The hill start is one of the most intimidating features for those learning to drive and indeed even for more experienced drivers. When hill starts go wrong you’ll more than likely experience one of the following:
- The car stalling
- The car rolling back
Firstly let’s have a look at why a car stalls on a hill start.
- Your car may stall on a hill start if you don’t have enough gas (accelerator). You must set the gas to at least between 2000 – 3000 revs in order to give the car the power to get up the hill.
- Your car may also stall on a hill start if the clutch comes up to fast (i.e. past the bite point) therefore not allowing the clutch plate and the fly wheel to engage smoothly.
Now let’s look at why cars roll back on hill starts.
- Your car will roll backwards if you do not apply your handbrake when stopped on a hill.
- When looking to move off again on a hill start your car will roll backward if you release the handbrake before you’ve found the bite point. This is one of the biggest misunderstandings with the hill start. Most people assume it’s the gas pedal that moves the car up the hill when in fact it’s a combination of the clutch and the gas pedal. Your car will struggle to move up the hill unless you’ve both found the bite point and set the gas to at least between 2000 – 3000 revs.
Here is the correct procedure for hill starts.
- Secure your car on the hill with your handbrake
- Clutch to the floor and select 1st gear
- Set the gas to between 2000 – 3000 revs and hold the gas pedal steady
- Slowly bring the clutch up to the bite point and hold at the bite point (NB don’t come up even a fraction higher on the bite point while your handbrake is on)
- Release your handbrake while keeping your clutch at the bite and keeping your revs set to about 2000 with your gas pedal.
- Keep your clutch coming up very slowly (about the width of a euro coin at a time) while pressing your gas pedal down slightly further to give the car more revs and therefore power and your car will start to move up the hill.
I can promise if you follow this routine you will never have any issues with your hill start again