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How To Downshift a Manual Transmission
in a Stick Shift Car
Shift up at around 3000 rpm.
     Shift down at around 2000 rpm.
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Assuming you are driving a car with a synchromesh transmission,
and not a big-rig truck, then the downshift sequence goes like this:

  1. Up off the gas
  2. Clutch held down to the floor
  3. Shift lever (stick) to the next lower gear
  4. Ease off the clutch while feeding gas at the engagement point.

PS: Most modern cars have synchromesh transmissions.
PS: If you need to drive a big-rig; "GO TO A DRIVING SCHOOL."
Downshift Sequence:
Sooner or later you will have to turn a corner.
Don't panic.  Don't try to downshift while you are in the turn.
You want to downshift immediately before the turn.

If you come into the turn unexpectedly and too fast, it is perfectly
alright to apply the brake with the right foot (while downshifting with
the left foot working the clutch).  It's OK to brake while downshifting
if you need to slow the car.  
Turning Corners
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Should I shift down into 1st gear when bringing the car to a stop?
Answer: "Never,Never,Never." Never shift down into 1st gear.
     You might break the teeth off the gear.

Must I downshift when slowing the car to a stop?
Answer: You can, but you don't have to!  When I'm doing 35mph
     and I see a red light (a long city block ahead), and
     I want to save tons of gas, I just clutch and throw
     neutral.  Then I release the clutch, take my foot
     off the gas and coast to the light.  If the light
     turns green before I get there, I just clutch and
     throw 2nd or 3ed gear, feed gas, and take off.
     (saves gas, brakes and the clutch)
(Road Conditions Permitting)
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Downshifting causes the "RPM" of your engine to increase very
suddenly.  If you are already reving your engine at high rpm,
the sudden jump in "revolutions per minute" puts a significant strain
on your engine and your transmission.  

Whenever possible, try to downshift at low revs; around 2000 rpm.
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Downshifting Rule of Thumb:
Be Kind to Your Engine
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Braking vs. Downshifting
Brakes are designed to slow the car
down and to stop the car.

Downshifting functions to put the car
in the correct gear at the proper time;
and to provide additional stopping
power/acceleration when needed.
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