Always step on the clutch when starting your car.

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Apr 01, 1992

Dear Tom and Ray:

Here is my question. If you own a car with a manual transmission, which is better; starting the car with the clutch out and the shifter in Neutral, or pushing in the clutch while you start the car?

RAY: You know, Donald, not everyone takes the time to think about important issues like this. But I'm glad there are still a few of us around. I mean, the last time we got a letter about this issue, it was from some guy named Frederich Neitzche.

TOM: Actually, Donald, it's a very good question. And there are two good reasons why you should always step on the clutch when starting your car

RAY: First of all, it makes the car easier to start. When you push in the clutch pedal, you disengage the clutch. That action "disconnects" the engine from the trans?mission. So when you start the car--which is hard work--you're only turning engine parts, and not transmission parts, too!

TOM: That's especially important when it's cold out. In cold weather, the oil thickens, and makes everything even harder to turn.

RAY: But starting the car with the clutch pedal pushed in is just as important in the warm weather, too. If you want to know why, go look at the six foot wide hole in my brother's garage door that's strikingly similar in shape to the front end of the Mazda Miata he was testing last week.

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