Push start

Push start
The Honker II, which is a midget racing car getting a push start by a Toyota Landcruiser at the 144th Wagga Wagga Show.
Attempting to push start a motorcycle.

Push starting, also known as bump starting, pop starting or crash starting is a method of starting a motor vehicle with an internal combustion engine by engaging the manual transmission through the motion of the vehicle.[1] The technique is most commonly employed when other starting methods (automobile self starter, kick start, etc) are unavailable.[2]

The most common way to push start a car is to put the transmission in second gear, switching the ignition on, applying the clutch, and pushing the car until it is at a speed of around 5 to 10 mph (8 to 16 km/h). This can be done by one person on a motorcycle, or with a car or truck if they are strong enough and/or the car is light enough and/or the vehicle is facing down a hill; a heavier vehicle requires help if not on a hill. When at speed, the clutch is quickly released. By pushing the car, the wheels make the gearbox rotate, and by engaging the gear with the clutch, contact is made between the wheels and the engine, which may make the engine start by the power of the turning wheels (as the engine's starter would normally do). As soon as the engine can be felt and heard starting, it is advisable to again press in the clutch to prevent the engine stalling, or the vehicle jerking out of control. A too slow rolling speed may result in the engine not being able to start.

If the vehicle's battery is severely discharged, the push starting technique can be unsuccessful, as the battery may not be able to provide sufficient voltage for the ignition system to function (or in the case of a diesel engine, to preheat the glow plugs, although this will not generally prevent starting altogether but just make it much more difficult). Also vehicles with an electronic engine management system will not start if the battery does not provide sufficient voltage to operate it. In such cases, recharging the battery or attempting a jump start is a better option.

Push starting a car is typically only possible in manual transmission vehicles, as automatic transmissions usually depend on pressure generated from a pump driven off the input side of the transmission to operate the gear selection mechanism. With the engine not running, this pump is inoperative, so the transmission remains in neutral and cannot transmit drive to the engine. Even if this was not the case the poor performance of the torque converter at transmitting torque in the reverse direction would require the vehicle to be moving at an unreasonably high speed for the technique to work. Most vehicles with automatic transmissions cannot be started this way because the hydraulic torque converter in the transmission will not allow the engine to be driven by the wheels (some very old automatic transmissions, e.g., General Motors' two-speed Powerglide transmission, have an extra pump on the output shaft which can power the transmission's hydraulics, and cars equipped with such transmissions can be push started).

In the early 20th Century, many motorcycles could only be push started; the 1908 Scott was distinguished by introducing a kick starter feature.[3] Excelsior Motor Company's Welbike, intended to be carried by paratroopers in World War II, was designed to be started only by push starting.[3]

See also


  1. ^ [1] Driving Tips - Workshops
  2. ^ [2] AskMen.com - Push-start car
  3. ^ a b Walker, Mick (2006), Motorcycle: Evolution, Design, Passion, JHU Press, p. 32, 45, ISBN 0801885302, http://books.google.com/books?id=AHSlknpjrgAC&pg=PA45 

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • push-start — v [T] to push a vehicle in order to make the engine start >push start n …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • push-start — pushˈ start transitive verb To start (a motor car) by pushing it while it is in gear noun The act of starting a car in this way • • • Main Entry: ↑push …   Useful english dictionary

  • push-start — UK / US verb [transitive] Word forms push start : present tense I/you/we/they push start he/she/it push starts present participle push starting past tense push started past participle push started British to push a car in order to make it start… …   English dictionary

  • push-start — verb (T) to push a vehicle in order to make the engine start push start noun (C) …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • push-start — verb (T) to push a vehicle in order to make the engine start push start noun (C) …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • push-start — verb start (a motor vehicle) by pushing it in order to make the engine turn. noun an act of push starting …   English new terms dictionary

  • push-start — /ˈpʊʃ stat/ (say poosh staht) verb (t) 1. → clutch start (def. 1). –noun 2. → clutch start (def. 3) …  

  • push start — A procedure of starting a vehicle with a manual transmission by pushing the vehicle with another vehicle or by the power of several strong people or by coasting downhill. Once sufficient speed is obtained and the clutch is disengaged (the pedal… …   Dictionary of automotive terms

  • push-start — verb To start a motor car by pushing it (in neutral) and engaging a gear when it has sufficient velocity …   Wiktionary

  • push — v. & n. v. 1 tr. exert a force on (a thing) to move it away from oneself or from the origin of the force. 2 tr. cause to move in this direction. 3 intr. exert such a force (do not push against the door). 4 intr. & tr. a thrust forward or upward.… …   Useful english dictionary

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