With the wide proliferation of cars that come with automatic transmission nowadays, it seems a bit redundant to know how to shift gears in a car. That is, fewer people are interested to know what it takes to drive a car with manual transmission. However, it goes without saying that a skill like this is a must if you’re a budding motoring enthusiast. Also, knowing how to shift gears in a car will definitely come in handy when it comes to renting a car on vacation. Most rental cars come with manual transmission and are cheaper than those with automatic transmission.
With manual transmission, the first gear that you engage allows you travel from 10 to 15mph. if you want to go any faster than that, you will need to engage second gear. Second gear is considered a versatile gear because the car can be driven at a virtual crawl or up to 25mph when it is engaged. When bumper-to-bumper traffic is encountered, keeping the car in second gear allows you to give your brakes some relief.
Of course, the faster you want to go, the higher the gears you need to engage. The speeds at which these higher gears should be used vary from one car to another. Therefore, it will take practice before you become accustomed to the gears on your own car. In general, third gear is suitable for driving in cities and towns, though you will have to re-engage first gear when you come to a stop and have to start up again. Driving on highways calls for use of the highest gear you have.
Learning how to shifts gears shouldn’t be a fearsome exercise. The point is to recognize, from the sound of the engine, when to shift up a gear when you’re accelerating. The RPM gauge also helps you time your gear shift. If the car is going faster than the gear can provide, you will hear a whirring sound that is higher pitched than before from the engine. This indicates a gear change is required. The RPM gauge usually reaches 3000 to 3500 RPM when you have to shift to a higher gear.
To shift up a gear, lift your right foot off the gas pedal completely while fully depressing the clutch pedal with your left. The engine will immediately sound quieter and the RPM will drop down to an idling rate. With the clutch still depressed, pull the shift lever from first to second gear. With this done, release the clutch pedal gradually and smoothly while steadily depressing the gas pedal at the same time. Continue driving, shifting to higher gears as needed.
To slow down, fully depress the clutch pedal and shift to a lower gear. The brakes should be tapped and not stomped on with full strength.
Learn more on how to drive a car.