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When you start your car there is the moment the clutch engages.

I think there is no single English word for it.

Maybe another English word is 'moment of engaging'.

How do you say this in French? Probably French has a single word for it.


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I think "démarrer" is the word you are looking for :"démarrer la voiture".

I don't know all the technical terms  and the names of all the components of a car (either in English or French ) but "démarrer la voiture" is a common phrase.

Thanks George

Demarrer uses when  you start the car, I think

My question  is on the words 'the moment the clutch engages'.

Of course the moment the clutch engages is starting the car.

Maybe other people will look at my question.

Well " Engager l'embrayage"  seems to be a  direct translation for "engage the clutch". I am not sure how common an ezpression it is but  neither  is "engage the clutch"  that common either.

Will that do?

Hi George and Crack.

Sorry but, all of you are making an error. In France, cars with automatic gears box are rare ( even if some modern cars have a hybrid system between old French cars and American cars ).

The precise moment, after that you have turned on the engine for displace, is “passer une vitesse”. So, you have to push your clutch pedal with your left foot in the same time that you are moving the gear lever towards the first gear position. And, if you want that your car moves back in a way to leave the carpack area, you must to engage the “marche arrière”. In this case, we say “passer la marche arrière”.

I hope that I well answered to the initial question.

Have a lovely day and don't drive too fast... ;-)

Hi !

Yes we do !

I think the word you are looking for is "patiner" ( = skating)

We indeed have a majority of manual gear in France. When you want to move a still car (engine working) you have to push the clutch pedal at maximum, then engage a gear, and then slowly release the clutch wile pressing the gas pedal with synchronization.  That precise moment is called "Point de patinage" and the verb is "patiner".

The first gear slowly engage and the car starts moving forward.

Each type of car/engine as a different "point de patinage" which means the proportion gas/ clutch changes from a car to another making it difficult for beginners drivers to use an unknown car.

If you screw up the proportions the car will stall or jump forward  :)

If you purposely maintain the car a long time at the "Point de patinage" your clutch will overheat and smell like a roasted pig...(+ risk of damage)

The "point de patinage" is applicable every time you change gear while driving, but it's way much easier when the car is moving rapidly there is no risk to stall. 

NB: Automatic gears are dealing with the "Point de patinage" trough a computer who knows exactly how to manage the good clutch proportion according to how you push the gas pedal. They are also facing troubles when the car is still if the driver doesn't push enough the gas, that's why automatic cars always move forward on their own while on "D" to anticipate any lack of the driver the car already engage  a little % of the first gear = a little % of the "point de patinage" =  a little % of the engine power = enough to never stall. 

Consequence: the car is moving forward with this little part of the engine power if you don't push the break pedal.

When you put the car on "N" (Neutral) the Clutch is disconnected from the engine = no movement.

My father drives an automatic but I personally prefer manual gears. I find the automatic too slow to respond and not very efficient regarding gas consumption... I now drive a 4 wheel drive SUV with a powerful engine to pull a trailer with two horse inside = 2 tons. I would not trust a computer to manage my clutch with so much constraints...

Annnnnnnnnnnd that was all my knowledge in mechanics lol

Thanks Sandra

It was an excellent reply.

... computer who knows exactly how to manage ...  INCORRECT

... computer which knows exactly how to manag ...  CORRECT

I know French always use either que or qui.

Yes ,frighteningly good  :)


You didn't notice the tiny error I made.

... computer who knows exactly how to manage ...  INCORRECT

... computer which knows exactly how to manag ...  INCORRECT


.. computer which knows exactly how to manage ...  CORRECT

We all make mistakes . For example Sandra   misspelled  "brake" (les freins) as "break"  ("to break" actually means "casser") and "through" as"trough"  (as in "pigs in a trough"). 

I would also replace " a still car" with "a stationary car"

"two horses"  not "two horse"

"so many constraints" and not "so much constraints"

There are some more  English mistakes   but Sandra  answered your question  regarding gear changes in French and in France, Crack1  :)

Thanks !

I'm really sorry for the mistakes, I tried to re-read myself before posting but many thing escaped my check :x

If it's any consolation I'm not much better at writing French lol !

In fact English is my working language as I work in all Europe but I rarely use it with native English speakers = We all tend to ignore accords and details as long as we understand each other leading to very bad habits.

In fact Crack1 it's not  true we can use "que" or "qui" equaly, the main problem  is that "it" doesn't exist in French as we don't make any difference between persons and things. My car is a "she"  and my computer is a "he" that's why I wrongly use "who" if I don't pay attention...

Un ordinateur qui sait gérer exactement ( There is no reason to use "que" here)  => a computer who knows exactly how to manage... (my mistake).

Are you from the US ?

Is it true there are really no manual gears in the US ? Even Trucks ?

probably the foreign cars made in the US give u the option of manual transmission but it might be that they import the car.  i think my grandfather had a US car that had manual transmission but he changed the gears from the steering wheel.  school buses probably still have manual transmission.  they did when i was in school.  i don't think trucks have it.  

actually, u should use "computer that knows..."

better still would be "computer that's able to manage..." or "computer that can manage..." a computer doesn't really know anything cuz it's a machine, not a person.  


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