Welcome to our Driving Instructor Masterclass Series! Here – we’re taking a look at stalling - mainly how not to stall, what a stall is, and what to do if you do stall your car. If you’re a learner or new driver who is struggling when it comes to car stalling, then look no further – this article and video will cover everything you need to know and hopefully helps you when you next get behind the wheel!
What is a stall?
A stall is the slowing or stopping of a process – in the case of the car, it’s the stopping of the engine turning, and no turning engine means now power, which is why a stall cuts your car out. Stalling your car is generally nothing to worry about, it happens to us all - it’s all about knowing what to do and how to recover from a stall, and the main thing you need to do is keep calm.
Why do I stall my car?
Your car will stall generally because you’re taking your foot off the clutch too quickly and not giving the car enough power to get going. One of the first things you learn in your driving lessons is finding the ‘biting point’ of the car – this is when the clutch is just high enough that the car does that ‘dip’ and means that you’ll be able to pull forward with a bit of a gas when you release the break. All you need to do is remember that you need to find the biting point before you move your car. Over time, this will come naturally but it takes a while to get used to which is why provisional driving licence insurance is great when you're learning to drive - you can head out on the road and practise, including how to recover when you stall!
How to stop stalling your car – instructions!
- Press the clutch down with your left foot
- Make sure you’re in first gear
- Gently put pressure on the gas (not too much or your car will over rev)
- Slowly lift pressure off the clutch until you find the biting point
- Remove the handbrake and you should pull away gently
If you’re really struggling with stalling, don’t worry. One of the biggest contributors to a stall is the panic from the driver. Our expert driving instructor Chris Bensted is talking through stalling to help, he has everything you need to know in this instalment of the driving instructor masterclass! Take a look at the video below:
What to do if you stall your car
If you stall your car the first thing to do is not panic. Most people get so worked up about getting going again, they often make the same mistake which will lead to another stall. Take your time, keep calm and follow these steps:
- Apply your handbrake
- Put your car in neutral and restart the engine
- Put your foot back on the clutch and select first gear
- Check your mirrors and blind spots and when it’s safe to do so, pull away slowly.
Can you stall an automatic car?
Believe it or not – automatic cars can stall, but this is really rare. Older automatic cars would stall if they were in idle and under load – like on a hill for example. These days, modern automatic cars shouldn’t stall. If they do, it could mean there’s a problem with the engine or gearbox for example and you should get it checked out by a mechanic.