Skipping Gears on a Manual Transmission Is Fine

Apparently there’s some debate over whether or not it is ok to skip over gears on a stickshift car. Uh. Ok? Yeah, no, it’s fine.

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This was not a debate that I was aware of, but the ace rally staff of Team O’Neil Rally School (namely friend of Jalopnik Wyatt Knox) recently sought to bring it to a close. Wyatt is as knowledgeable and brave a driver as I know, and I have seen him pilot a car in ways that I was sure defied physics. If anyone knows what is or is not good for a car, it’s Wyatt.

And as Wyatt wisely points out, there’s nothing inherently wrong with skipping gears in a standard manual transmission. You’re not shifting with a sequential or anything, so as long as you’re going into a gear that is appropriate for your speed, you’re going to be fine.

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If you’re driving around pleasantly in third and you slow down to a speed more acquitted to first gear, you don’t need to slot your way through second to get there. You might want to rev-match slightly, giving the car a little gas so that everything lines up smoothly, but that’s all.

Again, not sure why this was a thing, but myths around how to drive are mysterious and multitudinous. Hopefully this clears that up.

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.

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DISCUSSION

sinisterblogger
sinisterblogger

Alright, new question (this may have already been addressed on this site). Engine braking - downshifting then lifting off the clutch while decelerating to slow down instead of just going into neutral and braking. Good or bad?