Can You Skip Gears

The manual transmission has been around for a long time and in many circles, this transmission is considered the dinosaur of the automotive world. Even so, there are advantages to having a manual transmission attached to the engine and for those that spend time at the track, this is typically the preferred setup to give them the ability to control and feel what the car is going to offer on the road. This brings up the question of whether or not you can skip gears in either direction in a manual transmission vehicle.

Going Upward

As you move through the gears in an automatic transmission vehicle the gearing will only move sequentially. There are some manuals that are sequential as well, but this simply resembles an automatic. In a typical manual transmission, which has the shifting that closely resembles an “H” you can choose any gear you want for the drive. This is one of the greatest advantages to this type of transmission, but you need to know what can happen when you choose the gearing and make your selection the one that isn’t in the exact shifting order that you expect.

Skipping a gear on the way up through the gears is actually not a bad thing to do at all. You can move from second to fourth, first to fourth and so on without too much trouble. What you do need to understand is that at higher gears the engine revs lower so you need to perform a rev matching on your own in order to make sure the gear you choose is matched to the engine. If you don’t you’ll feel a slight lurch in the vehicle as the two match up, but overall, it’snot going to hurt your vehicle much at all.

Going Downward

If you have a digital display in your automatic transmission vehicle, you can see how the transmission shifts downward when you’re ready to pass the person in front of you. This is called downshifting and it’s a valuable way to receive some immediate acceleration for passing, but you need to make sure your vehicle can handle the downshift and you know how to do it the right way. Keep in mind the fact that your engine is running at lower RPM when in a higher gear, which means you’ll need to get it up to the right RPM for the lower gear before shifting.

Downshifting takes practice and if you don’t do it right you could lock up the wheels in your car and you can certainly end up causing unnecessary clutch wear when the gears attempt to match the revs of the engine. When performing this action you’ll need to push in the clutch, rev the engine to the gear you need, shift into the lower gear and release the clutch. This will give you some immediate acceleration for the passing you need to do, but it’s an action that can cause you to wear out some of the parts of your car quickly.

Starting in a Higher Gear

Can you start your car in a higher gear? The right answer is “Yes you can” but you really shouldn’t. Only under extreme conditions where the roads are slick and you need to avoid wheel spin should you start in second gear. Second gear is the highest gear you should ever start at, but you’re better off starting in first gear as often as possible. Even this action can cause you to deal with unnecessary clutch wear and have to replace parts sooner than you would normally. Take a look at the video below and learn more about skipping gears.


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