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The Ultimate Guide On How To Double Clutch

My best bet is that you have watched the exciting car racing film Fast & Furious. In one of the scenes, we see Dominic Toretto organizing a drag race with some drivers and Brian O’Conner wanting to join the race. O’Conner decides to raise the stakes by wagering pink slips for his ride. Though a little overconfident, O’Conner never oversaw blowing the engine of his Mitsubishi Eclipse GS and handing the victory to Toretto. After that, you hear Dom tell Brian that he should have double-clutched instead of “granny clutching.”

Pause a little. You must have wondered right there what this double-clutching miracle was all about. Well, you are not alone. This article is for you and the many thousands who would like to learn about all things double clutching.

What is double clutching?


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Double clutching, or double de-clutching as the Brits would call it, is a downshifting technique that is mostly used for race cars and commercial trucks. It is also used in vehicles which lack a synchronized manual transmission. Therefore, if you are driving a modern car, you may not necessarily need to double clutch.

Here is why double clutching may be unnecessary while driving a current car. When you shift, devices known as synchronizers aid your shifting process by matching the rotational speeds between transmission parts. The reason why the speeds between the meshing parts have to be the same is that unless all the transmission parts are traveling at the same velocity, there won’t be a smooth transition.

In other words, double clutching is crucial for smoother transitions, hence reducing wear and tear of the gearbox.

Why you need to double-clutch


First, as a car enthusiast, it is one of the coolest racing skills to master. Then as we said earlier, it is mandatory for non-synchronized transmissions, and apart from being cool, it is important in racing. Other reasons why you need to double clutch; it is still the best way of operating the clutch, in extremely cold weather, you may have to rely on double shifting for a while.

Here is an instance of why you need to double clutch.

To give you a clear visual, let’s picture your transmission as two halves. One is connected to the wheels and axle, and the other half to the engine. The gearbox is the center, and your gearing is 1:1 throughout.

You are in 5th gear driving down the streets when you spot a car ahead and would like to overtake it. At this point, your engine is rotating at 3000 rpm, and so are the other transmission parts. You want to give your engine more power by downshifting so that you may overtake. Naturally, you step on the clutch, shift to gear four, and release the clutch. Here is what happens: if the ratio of gear four is twice that of gear 5, the transmission half that is connected to the engine is rotating at 6000 rpm while the half connected to the wheel and axle is still revolving at 3000 rpm. You now have more power to overtake while driving at the same speed.

On the downside, shifting without matching revs causes wear and tear in your transmission. You can even feel the car thrust as the engine is forced to a higher rev level. If you want to get a smoother transition, this is when double clutching comes into play.

How to Double Clutch

Now it’s time to leak the most awaited secret. But before we get into that, first, you should know when to double clutch. Since we are no longer in the early 20th century when double clutching was the only way to downshift, here are some situations you would like to apply double shifting;

  • If you want to make a turn and do not want to press the brakes, you can downshift smoothly from gear four to gear two by double-shifting.
  • If you want to prolong the life of your synchronizers when downshifting.
  • ​If you want to run your car over 200,000 miles.
  • If your car’s clutch linkage fails.

Here are some easy-to-follow steps that will ensure you learn how to double clutch in no time.

  • Find a secluded area like a parking lot that is not frequented a lot. It is not hard, but just to be on the safe side, it is good to practice away from other motorists or pedestrians.
  • For starters, start in a low gear. You can accelerate, and when you get to the third gear, step on the clutch like you normally do when anticipating a shift.
  • ​As you step on the clutch, shift to neutral and then completely release the clutch.
  • ​While still in neutral gear, hit the accelerator to increase the revolutions per minute. Your target is to ensure the engine’s rpm is slightly higher than the rpm you will have when you downshift. This will help the transmission speed match the engine speed.
  • ​Release the accelerator and hit the clutch one more time (double clutch).
  • ​You can now downshift into your gear of choice.
  • Finally, step off the clutch faster than you would normally. There you go.

Now that you know the mechanics involved in double clutching, continue practicing the technique at slow speeds till you master it. You should also know that even when it comes to truck driving, double clutching remains the same, although in some cases, truck drivers have to rely on engine brakes to match the transmission with the engine speed. This mostly occurs when a loaded truck has no half gears from gear one to four. It may prove difficult or even impossible to get from the 1st to the 2nd or 2nd to 3rd gear when starting the truck on a hill. A technique called Jake shifting has to be used in such cases.

Ok, so here is a crucial takeaway: you NEVER downshift when in a drag race. If you do, then you can only kiss the race goodbye. Yeah, it was in Fast and the Furious, but it’s real-life advice: don’t shift down while drag racing.