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#1 11-01-08 20:32:48

Sophia
Member
Registered: 01-11-06
Posts: 11

Fascinated with the accelerator

Hello everyone,

I drive about with my Dad and it is really improving my confidence, but I still dread stalling, which happens now and then. I am petrified of stalling in a busy road and that seems to make me stall.

I observed that the harder I push the accelerator, the less likely I am to stall, is this my fancy or does it actually have some grounding in practice?

Also, when driving about at high speed, I find that changing gears is a lot smoother compared with 1st and second gears where the clutch needs a bit of careful work not to stall the car. Why is that?

Finally could anybody give me some tips on how to make quick decisions on whether to just ease off the accelerator or brake and go down the gears?

Many thanks in advance.

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11-01-08 20:32:48

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Re: Fascinated with the accelerator




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#2 11-01-08 20:54:09

Luchell
Verified Member
From: Salisbury
Registered: 12-06-07
Posts: 1,661

Re: Fascinated with the accelerator

Hi Sophia, i see you started driving back in november 2006 ish, have you ever been out with an instructor? If not perhaps that would make life a little easier. Reading your old posts it seems you have been working with gears etc  have you done much driving practise now with your Dad?

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#3 11-01-08 20:58:30

Sophia
Member
Registered: 01-11-06
Posts: 11

Re: Fascinated with the accelerator

Hello Luchell,

Yes, I was driving with an instructor a while ago, I did about 25 hours I think but then I stopped and went away travelling. I got back to driving a month ago with my Dad this time. Am not sure if it was wise to take such a huge break but I did not really have much choice.

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#4 11-01-08 23:55:47

gday
Verified Member
From: Oxfordshire
Registered: 27-04-05
Posts: 531
Website

Re: Fascinated with the accelerator

I observed that the harder I push the accelerator, the less likely I am to stall, is this my fancy or does it actually have some grounding in practice?

Pressing Harder on the accelerator will not in general terms help you avoid stalling. It may prevent it in certain circumstances for example when trying to move off up hill, or up a slope you do need to press harder on the accelerator than you do on the flat because the car needs more power to move it from stationary than it does on the flat.

The crucial bit to avoid stalling is the clutch control, some people pull the clutch up a bit to high as they are about to move off. Are you used to finding the biting point? ie having set the gas (pressing the accelerator) and having engaged 1st gear make sure that you have brought the clutch gently up until you feel the car start to gently pull forward and the bonnet rise. If when you pull the clutch up you hear a sort of grinding noise or the sound of the revs drop then you are bringing the clutch up just a fraction to high. The difference is really quite small but if you feel that just very gently push the clutch down about the width of a pound coin or a mm or 2.

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#5 12-01-08 00:04:12

gday
Verified Member
From: Oxfordshire
Registered: 27-04-05
Posts: 531
Website

Re: Fascinated with the accelerator

Also, when driving about at high speed, I find that changing gears is a lot smoother compared with 1st and second gears where the clutch needs a bit of careful work not to stall the car. Why is that?

You are absolutely right that at higher speeds gear changes are generally smoother ie you do not have to be quite so careful with the clutch.

If you get it wrong with the higher gears all that really happens is that perhaps the change is not as smooth as it could be, you may feel a jolt or it may feel a bit "lumpy". However if you are in a high gear and slowing down their will reach a point when the car will labour and then stall, so you either need to change down at that point or if you are stopping put the clutch down slightly earlier than if you were stopping in a lower gear ie if the car starts to judder / shudder the clutch needs to go down. If you are stalling in 2nd gear then the car is going too slowly for 2nd gear.

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#6 12-01-08 00:18:07

gday
Verified Member
From: Oxfordshire
Registered: 27-04-05
Posts: 531
Website

Re: Fascinated with the accelerator

Finally could anybody give me some tips on how to make quick decisions on whether to just ease off the accelerator or brake and go down the gears?

In general terms you should be easing off the accelerator to start with and gently braking until you have decided whether you are going to stop or go.

The stopping or going depends on the individual road, traffic conditions and how much you can see.

So the trick really is early and effective observations while you are slowing down, this is something that for most novice drivers takes practice and you learn with experience.

On a big, fast road when there is good clear vision and not much traffic easing off the accelerator may be enough. On another occasion you may need to ease off the accelerator, Brake a bit and change the gear before proceeding, so it is really a matter of assessment and continued assessment of each situation as it changes and develops.

So the Key really is your early obeservations, planning your approach and anticipating what other driver are going to do.

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#7 12-01-08 07:47:40

Sophia
Member
Registered: 01-11-06
Posts: 11

Re: Fascinated with the accelerator

Thanks a bunch g'day. that helps quite a lot.
Yes, I do generally stall more often when moving uphill, I have no problem moving off on level roads. I know I have to press the accelerator more than usual, but when it starts making that revving noise, I get nervous and wonder if am damaging the engine.

I am used to finding the biting point yes and I have no trouble judging when I have struck it, the problem lies in the fact that I hesitate for a fraction too long. Am not sure whether the problem is that I lift the clutch too abruptly or do not accelerate enough. Am still learning to synchronise my feet movements between the two pedals, it does not come naturally to me.

Is it OK to accelerate as hard as possible just to give myself more focus energy to concentrate on my clutch control when moving up hill?

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#8 12-01-08 08:13:28

Dimmy
Guest

Re: Fascinated with the accelerator

If you can accept that in most modern vehicles, petrol or diesel, the driver can get the car moving without touching the gas, then you have to accept stalling is a fault with clutch control and not gas control.

The clutch is a means of transfering the power of the engine to the road wheels.

