Is using the clutch to hold my car on the hills burning it up?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Dec 01, 1997

Dear Tom and Ray:

Please help me settle a little dispute I have been having with my gorgeous bride
for some time. It is the only blemish on an otherwise perfect marriage. She
insists that using the clutch to hold a car on a hill -- like while waiting for
a light -- will not injure the clutch. I claim it will, and that she shouldn't
do it. Her rationale is that her father taught her that way, so it must be OK.
Trust me, the last thing you want to do is come between a woman and her ideas of
her perfect father. But what about my clutch? -- David

TOM: David, you're absolutely, 100 percent, unequivocally right -- on both

RAY: You're right that by using the clutch to hold the car on hills your wife is
burning through that thing faster than my brother burns through a box of frosted

TOM: The proper procedure is to keep your right foot on the brake until you're
actually ready to go forward. Then push in the clutch, shift into gear, switch
your right foot from the brake to the gas, and let the clutch out quickly.

RAY: But if you're not confident that you can do that, or you're in a situation
where rolling backwards even a few feet is a problem (like when you're just
uphill from Vinnie the Legbreaker's Cadillac), then you should use the "parking
brake method." After you stop at the top of the hill, you apply the parking
brake. Then, gently take your foot off the brake pedal to make sure the parking
brake will hold the car. When the light turns green, you push in the clutch,
shift into gear, let out the clutch and give it some gas. And as you feel the
car beginning to pull forward, you release the parking brake with your hand, and
you shouldn't roll backwards at all.

TOM: So you're absolutely, 100 percent right about the clutch issue, David.
Unfortunately, you're also 100 percent right about not coming between a woman
and her image of her perfect father. It's a definite no-no. And since your
marital happiness is much more important than a few dozen little bitty extra
clutches over the course of your lifetime, you're just going to have to grin and
bear it.

RAY: But look on the bright side, David. Keeping your mouth shut in this case
will bring you undying affection from both your wife and the mechanic who gets
to sell you all of those clutches!

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