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Hill Starts

It would be nice if we all lived in the flattest county in the country but sadly most of us don't. So the problem of hill starts and cars rolling backwards and stalling affects most of us at some time
The most common mistakes are as follows:
  • Lifting the clutch to the biting point and then pushing the clutch down again as the handbrake is released
  • Confusing the change in the engine sound with the biting point when in fact you've come off the gas pedal
  • Bringing the clutch beyond the biting point so that the handbrake is "fighting the engine". The car wants to move but the handbrake won't let it and as a result the car stalls
  • Not applying enough pressure on the gas pedal before the handbrake is released
  • Taking your foot off the gas pedal as you bring the clutch up


  • Bring the clutch up just to the biting point so that the car just lifts slightly
  • Apply enough pressure on the gas pedal to remove the "tremble" from the engine
  • Keep both feet still
  • Release the handbrake
  • Continue to gently bring the clutch up whilst gently pushing down on the gas pedal

One of three things will happen:

The car moves forward:

  • If the car moves continue to push down gently on the gas pedal and bring the clutch up at the same speed as the gas pedal goes down

The car sits still:

  • If the car sits still push down gently down on the gas pedal and move the clutch up at the same gentle pace to create movement

The car rolls back:

  • If the car rolls back apply both footbrake and handbrake, push the clutch down and start again


  • Select 2nd gear
  • Keep the clutch down
  • Put your foot firmly on the footbrake
  • Release the handbrake with your feet still
  • Now release your footbrake and allow the car to roll down the hill
  • Slowly and gently bring the clutch up so that it engages by the time you have reached 2nd gear speed
  • Only apply pressure to the gas pedal  after the clutch has been fully released

Only use the "DOWN HILL" method when you have a good slope in front of you and you do not need to move away quickly. Stay off the gas pedal until the clutch is fully engaged

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