Driving Useful tips

Tips on How to Start Your Car on a Hill Road


Hill start is a driving technique that proves to be difficult for beginner drivers.

That is because these drivers have concerns such as, “Is the car being stopped by the engine stop?” “Am I being a bother to the driver in the back?” “I am afraid the car will not go up and will hit the car at the back instead...”

We will give you the tips on how to start on a hill road for both automatic and manual cars.

What to Avoid in Hill Start

The situation that you absolutely want to avoid is when you fail to start and the car goes down the hill.

In that situation, it is very dangerous since there might be a car or people behind your car and it could cause a really bad accident.

In Case of Automatic Car (AT)

For automatic transmission or AT cars, the car engine does not stop working on a hill due to the structure of the transmission that allows it to connect the gear automatically which is a good thing for beginners.

In automatic cars, there is the creep feature that allows the car to move forward slowly even though the accelerator pedal is not touched at all.

If it is only a slight slope, this feature cancels out the gravitational force; therefore the car will stay still on it.

However, if the slope is a steep one, as the creep`s force will lose against the gravitational force, the car will start to go down the hill, creating chances of accident.

Utilizing the Brake

Utilizing the brake using your left foot is the key point to avoid going down the hill.

Normally, people use their right foot for both accelerator and brake pedals. But when the car is on a hill, it is advised to use left foot for the brake pedal.

As a start to move the car up the hill, gradually step on the accelerator with your right foot. When the car starts to move, slowly release the brake pedal that you stepped on earlier.

Using this method, the car will not go down, and the car will start off smoothly without any sudden acceleration.

In Case of Manual Car (MT)

For manual transmission or MT cars, the different thing with automatic cars is that there one more pedal to think about called the clutch pedal.

If you were on a flat road, the car will gradually stop when you step on the clutch. But if you were on a hill, you have to use the brake in order to stop your car, or else it will go down.
The car has 3 pedals, while we only have 2 feet to use. So, it is quite difficult to start a manual car from the stopped state.

Utilizing the Side / Hand Brake

In this case, there is the side brake (Some call it the parking brake or the hand brake) that can be operated by hand. So, even with only two feet, we can pass the hill well using this brake.

Here are the steps to do a hill start while you are in stopped state on a slope:

  1. Step on the brake pedal with your right foot firmly, and step on the clutch to set the gear to 1st gear.
  2. Pull up the side / hand brake. If you pull it up weak, the car will go down the moment you release the foot brake. So pull it up firmly.
  3. Confirm whether the car is standing still or not after you pulled the side brake alone. If so, slowly release the right foot from the foot brake.
  4. Take your right foot to the accelerator, step on the accelerator until the engine speed reaches 3000 rpm (rotations), and slowly release the clutch on your left foot.
  5. The engine tachometer will go down and the car will start to move forward. In that moment, release the side brake and slowly step on the accelerator at the same time. As you release the clutch pedal, the engine power will be transmitted to the tires.

If these 1 to 5 operation can be carried out smoothly, the hill start will go smoothly as well, without any shakiness.

If you are planning to practice, first try it on a gentle slope where fewer cars passing through or slopes where cars don’t come. As you keep practicing and start to get the hang of it, you will be able to start a manual car on a slope smoothly.

It is impossible to avoid hills when you are driving around the town. If you are bad at hill start and let it as it is, you will be afraid of driving in a town and it will be dangerous.

Use these tips and let`s overcome your fear of hills.

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