How to Hand Crank an Engine


While most modern engines are based on an electrical ignition system, older models that don't have such a system are still in use. These engines require you to crank the engine before use. The electricity generated as you crank is used to ignite the engine and power it on, requiring more manpower than an electric ignition.

  • Set the emergency brake of your car and place it in neutral. Disengage the clutch if you can.

  • Lift up the lever on the side of the engine to the top to slow the sparks down.

  • Set the choke and throttle on your vehicle to the levels stated by your manufacturer. Turn on the fuel level if needed.

  • Grasp the crank loosely with your hand.

  • Rotate the crank clockwise, making sure to only pull upward, never downward. Continue until the engine starts.

Tips & Warnings

  • Avoid getting caught by the crank by wearing tight-fitting clothes.
  • Remove any jewelry you may have before starting the engine.
  • Do not grip the crank too tightly as you turn.

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