MYTHS AND MYSTERIES: CAN STALLING A CAR DAMAGE AN ENGINE?
Driving a manual transmission vehicle is a skill worth having, but it’s not as universal as riding a bike. Indeed, every clutch pedal is different: the engagement point can be low or high, and the force needed to clutch in can range from “light press” to “leg press”. It’s difficult to jump into an unfamiliar vehicle and graciously take off on the first try. Stalls happen. Embarrassment might ensue — but is a stall bad for your car?
HumbleMechanic, one of the Internet’s favorite mechanics, says not to worry. Though stalling a car can be a traumatic experience, it’s highly unlikely that internal engine components will suffer from a stall, he says in the video below.
However, in our experience, stalling a car isn’t the problem — trying to save it at the last second by overcompensating on the accelerator or clutch pedal can lead to violent bucking, and on older vehicles, this can place unnecessary stress on motor mounts or transmission mounts. In severe cases, repeated drawn-out stalls can add stress to the driveline and loosen components that might be wearing from old age. Hamfisted operation of the clutch pedal can often lead to slipping, which wears away the consumable clutch lining, shortening the life of the clutch. A smoking clutch also emits a burning scent that can fill an interior — a nauseating stench that sometimes takes days to dissipate.
To avoid damage from a car stall, it’s a good idea to exercise the clutch pedal while the car is off to get a sense of the stroke distance and leg pressure necessary to actuate the clutch. When taking off for the first time, gently breathe off the clutch as you ease into the gas. If you feel a stall coming on, don’t try to save it by compensating with more gas or less clutch, which can lead to bucking: decisively clutch all the way in without stopping, or let the stall happen naturally.
If you have an interesting manual transmission vehicle, we want to see it! Use the #PullAPartLife hashtag on Instagram to show us your car, and follow @PullAPartAuto.
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