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.


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.

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.



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?