Push-starting a car: How it works, and what to do

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There are several things that an make your car not start when you turn on the ignition. These could include a blown ignition fuse, a bad battery, a damaged starter motor, a poorly operating starter and so many other factors. Whatever the case may be, you can start a vehicle equipped with a manual transmission even if you do not have access to a set of jumper cables. Most times, this involves push-starting the car. Here’s how to do it:

  • Turn on the ignition
  • Engage the clutch; put into gear: press the clutch firmly to the floor, then put the car into gear. (Tip: Push-starting a car in second gear allows you to start it smoothly and without a big jolt)
  • Push the car: have some people push the car until you have achieved a speed of five or ten miles per hour. (Tip: let your friends know when you are about to pop the clutch, so they can get out of the way)
  • Release the clutch pedal slowly. Don’t be afraid to give the engine a little gas at this stage, but not too much.
  • Drive for a short distance after you feel the car start, just to make sure that the vehicle is actually running.push-starting a car


A manual transmission is designed like a direct drive system. The engine usually propels the vehicle by turning the transmission, but once it is already in motion a manual transmission can keep the engine running, due to its momentum.

When you press down the clutch pedal, the transmission is disengaged from the flywheel on the back of the engine, and it “freewheels”. The engine can rev, but the vehicle will not be propelled forward in gear. Now, when you release the clutch pedal, the clutch engages with the flywheel on the engine’s crankshaft and the transmission input turns at the same speed as the engine.

Whenever you start a car, the starter motor turns the flywheel to begin the combustion process inside the engine. Now, push-starting a car essentially makes use of the vehicle’s momentum to act in the same way as the starter motor


  1. Another lesson today.. Well done mobility..
    As more and more vehicle in the country needs push to start..

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