympathy whatsoever.

By putting the car in first gear before you turn the car on will mean you launch forward as soon as you turn the key. From there you can change gear in a very crunchy and unsatisfying way. Please do not try this...

Here is a great video explaining what happens. I am afraid it isn't in English but switch the subtitles on and you'll be fine. But if it starts reading "clutch licking" instead of 'clutch kicking' then be wary. Very wary.

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Comments (23)

  • It is possible to go up and down the box quite smoothly by matching engine speed and “feeling” the gear in.

    Paddy Hopkirks Montecarlo Mini was capable of full throttle, clutchless changes with its straight cut gearbox.

      9 months ago
  • Quite easy to do actually and can be done without any damage or consequences to your gearbox. Disengaging the clutch removes the engine input from the gearbox thereby reducing/removing pressure from the gears. Once the target gear is turning at the same speed as the drive shaft the selector will drop into the target gear without any crunching, jerking or grating. This can be achieved for both upshifts and downshift. If you are unsure of the correct speed of everything in your gearbox you can rest your hand on the gear level and hold it against the next gear and when the shafts are turning at the correct speed it will just drop in.

    Clutchless shifting has been the "norm" for truck drivers for decades and those gearboxes last well over 500,000 kms.

      9 months ago
  • Not recommended, unless of course you have endless money for multiple transmissions

      9 months ago
    • If you are smooth enough. You won't lunch the box.

      Speaking from experience where our clutch was distroyed. And we had a 2k km trip through a desert with a 2 tonne trailer to get to a dealer.

        9 months ago
  • I once drove my Audi Coupe from Edinburgh to Birmingham with a snapped clutch cable. It's all about mechanical sympathy and matching engine speed to road speed and desired gear. Don't think I crunched a single change. If you get it right it's as smooth as using the clutch. No problem, no damage at all.

      9 months ago
  • I drove from the Lake District to South London with minimal clutching due to a badly sprained ankle. This was about 30 years ago. It was in a tough-as-boots Suzuki Samurai. Not too difficult once you learned all the change points.

      9 months ago
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