Hand Starting a Model T Without
Breaking Your Arm
a video on Facebook showing a guy starting a Model T by pushing down on
the crank with his right hand, and then spinning it with both hands,
there were a lot of reactions from people who knew better. This was
Some guys crank like that and are lucky enough to escape unscathed. But
they're courting disaster. I DID break my arm with stupid cranking like
that, and I can tell you it hurts like Hell. I passed out on the
ground, and when I came to I drove to the hospital one-handed. Since
then I've paid attention to how you start a Model T correctly.
1 Start ONLY by pulling up on the left. NEVER go over the
top. If your car won't start that way, fix it.
2 It's better to pull with the left hand because if there
is a kickback it's likely to throw your hand out of the way so it isn't
struck by the spinning crank. The notion that you're going to pull your
right hand out of the way before that crank comes around is an idiotic
fantasy. That spin is so fast the damage will be done before you know
"But I'm not left-handed." You
don't have to be. This is not a fine motor skill like throwing a
baseball or handwriting. Just pulling up on the crank requires no
dexterity at all. It's just pulling.
"But it's awkward pulling the choke
wire with my right hand while pulling the crank with my left."
Of course it is. So don't do it. Pull the choke wire with your left
hand and pull with your right WITH THE IGNITION OFF. Then turn on the
ignition and pull with your left hand to start.
"I've been cranking this way for ___
years and never had a problem."
YET. At age 73 Karl Wallenda had never fallen off a high wire. Then he
went splat. The fact that something hasn't happened doesn't mean that
Here's how fast the kickback happens.
Note that with left-hand cranking it does no damage.
And here's safer