How to Drive a Stick Shift - The Other Gears
2nd thru 6th gears:
With a modern synchromesh transmission, shifting these gears is easy!
Here's what to do:
- Feed gas to 3,000 rpm
- Come off the gas, and depress the clutch to the floor
- Shift up to the next higher gear
- Come up off the clutch, feeding gas at the engagement point
Step number four will take only one second.
In these gears, engaging the clutch is not sensitive as it was in 1st gear.
That is because the wheels are turning, and you are not fighting inertia.
The clutch will slip right in, easy as pie.
So comes the inevitable question.
"When to Shift Gears ?"
In general, it's a good idea to shift at 3,000 rpm on the tachometer.
If you look at the tachometer, you will hear a loud crumpling sound
as you crash into a tree. Or you may hear just a light thump, if you
happen only to hit a small child. Better to keep your eyes on the road.
How then, will you know when to shift?
By the sound of the engine! You can hear the engine "rev."
The sound tells you it is time to shift up into the next higher gear.
In order to learn to interpret the sound of the engine, it will be
necessary, only at first, to check the tachometer.
Do not "look" at it. Rather, flash your eyes on it for no more than
one tenth of a second. It takes only one second to go through
a red light and crash into another car.
Trivia question: What does "rpm" stand for?
It stands for "revolutions per minute."
"3,000 rpm" means that the engine crankshaft is turning
3,000 complete revolutions (revs) every minute.
So now that you know exactly when to shift,
comes the inevitable question:
"When should I shift?"
Sounds funny, but 3,000 rpm is not written in stone.
This is not an automatic. You are driving the car. You get to decide
what you want the car to do.
Do you want to drive for performance? Or, do you want better gas
mileage? Do you want your engine to last a long, long time, with a
minimum of repair bills? Perhaps you are driving in wet, icy conditions
and you want maximum stability.
How you drive will depend on what you want out of your car,
and how much money you are willing to put into maintenance.
NASCAR Drivers demand extreme performance from their cars.
However, they never drive the same car twice! After each race, the
car is rebuilt from the ground up. At the next race that car is
They have corporate sponsors with deep pockets who pay for it all,
just to see their names splashed across the hood of the car.
If you habitually red-line your engine before shifting to a higher gear,
your engine will not last long. On the other hand, if you drive like the
little old lady who comes out only on Sunday, you'll miss out on the
enjoyment of stick-shifting.
The majority of drivers adjust their driving style according to the
current conditions and challenges which the road presents to them.
Here is a cool animation of a
synchromesh transmission actually
You don't need to understand how
it works, although some of you
might be interested.
All you need to know is that it
makes shifting the gears really
easy. It does this by matching the
speed of the spinning gears to
the speed of the engine.
Before synchromesh you had to do
this manually by a process called
Today only eighteen wheeler trucks
and race cars utilize double clutch
gear boxes. Modern street
machines employ synchromesh
Notice that the range of the gears overlaps. This means that at certain speeds
you can drive in either gear. Dealer's choice!
Take gears "A" and "B" for example. At the speed at which they overlap,
if you drive at the top of "A," the engine will "rev" high and loud, and give you
plenty of torque. The price you pay is in engine wear and gas mileage.
If you drive at the bottom of "B," the engine will "rev" low and quiet, and give
you less torque. You will be in overdrive, where engine wear is minimal and gas
mileage is maximized. Your actual speed in miles per hour will be the same.
Notice the "sweet spot" in the middle of the gear. This is a very efficient
place to be. From here you can accelerate without shifting up. And, you can
slow the vehicle without down-shifting. The "revs" are neither too high,
nor too low, saving wear on the engine and on the clutch. Here you get
average power and average mileage, without excessive wear and tear.
So! When should you shift? You decide.
Thats part of the fun of driving a stick shift car.
Disclaimer: This website is intended for mature adults, over the age of 18, who have passed
their state driving test, and who possess a valid driver’s license in the state in which they
reside. And, who are currently driving an automatic automobile successfully in traffic. If you do
not meet these requirements this website is not for you, please disregard anything you see on
this website. Automobiles are inherently dangerous, and have been known to kill and maim.
You are responsible for the successful and safe conclusion of this endeavor and any actions you
might take as a result there of. If something sounds unreasonable to you, don't do it!
Copyright 2010 2DriveAStick.com. All rights reserved.
Diagram of Gear Overlap
Now that we know how to shift up the gears, it
is time to talk about down-shifting.
Click on the link below: