Car Pedals (Full Details!)

Last Updated on January 18, 2023 by Leepu Da Maxim

The pedals are a very important piece of equipment for a car that has a manual transmission. Usually, a car with a manual transmission has 3 pedals on the floor of the driver’s side of the car. The three paddles are the accelerator, the foot brake, and the clutch. These pedals control the power and speed of the car.

Key Takeaways

  • If you want to increase the speed of the car then you have to press the accelerator pedal down
  • When you press the accelerator pedal down, it increases the engine’s RPM and improves the car’s speed
  • In order to slow down the car you have to press the brake pedal so that the brake pads press against the rotors to slow the wheels
  • A clutch pedal is required in manual transmission vehicles to disengage the engine from the transmission

Car Pedals

Car PedalsDescription
Manual TransmissionRequires a clutch
Right PedalAccelerates the vehicle
Center PedalBrakes the vehicle
Left PedalAllows the vehicle to shift gears
Automatic TransmissionDoes not require a clutch
Right PedalAccelerates the vehicle 
Left PedalBrakes the vehicle

What Are The 3 Pedals In A Car?

A car is simply a machine that is intended to make people’s lives easier. Like any other machine, a car has certain controls that are operated voluntarily by people. In this case, pedals are used to control certain parts of the vehicle. The three typical pedals in a car can be found next to the driver’s feet.

Specifically, these three pedals are used to be able to control the speed and power that each vehicle can offer. Therefore, it is necessary to learn how to use them correctly and above all to learn how each one of them works. Those people who do not use the pedals cannot go anywhere with a vehicle. So, the clutch, foot brake, and accelerator are important.

1. Accelerator Pedal

In all types of vehicles, we can find the accelerator pedal located at the right end of the pedal assembly. In all cases, all these pedals are always located close to the driver’s feet. So, the right foot should always be used to operate the accelerator pedal. The design of the driver’s cab is of little interest here.

There are vehicles where the driver must sit in the front seat on the left. In other countries, too, the driver is usually placed in the front seat to the right. In either of these two options, the accelerator pedal will always be located on the far right. Thus, it is a design that is part of the international convention, as is the case with the lights on a traffic light.

In many cases, the throttle allows more air to enter the engine. In this way, the air combines with the fuel to form the mixture that the engine needs. This specific mixture is what generates the combustion that will then be transformed into power and speed for the vehicle. So, the harder the accelerator is pushed, the more power the vehicle gets.

So, novice drivers should refrain from pressing the accelerator too hard. In this regard, many traffic accidents occur when novice drivers press too deeply on the accelerator. In particular, it is a very sensitive pedal that controls one of the most important aspects of the vehicle, i.e. power.

Drivers are for everyone to mention that maintaining proper and efficient control over the accelerator pedal is always important. When a driver wants to gain speed, the accelerator pedal should be depressed smoothly. A hard press on the accelerator can also cause the vehicle to accelerate too sharply. 

The best way to control the accelerator successfully is to keep the heel of the right foot on the floor of the car. Also, the forefoot and toes of the right foot are used to gently press the accelerator.

In no case should this part of the right footrest be on the accelerator. When this happens, the weight of the right foot can inadvertently accelerate the vehicle for the driver. However, the accelerator pedal requires the other pedals to function properly.

2. Foot Brake Pedal

Vehicles with a manual transmission require a gearshift lever and three pedals. So, with this vehicle design, it is possible to find the foot brake pedal in the middle. So, whenever it is a manual transmission vehicle the middle pedal will be the foot brake pedal.

The moment a driver uses this foot brake pedal some lights will come on at the rear of the vehicle. These lights are important so they should always be in good working order when a driver uses a vehicle. In particular, these lights are designed to be able to alert drivers coming behind the vehicle that is braking.

When these lights are missing, then drivers behind do not know the moment when a driver decides to brake. In these cases, when the lights do not work, a large number of easily avoidable traffic accidents can occur. Not only is their design important here, but it is also important that these lights work properly at all times.

To be able to use the foot brake pedal, it is also necessary to use the right foot. Thus, the right foot alternates between the accelerator pedal and the foot brake pedal. The design of these two pedals is not random, as it has a certain direction. This prevents the driver from using the accelerator pedal and the foot brake pedal at the same time.

Using these two pedals at the same time only causes inconvenience and possible damage to the engine. Besides, the foot brake pedal should not be used abruptly, as is the case with the accelerator pedal. Using the foot brake pedal abruptly can result in excessive braking of the vehicle.

Even on wet or slippery roads, using the foot brake pedal abruptly can be a serious mistake. When there is a wet and slippery road the abrupt braking will allow the car to start skidding. Of course, this can easily throw the vehicle out of control. At best, this situation will result in a minor traffic accident, damaging the vehicle and incurring expenses for the driver. 

On the contrary, the foot brake pedal should be pressed gently to brake in a controlled manner. In turn, this allows one to better think about the next move or to allow other drivers to pass first at a road or street junction. To use the foot brake pedal, the heel of the right foot must be in the same position as before.

The heel of the right foot remains in the same position, while only the rest of the foot moves. In this way, the driver can more easily alternate between the accelerator pedal and the foot brake pedal. It is also important to mention that the foot brake pedal is not the only instrument for braking the vehicle.

The emergency brake or the parking brake is also available. However, the foot brake pedal is the most commonly used pedal along with the other pedals for daily driving.

3. Clutch Pedal

Vehicles usually include different gears to deal with the wide range of speed and power of a vehicle. To access each of these gears, the gearbox is required to operate with different components. One of these components is the clutch that is included in vehicles with manual transmission.

As its name indicates, manual transmission requires the intervention of the driver to operate. This is why the driver must use the shift lever in combination with the clutch pedal. In this way, the driver can upshift or downshift depending on whether he/she is upshifting or downshifting.

Shifting Gears In A Vehicle Is Relatively Simple When These Steps Are Followed:

1. Depress The Clutch: In general, it is necessary to press the clutch in without depressing the accelerator pedal. Some drivers may make the mistake of depressing the clutch pedal incompletely or halfway. This can lead to strange noises and minor damage to the gearbox.

2. Using The Shift Lever: With the clutch pedal depressed, the driver can move the shift lever into the desired gear. In most cases, it is recommended to upshift or downshift sequentially. So, most of the time it is a mistake to skip a gear. An example would be to be in gear two and go directly to gear 4.

3. Not Depressing The Clutch: A very common mistake of beginner drivers is to release the clutch pedal abruptly or too fast. This undoubtedly generates inconveniences and the engine can easily stop. To avoid this, it is necessary to make a smooth transition between the clutch pedal and the accelerator pedal.

As the driver slightly releases the clutch pedal, the accelerator pedal must also be depressed at the same time. The exact transition may be different for each make or model of vehicle. However, this transition is always present to be able to change gears.

It is also not recommended to press the accelerator while the clutch pedal is fully depressed. This does not generate engine speed or power. Keeping the clutch pedal fully depressed is the same as selecting neutral gear in the vehicle. In either case, the accelerator pedal fails to provide power and acceleration to the vehicle. 

Additionally, vehicles that include an automatic transmission usually do not need the clutch pedal. Therefore, in these cases, the driver will only have two pedals in total. On the right is always the accelerator pedal, while on the left is the brake pedal. Of course, this provides a more comfortable ride by not having to deal with the clutch pedal.