Sorry, I have done all of those things. And I do them with out resorting to
using the handbrake. I just don't understand the problem, I have no trouble
drving my car in these condidions. I have to admit, I seldom find myslef in
these situations, except that the local supermarket driveway is a relatively
steep hill. But, I have no problem whenever I do find myself in the
situations you describe. Sorry that my life is so simple.
For some strange "cultural" reason people here in the US are very
adverse to using the hand brake. (They even call it the parking
My own wife (American) freaks out when I used it to hold her car on
the ramp to move out of the underground garage in our building. She
feels more comfortable if I hold the car using the clutch! It doesn't make sense.
Then there were my grad school roommates not being too fond on me using
the handbrake to park the car at an angle when we got a lot of snow around...
Jeff, you forgot something - you don't HAVE a manual transmission 2-ton
car that develops over 300 lb-ft at 3000 rpm.
Actually, I wasn't saying anything about my life being less simple
because of the need to use the handbrake - it's actually SIMPLER,
because of the handbrake.
Yes I do. Well, I don't know what the weight is, but the trans is a 5 spd. I
also drive a Jeep with a manual trans, and I stall it on VERY steep hills,
and I have never used the manual brake as a hill holder. Ever. I am not even
sure the manual brake on my Jeep works, but I don't care that it works or
not, I never use it.
The "manual brake" on the Jeep is most certainly foot operated to set it,
and has a lever to pull to release it.
I don't recall the weight discussion that you started. I said I have a
manual transmission in my BMW, and that I never use the hand brake as a hill
holder. You suggested that because I never use the hand brake then I must be
driving an automatic. Not only to I not drive an automatic on the street, I
also do not drive an automatic offroad. No matter where I do not drive an
automatic, I do not use the hand brake as a hill holder.
The Parking Brake in the BMW is well suited for this activity, I just don't
use it. The Jeep's parking brake is not well suited for this, but I suspect
that is more a function of my particular modified Jeep than it is of the
brake itself - the release lever is in a very cramped location next to the
The point isn't the configuration of the brake, the point is that I never
use any brake other than the one operated by the brake pedal to hold my car
on a hill.
Not a 540 specifically, but my father was in car business when I was
learning to drive, and I have driven just about every American Muscle Car
that ever came out of Detroit, and I have never found a case where I had to
use the parking brakes to hold the car in place while I was changing state
from stationary to being in motion. Only once in my life has my vehicle
rolled back and into the car behind, and in this case the car behind was
within 3 inches of me.
I played with using the parking brake to hold a car, and I attempted to show
my daughter the technique as an alternative to the method I actually use,
and my method works better for me and her than using the parking brake as a
My mistake, you said I don't have a two ton car with a manual transmission,
I read that to mean you must have though that I drive an automatic. I do
have a two ton car with a manual transmission, and I have owned some with
300 hp. I don't see hp as an issue here. Indeed, hp would be an advantage
where one opted to not use the parking brake as a hill holder.
Fine. Bring yours over and I'll drive it.
I can always shift into N and free up the clutch foot to work the brake, so
it is silly to suggest that it is impossible. It might not be easy, and it
might take talent, but it aint impossible. I obviously HAVE the talent
because I can work the brakes and clutch to keep my car where it belongs
I'm amazed such practices are allowed in your driving test. Using the
handbrake as a 'hill' holder' on a manual is near universally the way
taught round the world as the safest way - or at least it is for all I've
asked. Perhaps readers of this group from other countries might comment?
I'm not saying alternative methods can be developed - as with many things
after passing the test = but this doesn't make them the safest way for all.
*Never put off until tomorrow what you can avoid altogether *
Dave Plowman email@example.com London SW
I'll enter the fray as a newbie to the group - have an '05 330Ci on the
ship coming to the West Coast of U.S.
I've never used hand brake as a hill holder. Am 62, license since 15.
Driven everything from MG's, Jags, Jeeps, Buicks, almost you name. I've
never so much as nudge a vehicle behind me. I know this is only an
anecdotal data point.
Perhaps, the hand brake business is easier for those just learning to
drive and so the "approved" method for some license exams?
Oh, should add I'm not a flatlander. At present reside in hilly Seattle,
WA. Driven many, many times in San Francisco, which also is known for its
hills. I typically get well beyond 100K miles before any clutch work.
Last car, and Audi Quattro, had 185K miles on the clock when clutch was
replaced. Disk was still fine, it was the "fingers", essentially its
pressure plate release that went bad.
Before the days of ECU controlled idle speed, you'd stall most cars - well
certainly something like an MG - on a steep hill if the idle speed was set
correctly buy holding it on the clutch. Unless you 'heel and towed' it to
increase the idle speed. Which to me seemed like hard work - given you'd a
convenient hand operated brake that would easily hold the car on near any
*Ever stop to think and forget to start again?
Dave Plowman firstname.lastname@example.org London SW
I should have been clearer. I NEVER hold a car on a hill with the clutch,
only the brake pedal. When it's time to go it's just a matter of knowing
when your clutch take up begins, moderating the throttle, and letting go
On Wed, 16 Mar 2005, Dave Plowman (News) wrote:
Sorry Jon, but I don't see how you can "...moderate the throttle and
THEN let go of the brakes".
In a manual, your left foot is normally only on the clutch pedal or not
engaged. Your right foot would be on the throttle or the brake pedal
unless as Dave says, you "heel and toe" - but you can't do that with
most cars let alone Jeeps and Buicks. There are some "racers" who also
left-foot brake but I somehow doubt you'd go to that extent with a
Buick or Jeep and in any case, if your left foot is off the clutch and
on the brake, you won't be able to moderate the throttle effectively
because the clutch is fully released and you'll stall the engine if you
try to feather the throttle at the speeds you need to affect a slow
The problem with not using the handbrake is that there is always some
roll-back caused by the time lag between your right foot leaving the
brake pedal to apply the throttle. With a heavy car on a steep hill,
the rollback can be a few inches if you're not fast enough. Not
everyone is - that's why the Brits fail people who don't use the
handbrake - it's the sensible and safe thing to do. Everything else is
What kind of Buick was it that had a manual transmission?
I grew up and learned to drive in Barcelona, Spain. The canonical way
to start in an uphill is using the handbrake as well, although many
people don't use it with varying success. My own mother, not the
adventurous type at all when it comes to driving, religiously uses the
handbrake method to get in motion in the many really steep streets around
their place in the city.
As I mentioned before, I've been living in the US for a while and
people here don't know how to use their handbrake, Even in places like
San Francisco where it works well. The fact that most cars are
automatics is largely the explanation, IMHO.
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