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How to (properly) downshift and upshift?
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Author:  YonathanZ [ Fri Apr 15, 2016 8:20 am ]
Post subject:  How to (properly) downshift and upshift?

Hi,

While I got my license on a manual car, I have since been using an automatic car (my parents'). I finally bought my own car a month ago, a manual Suzuki Swift (2012).
I almost always experience a jerky movement when I downshift, because the revs don't match. I heard it's possible to just very slowly engage the clutch to avoid the jerkiness, but I find that hard to do.

If I'm driving at, say, 60kmph, on 3rd gear, and then I slow down and switch to 2nd gear, the revs go from about 2000 to 3000. How do I sort that out? Do I apply gas with the clutch disengaged to bring the RPM to 3k and then engage the clutch? Or perhaps I'm not slowing down enough? I have a tendency to only slow down at the last moment before making a turn, so that's a bit hard to do.

Regarding upshifting, it feels smooth if I don't let go of the gas while changing gears. When I let go of it and engage the clutch, it's not as smooth.

Author:  pacapo [ Fri Apr 15, 2016 8:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: How to (properly) downshift and upshift?

It takes time, practice, and patience.
Have someone more experienced go with you and make suggestions as you drive.

Author:  suzukitom [ Fri Apr 15, 2016 1:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How to (properly) downshift and upshift?

Driving a car with a manual transmission car requires you to develop an natural instinct for what gear to be in at all times.

I remember complementing someone once for driving a manual transmission car so smoothly. As soon as I said that, the person missed a shift and 'ground' the gears. So, your brain needs to partially turn into your car's shift computer. At any given speed, you must be aware of whether you are in the right RPM range for (1) coasting, (2) decelerating, or (3) accelerating. As your brain subconsciously processes what you are trying to accomplish, your left foot will begin to depress the clutch and your right hand will move towards the shift lever to select either a lower or higher gear.

Rev matching:
Your right foot will release the gas pedal briefly during an upshift, or depress (blip) the pedal during a downshift in order to increase the RPM to match the RPM that will match the gear you selected after you complete the downshift. In both cases, the point is to reduce driveline 'shock' (what you described as jerking) by making the engine and transmission assemblies rotate at similar speeds.

It is good that younger people still have an interest in learning to drive a manual transmission car. It is one of the best traditions of driving that distinguish one as a driver, rather than a mere operator of a motor vehicle.

Author:  YonathanZ [ Sat Apr 16, 2016 1:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: How to (properly) downshift and upshift?

suzukitom wrote:
Driving a car with a manual transmission car requires you to develop an natural instinct for what gear to be in at all times.

I remember complementing someone once for driving a manual transmission car so smoothly. As soon as I said that, the person missed a shift and 'ground' the gears. So, your brain needs to partially turn into your car's shift computer. At any given speed, you must be aware of whether you are in the right RPM range for (1) coasting, (2) decelerating, or (3) accelerating. As your brain subconsciously processes what you are trying to accomplish, your left foot will begin to depress the clutch and your right hand will move towards the shift lever to select either a lower or higher gear.

Rev matching:
Your right foot will release the gas pedal briefly during an upshift, or depress (blip) the pedal during a downshift in order to increase the RPM to match the RPM that will match the gear you selected after you complete the downshift. In both cases, the point is to reduce driveline 'shock' (what you described as jerking) by making the engine and transmission assemblies rotate at similar speeds.

It is good that younger people still have an interest in learning to drive a manual transmission car. It is one of the best traditions of driving that distinguish one as a driver, rather than a mere operator of a motor vehicle.


So it sounds like I'm doing things the right way, just not accurately enough. I'll have to get used to the idea of applying gas when lowering gear (slowing down).

Author:  suzukitom [ Sat Apr 16, 2016 2:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: How to (properly) downshift and upshift?

Practice makes perfect. There is an art in blipping (quick rev) the throttle as you downshift. As the revs subside, your brain and ears tell you when to lift your foot off the clutch pedal. A perfectly timed shift is as smooth as an automatic transmission can do it and almost as quick.

Don't forget that you don't always have to downshift as you slow down, especially when you find yourself decelerating gradually to a stoplight. The key is not to lug the engine (rpm too low for smooth acceleration from the gear selected and current speed you are traveling, and/or rpm that would stall the engine as you come to a complete stop. )


Google "double clutching" for extra credit as you master this skill.

Author:  YonathanZ [ Sun Apr 24, 2016 12:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How to (properly) downshift and upshift?

Thank you. I've had a lot of practice since I've posted this, and I'm much better at it now, to the point that I'm not afraid of downshifting when I feel it's needed (like when I enter a roundabout).

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