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  • Writer's pictureEllis Wood ADI

When to change gear.


When driving a manual car, changing gears is an important part of controlling the speed and power of the vehicle. Knowing when to change gears is crucial to ensure that the engine is not put under unnecessary strain and to maximize fuel efficiency. Here are some general guidelines for when to change gears:


  1. Starting off: When starting off from a standstill, you will usually begin in first gear. As you release the clutch pedal and press the accelerator, you will gradually increase the engine speed until you reach the point where the car begins to move forward. Once you are moving, you can shift into second gear.

  2. Accelerating: As you continue to accelerate, you will need to change gears to keep the engine running smoothly. Generally, you should shift up a gear when the engine is revving at around 2,500-3,000 RPM (revolutions per minute). The exact RPM will depend on the make and model of your car.

  3. Decelerating: When you need to slow down or stop, you should shift down through the gears. As you slow down, you should change down a gear when the engine speed drops to around 1,500-2,000 RPM. This will allow you to make use of engine braking and slow down the car without using the brakes excessively.

  4. Hill starts: When starting off on a steep incline, you may need to use the handbrake to hold the car in place while you release the clutch and press the accelerator. Once you begin moving, you should change gears as usual.


Remember that these are just general guidelines, and the exact point at which you should change gears will depend on a variety of factors, including the make and model of your car, the driving conditions, and your own driving style. With practice, you will develop a feel for when to change gears and be able to do so smoothly and efficiently.

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