Consider this for a moment.

You are stood behind a van that you need to push along the road.
Imagine your legs are the engine and your shoulder is the clutch.
If you ran towards the van and shoulder barged it, what would be the likely result?
Probably, you bouncing off the van with a very bruised shoulder and the van sitting still.
Now try leaning against the van (we'll call this the bite, as it is the moment when your shoulder is supplying enough power to hold the van still), and gradually lean harder with your shoulder. What would be the likely result?
Probably the van will gradually start to roll forward.
Your legs are supplying the same amount of power, but it is how you gradually lean harder with your shoulder that gets the van moving. If you lean to harder too fast and your feet will probably slip and you fall over. graduate how much you lean and the van starts to roll and then pick up speed as you lean a little harder in increments.

So, when moving off, "lean" against the car with the clutch by finding and holding the clutch at the bite. Once at the bite, Raise the clutch about a thickness of a £1 coin and KEEP YOUR FEET STILL. The car will start to roll forwards. Once a little momentum has been gained, raise the clutch in increments to make the car accelerate. (KEEP THE GAS STILL, it is the CLUTCH that is making the car accelerate at this point and not the gas. The gas is supplying power, the clutch is increasing the speed).
If you simply find the bite and then raise the clutch too quickly or too far, it will have the same effect as leaning too hard against the van, but instead of your feet slipping on the road, the engine will stall.

The amount of gas required depends on the road conditions such as camber and hill. For normal level roads I generally advise setting gas at about the thickness of 2 £1 coins.  (a steady purr from the engine should be heard).
For steeper hills use 4 £1 coins but the trick to move off smoothly on a hill still remains with the clutch and not the gas.
On a hill, hold the clutch at each increment longer than you would for moving off on a level road.

I hope the above is useful and gives you something to practice with your dad.


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#9 12-01-08 09:08:02

EKAL
Verified Member
From: East Kilbride
Registered: 23-04-06
Posts: 1,050
Website

Re: Fascinated with the accelerator

the thickness of 2 £1 coins.
For steeper hills use 4 £1 coins

or use the rev counter wink


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#10 12-01-08 09:26:10

Zipper
Verified Member
From: Darwin, Northern Territory Aus
Registered: 20-08-04
Posts: 2,696
Website

Re: Fascinated with the accelerator

Re the gears:
The lower gears are slow but strong, the higher gears fast but weak (that simplifies it a bit but it's an easy way to think of it).

Any roughness on the controls (clutch & accelerator) in a low gear seems to be magnified as the engine has a much stronger "pull", thus the car can be jerked around more.

Ever noticed how the lower gears have more acceleration & deceleration but are slower than the high gears, which allow the car to travel much faster but the engine feels weaker.

I think I'd better leave it at that before I blow a brain fuse.


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#11 12-01-08 09:32:27

Sophia
Member
Registered: 01-11-06
Posts: 11

Re: Fascinated with the accelerator

Thanks a lot guys, it is starting to coalesce slowly, so it is not as much the gas as the clutch when moving up hill. OK, but how do I know how much gas is enough then? Any known rev counts range to aim for or does it depend on the car and fuel used?

Also, can anybody give me some info on how to look after the engine please? Just practical things to get into the habit of doing to preseve the engine and keep the car in good condition. For example, I asked earlier about the potential damage of over-revving the engine, is there any risk of damage associated with that?

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#12 12-01-08 18:16:46

EKAL
Verified Member
From: East Kilbride
Registered: 23-04-06
Posts: 1,050
Website

Re: Fascinated with the accelerator

Any known rev counts range to aim for or does it depend on the car and fuel used?

it will depend on the car and/or type of fuel, my Mazda 3 range is around the 1 to 1 1/2 for moving off on the leval, and between 2 & 3 for hills


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#13 16-01-08 14:09:38

dog
Verified Member
Registered: 29-10-06
Posts: 813

Re: Fascinated with the accelerator

Be careful when moving away when giving lots of gas. If you let the clutch out too fast with a lot of throttle you will most likely lose traction and you'll start wheelspinning. In a front wheel drive vehicle this isn't too bad, since all that the wheels will do is pull you in the direction they are spinning, but in a rear wheel drive vehicle you could end up putting the car at a VERY awkward angle. Like this, but with not as much power. The driver in this car controlled it well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKVkHXGhuyA

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#14 16-01-08 16:40:58

gs1974
Guest

Re: Fascinated with the accelerator

but how do I know how much gas is enough then? Any known rev counts range to aim for or does it depend on the car and fuel used?

Don't get too bogged down with the rev counter. Listen to the engine.

I often find pupils who watch the rev counter then start trying to adjust the gas to get a certain 'number' (the car is revving when this happens), and if coming off it too much coincides with the clutch coming up a little too far - and new drivers take time to get that fine tuned - you can end up stalling it anyway.

Set the gas to a nice engine purr and keep your foot still, then find the bite and keep that foot still. Then, when moving off, gently apply more gas as the clutch comes gently higher to maintain the same engine sound (or more if you need to move away a little more quickly). Make sure you don't start bringing the clutch up before you start increasing the gas otherwise it could still stall. And don't just lift the clutch all the way - get the car moving slowly, then faster, then faster still using the gas-bite-gas-bite-etc. process. Practice makes perfect, and remember that the amount of gas you set doesn't have to be precise - as long as the engine doesn't sound as if it is trying too hard.

What you're doing is maintaining the revs as the weight of the car is gradually transferred to the engine, which would slow it down to a possible stall if you didn't. But just not doing it 'by numbers' from the rev counter.

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