How to do hill starts

How to do a hill start

Let’s assume you’re parked stationary with the handbrake applied.

  1. Push the clutch down fully and select first gear.
  2. Set the gas between 1,000 and 2,000 revs on your rev counter in your car – 2,000 if the hill is very steep!
  3. Bring the clutch up slowly to the biting point. Usually half way up, then hold your left foot still once you feel the front of the car raise. If you can’t feel a tug at the front of the bonnet, you need to bring the clutch up slightly higher.
  1. Now you have the biting point, you need to do you 360/6 point check, looking all around you. If you are on the left side of the road, finish the check over your right shoulder and make sure it’s both clear and safe to move away.
  2. As you approach your interior and right door mirror (assuming you’re on the left hand side of the road), ask yourself if you need a signal. If there is nobody there, you don’t need to signal.
  3. On your right shoulder check, release the handbrake and keep your left foot still until the handbrake has been released.
  4. As the handbrake comes off, increase the gas slightly and bring the clutch up while simultaneously pressing the gas down further. If you don’t increase the gas, you’ll need to hold your left foot on the biting point for longer.
  1. After 3-4 seconds, your left foot should be raised fully and you might need second gear at this point too. Go up a gear if the engine is sounding noisy.
  2. If you have applied a signal, check your mirrors first (usually the interior mirror and right door mirror if moving away from the left), then cancel the signal.
  3. If the car judders at any point then you either don’t have enough gas, the clutch is too high or both – clutch is too high and not enough gas.


If you bring the clutch up too quickly or don’t increase the gas as you bring the clutch up slowly then your chances of stalling will be higher.

Let’s assume you’re in slow moving traffic and your foot is on the brake.

  1. Firstly, you can use the handbrake if it helps you find your feet and avoid rolling back.
  2. If you stopped for a split second then you will need really quick and precise feet. Check your door mirrors to make sure nothing has come beside you before starting to move again.
  1. Assuming your left foot is down, you are in first gear and your right foot is on the brake, you will need to start bringing your clutch towards your biting point.
  2. When you feel a very slight tug or just before the tug, come off the brake quickly and set the gas to 1,000-2,000 revs and bring the clutch 1-3mm higher, holding the left foot there – it shouldn’t be fully up yet.
  1. If the car doesn’t move forwards and the gas is set then you need to bring the clutch up another 1-3mm.
  2. Once you feel it’s either holding its position or moving forwards slightly, you should co-ordinate both the left and right foot together like a see-saw. This means the left foot gradually comes up but the right foot gradually presses down on the gas more.
  3. Now you’re moving, recheck your mirrors and increase your speed.