How To Rev Engine Without Moving In Automatic And Manual Car

Want to rev your car? Can you rev your car without moving? Here's a simple guide on how to rev an engine without moving in an automatic or manual car.

While internal combustion engines are still alive, why not seize the opportunity and hear the engine roar?

There are a few reasons you would want to rev up the engine. You may do it to hear the sound of the engine or exhaust, or perhaps you want to get off the line as quickly as possible.

In some cases, revving the engine could help diagnose or even fix car problems.

Whatever the case, we will guide you on how to rev an engine, regardless if you have an automatic transmission or a manual one.

Here is everything you need to know about making your car go “vroom!”

Table of ContentsShow

Principles Of Revving An Engine

Close up of a tachometer

While there are differences in revving an automatic versus a manual, some principles are universal and applied to both types of transmissions.

The first thing to consider is to rev at an appropriate place and time when it is safe to do so. Your neighbors would certainly not appreciate waking up to you revving the engine.

People like to rev differently; some like to rev in short intervals, gradually building up toward the redline (but not reaching it).

Others prefer to rev the engine by pressing down the pedal to the metal, hitting the rev limiter at the redline, which may damage the engine (more about that at the end of the article).

Whatever way you prefer, revving an engine is like directing a symphony. It is possible to be bad at revving, which will be noticeable to other people.

The greatest mistake beginners make is that they press the gas pedal too hard, release it and then press it again at a too-long interval.

Also, please do not rev the engine when it is cold, as you risk damaging it.

How To Rev An Automatic Car Without It Moving

Automatic car transmission. Interior detail.

There are a few ways to approach this if you would like to rev your car and have an automatic transmission.

The best way to rev an automatic car is to put it in neutral (N) and press the gas pedal while simultaneously pressing down the brake pedal.

The latter is not always necessary if you are on a flat surface, but it is still recommended to prevent any movement.

Many times, people are concentrated on looking at the rev counter or have their minds somewhere else, not noticing that the car is slowly moving as it is in neutral.

Therefore, make it a habit to keep the brake pedal down when revving.

It is also possible to rev the car in park (P); the procedure is the same as when the vehicle is in neutral.

Some cars with paddle shifters allow you to momentarily switch to neutral by pressing down both paddles simultaneously, which can come in handy as everything is by your fingertips.

An important thing to keep in mind is to let the engine’s RPM go back to normal idle before putting the car into first gear or driving. If you don’t, you risk damaging the transmission, which is not cheap.

How To Rev A Manual Car Without It Moving

Car gearbox manual

Revving a manual car is easier and more common, and the reason lies in the third pedal, the clutch.

The clutch enables you to go in neutral at all times, even when driving 85mph on the highway (not recommended).

If you want to rev while standing still, you can do so by simply being in any gear, fully pressing the clutch, while revving by stepping on the gas pedal with varied pressure.

It is also possible to rev without pressing the clutch by putting the car gearshift in neutral and pressing the gas pedal.

In both scenarios, you may also engage the e-brake to ensure that the car won’t go anywhere.

While it does not cause the same damage as in an automatic, it is preferable not to drop the clutch while in gear before the RPMs go down to idle.

This would be analogous to suddenly putting the car in “D” when the car is revved up.

Advanced Manual Revving

Rev Matching

While revving the engine is very straightforward in a manual car, there are some instances where revving the engine is a bit more complicated, namely when rev-matching.

Rev matching is done when downshifting the car at relatively high RPMs to match the new gear’s engine- and transmission speed.

For example, if you are on a racetrack and driving with around 3500 RPMs in fourth gear, slowing down for a corner, you would want to downshift the third gear to still be in an effective powerband.

This would give you a significant amount of power when accelerating again.

By rev-matching, you enable the engine to match the RPMs of the new gear, providing less stress on the driveline and limiting severe weight transfer (inability to steer).

It is done by pressing the clutch pedal, switching to a lower gear, and before releasing the clutch pedal, blip the throttle and normally release the clutch.

This is not only exclusive to racing but can be implemented for everyday driving, even at lower RPMs. It will result in a smoother ride and, if done right, less wear on your transmission and clutch.

How To Not Rev An Engine

Kühlwassertemperaturanzeige kalt

Now that you know how to rev both an automatic and manual car, there are a few things that you should avoid when revving an engine.

While you may come across the internet that revving will pressurize the fluids, and make the engine oil circulate faster, which has some truth in it, you should not, at any time, rev a cold engine.

Only rev an engine that has reached normal operating temperature with all the related fluids.

If you do not, you risk damaging the internal components of the engine, as the oil is ineffective in lubricating parts when cold.

Therefore, if you are going to rev, make sure that the oil and engine have heated up. This can vary depending on the weather outside. Drive at least 30 minutes before revving to be on the safe side.

Driving car

Another thing to consider is “dropping the clutch” or putting an automatic car in drive at the high RPMs.

These two things are almost analogous to each other. But a significant difference is that you should under no circumstances put the car in drive when the RPMs are excessively high.

Dropping the clutch can be done without the incredibly high risk that the automatic has; however, it is still inadvisable.

What does dropping the clutch mean? It simply means that you rev up the engine while in gear, pressing down the clutch to viciously drop it, making your car launch.

This will affect the transmission, drivetrain, and other car components.

Another thing that you should avoid is to rev the car to the red line, which usually has a rev limiter installed to hinder even higher revs and more significant damage.

While the engineers set a good margin to protect the engine, revving and reaching the rev limiter at the red line will wear the engine components much faster.


Car Revving On Its Own While Driving Or Stationary

Revving the engine is not necessary for your everyday commute. However, sometimes you would like to hear the engine spin or listen to your newly installed exhaust.

If done correctly, revving the engine will not negatively affect your engine, drivetrain, or other car components.

Revving a manual is different from revving an automatic car, but they work on the same principle, disengage the gear in some way and press the gas pedal.

Make sure that the engine is heated to its operating temperature, as well as the engine oil. This is important for the protection of the engine components.

Avoid continuously revving at the red line, especially when the engine is cold.

If you drive a manual car, you can implement rev-matching, which will make your downshift very smooth and minimize the wear and tear of your transmission.

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Bajro Muric

Bajro is an ASE-certified master technician and car enthusiast with a love for writing and teaching. He writes about anything regarding cars, from common problems and fixes to racing.