Double Clutching is one of those phrases that sounds cool, but not many people actually know what it means, when it applies, and what actually happens.
In this article, we will discuss what double clutching is, how to do it well, and more. Let’s dive in!
What Is Double Clutching?
Double clutching is the term for when a driver uses the clutch pedal twice during one shift between gears. The first time you use it, you are in neutral and the second time you use it, you will be in gear.
Let’s check out an example!
To change from one gear to another, you would do the following:
Push the clutch pedal once so you slide into gear.
Then, push the clutch pedal down to slide out of gear into neutral.
Finally, double-clutch by pushing the clutch pedal down in order to slide into the next gear.
It couldn’t be simpler!
When Is Double Clutching Best?
If you’re going through a series of gears that have similar speeds (like going from 1st to 2nd), then double-clutching can help save some wear on your engine. It also helps keep your RPMs lower which means less fuel consumption.
However, double-clutching is not always necessary for cars, since you can find synchronizers that will mess the input and output shafts, and gears, together in pretty much every manual transmission in every passenger car.
Additionally, it is always a good idea to double-clutch if you drive a big semi-truck. Generally, this type of truck does not have any synchronization in its transmission, so here, double-clutching makes more sense than in a car.
Especially when you consider how many gears an 18 wheeler has, double clutching can be a big part of driving a manual transmission semi truck.
Improving Your Double-Clutching
While double-clutching is a simple process, it can take a while to get the hang of, especially if you’re a new driver. It is not as easy as driving a regular car, and both of your feet must work in harmony to make it a smooth and simple process.
A helpful tip we have for double-clutching is to listen to your revs. This is especially true if you find yourself on a hill.
If your revs are too low, when you go to ease out on the clutch you may find yourself lugging the motor – and nobody wants that!
So, your revs must be high before you ease out on the clutch. This way, you will not cause the semi-truck to stall.
While attempting to do this, if you face resistance then you know you are doing it wrong. Remember, it should feel like a smooth, simple process, and there should be no resistance felt at all.
The Clutch Brake
What does the clutch brake do? Well, it slows down the transmission the correct amount so the driver is able to slide into gear smoothly.
When a driver pushes the clutch down completely (to the floor), this engages the clutch brake.
It is only necessary to engage the clutch brake when you need to move the vehicle after a dead stop.
It is also helpful to know that when you’re double-clutching and going down a road, you only need to push the clutch about three-quarters of the way.
You do not want to push it all the way to the floor. If you do this, then the clutch brake will burn out, and you definitely do not want that to happen!
The Clutch Pedal
The clutch pedal can be difficult to navigate. Every truck has different clutch springs, and these springs work to both disengage and engage the clutch.
So, if you do not apply the correct amount of pressure, say you do not apply enough or you apply too much, then you will grind a gear, which you definitely don’t want to do.
You also don’t want to suddenly hit the clutch pedal so it slams on the floor because this will activate the aforementioned clutch break.
So, the best thing to do is ease the clutch pedal in and out slowly and practice this until you find the perfect balance between the two.
This is a trial and error process, so do not feel too disheartened if you don’t get it right the first time.
Additionally, when you let the clutch pedal up, you need to take caution not to dump it. Dumping the clutch pedal is when you release the clutch and let the engine spin freely.
This is not what you want to do! The reason why is because you will lose control over the truck, and you could end up spinning out of control!
So, you need to avoid any quick leg movements and concentrate on steady easing in.
Practice Makes Perfect
As previously mentioned, this is a trial and error process that can take some time to get right. The most important thing you can do to improve your confidence and skill with double-clutching is to practice and feel your way around it.
Additionally, it is important to remember that every semi – truck is different, and what works for one will not work for another.
This is good to know when transitioning between different trucks – your newfound technique may not work for your new semi – truck, and this is okay!
Just don’t forget to trial and error the double-clutching process until you get it down to a T, and then you can drive on the roads with ease!
Double-clutching is something that more inexperienced truck drivers feel intimidated by, but this is not a necessary feeling! Double-clutching can be difficult to do, and it is important to get it right, but it does take time!
The most important thing to remember is that double-clutching is a trial and error process, that you may not get right straight away, but will come with time.
Just remember to follow our tips above, and any tips from more experienced truck drivers, and you’ll be shifting gears as smooth as butter in no time!
We hope this article answered any questions you had on double-clutching!