Is the clutch pedal really unnecessary when shifting?!

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Dec 01, 1996

Dear Tom & Ray:

I own a 1994 Ford Ranger that I use for delivering this newspaper! I often
allow my friend Vinnie to drive it. I noticed that he does not use the
clutch pedal when he drives. He says that it is unnecessary. When I asked
some other guy's opinion, he agreed. I am confused. If the clutch pedal is
unnecessary, why is it there? Is there any detrimental effect on the truck
from shifting gears without depressing the clutch pedal? -- Cyndi

TOM: Vinnie needs a dope slap, Cyndi. Here are your instructions: From the
passenger seat, stretch your left arm across the seat back and rest it just
behind his head. Then, every time he shifts without using the clutch
...BOOM! Give him a good whack in the noggin with your open hand.
Eventually, he'll get the message.

RAY: You're absolutely right, Cyndi. On some cars, it's possible -- if you
hit it just right -- to make shifts without the clutch. But it's a
daredevil maneuver. And if you make a mistake, you could chew up a bunch of
teeth in the transmission. So it's not something you want done on YOUR car.

TOM: Here's an analogy, Cyndi. Is it possible to cross the street with your
eyes closed? Sure. A lot of times you'll make it. But does that make it a
good idea? No.

RAY: I'd try the dope-slap technique, Cyndi. That's how my brother got me
to stop shifting in his car without using the clutch. Now I only do it when
I drive his car alone.

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