The Clutch of the Month Club!

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Aug 01, 1991

Dear Tom and Ray:

I own a 1983 Ford Ranger with a five speed manual transmission. My question is whether it hurts the transmission in any way to start off in second gear instead of first. I was always taught to run the transmission through the full range of gears. But when I start in second, I experience quicker acceleration, and don't have to hold up traffic with the extra shifting.

RAY: It won't hurt the transmission, Ron. But it will ruin the clutch. When you start in second, the clutch slips more because you're giving it more gas just to keep it from bucking and stalling. If you want more evidence of this, try starting in third gear. You'll probably smell the clutch burning!

TOM: The least harmful way to get up to speed is to use the full range of gears (except reverse, of course). So change your ways, Ron! Or pretty soon, you're going to start getting junk mail from the Clutch of the Month Club.

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