Tips on Driving a Manual Jeep Wrangler

by Derek Odom
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Driving a manually shifted Jeep Wrangler can be challenging, especially if you are new to stick shifts or operating the vehicle off-road for the first time. Good clutch work can make or break getting over an obstacle on the trail. On the street, practice makes perfect, and before long you'll find you don't even have to think about shifting the gears.

Stay Flat

Before you tackle taking off on a hill in your Jeep Wrangler, make sure you first have a good feel of the clutch and where the gears are on flat, straight streets. Driving in heavy traffic can really throw you off until you are experienced—stay on empty streets for a while. Also, it is not recommended for a novice to drive on wet or slippery streets because precise clutch work is necessary. If the vehicle loses traction things can get dangerous quickly.

Gas On, Clutch Out

Give the Jeep a bit of gas so you hear the engine RPM go up, and slowly let the clutch up until the vehicle begins to move. At that time you can gently apply pressure on the gad pedal while letting the clutch out at the same rate. When the clutch is fully out and your foot is off the pedal, the Wrangler is fully engaged in gear and you are free to accelerate. Once the engine's RPM level reaches about 3,000 (for those who have Jeeps without tachometers, you'll have to play it by ear), it is time to let your foot off of the gas pedal and depress the clutch pedal. Shift the Wrangler into second gear, and then the process starts all over again.

Clutch Foot on Floor

Driving with your foot resting on the clutch pedal is a bad habit to get into. Doing this might result in you inadvertently depressing the clutch so that the disc disengages slightly and slips, which will quickly ruin it. Once the Jeep is in its final drive gear and you are cruising, take your foot off of the clutch pedal and rest it on the floor. It may seem scary at first as if there is a lack of control, but that is an illusion. If you need to stop quickly your foot will find the pedal.

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