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Push Start

From OCAU Wiki

Here is a basic how-to on push starting your car, if your car is Manual.

  • Note: If your car has an automatic transmission, you cannot push start it, as you do not have a clutch.



Push starting is a technique used for when your car is having trouble starting, such as a half-flat battery which prevents the starter motor from kicking right the way over, or if your starter motor isn't working, or any other reason that would prevent your starter motor from starting the engine.

Push starting works by pushing your car to a speed where the engine is going fast enough, to be engaged at speed when the clutch is taken out while the car is in a low gear, rather than by the rotational force of your starter motor turning the crank.

Steps if you are alone

First step to push starting your car, is to have either a small hill, or enough room to push it yourself, to physically push your car. A good place would be a medium sized carpark, or a straight stretch of quiet road if possible.

Once you have established that you have enough room to push your car, or a big enough hill, put the car in neutral, and switch the key to the "ON" position.

While standing at the drivers door, push the car forwards, but not too fast or it could run away from you.

While the car is rolling down the street, jump in, put your foot in the clutch, select a low gear (I use 2nd where possible, but 1st is good if your a first timer).

Quickly take your foot off the clutch, and the car will start.

A very very big tip, is to put your foot back into the clutch once started, so the car cannot stall, or to drive away if you can. Should the car stall, you have to start all over again.

Steps if you have helpers

Very similar to above, but this one is a bit easier. While your being pushed, have the car ready in gear and your foot in the clutch, and pull the clutch out quickly.

This method is alot safer, as you have control of the vehicle, where as the method of doing it yourself is a fair bit more dangerous, as there is no-one in the vehicle to keep control, should you need to brake suddenly, or steer quickly.


  • Best try and have help
  • Use as much room as you can
  • If 1st gear is too jerky, try 2nd
  • If the car still won't start, then you have a spark problem - do not try push start it again

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