Here's What a 'Clutch Kick' Is

Gif: Team O’Neil Rally School (YouTube)

A clutch kick is a brief stab of a manual transmission car’s clutch pedal, to briefly raise the revs when you need to tap into a little extra energy but don’t want to downshift. Wyatt Knox from the Team O’Neil Rally School explains how to do it, and why, in this video.

This is not the kind of driving technique you want to use on the reg, or really at all on the street. Obviously. On hard pavement, it does shock load your driveline so use clutch kicking sparingly if you don’t want to wear the pieces between your engine and your wheels, and be wary of letting the revs get too high before reengaging the clutch.


In a rally situation, mainly on snow or gravel, you can use clutch-kicking to raise your engine’s revs as you momentarily disengage the clutch, and then reengage for a little power boost.

As you can see, it’s also a pretty solid way to initiate a drift when you don’t have a load of horsepower. I also kind of like Michelle Westby’s demo on dry pavement:

In her example, a little clutch dip with steering plus consistent throttle is a pretty easy formula for a slide.

Anyway, the clutch kick is almost as ancient as the manual transmission itself, but it’s also the kind of thing a lot of people have heard of but ever heard explained. So hopefully some of you were enlightened by the snowy driving demonstration, and the rest of you at least enjoyed watching it.

Jalopnik Staffer from 2013 to 2020, now Editor-In-Chief at Car Bibles


Ok where are all the insecure people who dont know how to drive saying “modern auto can do anything a manual can”?

Sure, untill you actually want to control the car on a loose surface. Stick shift can do extra things and the face that most people don’t know what those things are doesn’t mean they aren’t real. Ignorance is only truth to the ignorant. Also if it wasn’t for this trick getting up hills on a dirt bike would be a lot more annoying.

But sure, in the hands of a professional on a smooth track the fastest porshe is an auto so the stick must be totally dead and pointless. Keep telling yourself that.