Stalling a car is one of the most common problems faced by learner drivers and it’s not difficult to see why.
You may have mastered your clutch control in a controlled situation with your instructor but throw in a junction, a turn at the top of a hill or a tricky car-park manoeuvre and the added pressure can lead to loss of control on the pedals and a stall.
Add to that a queue of traffic building up behind you as you try to recover the situation and there are few things more embarrassing or stressful!
Don’t worry though, good clutch control is simply a matter of practice and before long it will become second nature.
Here we share our advice and tips for overcoming some common stalling pitfalls.
Why Does The Car Stall When I Reach A Junction?
Manual cars stall when the driver lifts the clutch too soon. This leads to the clutch plates slamming against each other, resulting in the engine cutting out and shuddering to a halt. Stalling at junctions can also occur if you try to pull off in the wrong gear.
How Can I Ensure I Don’t Stall?
If you are coming to a complete stop, such as at a red-light or hill-top junction, ensure you apply the handbrake fully to secure the vehicle. With the clutch down, choose first gear and once you are ready to go, slowly bring up the clutch until you reach the biting point.
If you are on a hill, you will feel the car lurch slightly: this is your cue to go! When you’ve got the biting point, release the handbrake and press the accelerator slowly.
Once you begin to move off, bring up the clutch smoothly and accelerate off. Smooth and steady is the way to go; don’t rush the clutch release or you risk a stall.
How Do Other People Accelerate Off So Quickly Without Stalling?
When you’re a learner driver it does seem like the rest of the world has a driving confidence that you will never achieve. It takes you an age to find your bite point and move away from a junction or traffic light while others zoom off in seconds. The key to this is planning.
Once you have braked and selected gear one, get your bite point ready so as soon as you are ready to move off, you just need to accelerate and lift your clutch smoothly.
What If I Do Stall?
Most drivers will stall their cars more times than they would care to mention and everyone was a learner once.
Don’t be flustered or rushed by the queue building up behind or people tutting or beeping at you for holding them up. If you feel stressed, you are more likely to stall again!
Ensure your car is properly secured with your handbrake, check your mirrors, slowly find your bite point and smoothly lift your clutch. Gently does it and remember it will very soon all become second nature!