Can you really ever gear change too much? Watch

ohhello92x
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Hi all.

Just wanted to ask something that’s been bugging me for a while. I’ve passed my driving test around 2.5 years ago. Haven’t driven in around 9 months due to an accident, and not having the funds to get a car, and getting over the accident, etc.

Anyway, in the past my mum has always said I apparently ‘gear change too much’ and she’s also recently said it when I mentioned that I was planning on getting some driving lessons to rebuild my confidence again. TBH I didn’t really query into it when she said it recently as we were out having something to eat, and didn’t want to cause a scene/argument. No one apart from my mum has ever commented on my gear change when I had my old car.

So my question is, can you really ever gear change too much? I’m just baffled that I’ve had that comment thrown at me by mum, but I’m genuinely curious if one can really do that....

(Also, I’m not wanting to get into an argument about this, but just want everyone’s thoughts. Also sorry if I’ve posted this into the wrong section )
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kelefi
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Well in my experience if you're changing gear for no apparent reason then it is of course too much, but if your gear corresponds to your situation then it's fine. e.g. if your speed varies a fair bit then your gears will need to be shifted correspondingly.
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ohhello92x
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(Original post by kelefi)
Well in my experience if you're changing gear for no apparent reason then it is of course too much, but if your gear corresponds to your situation then it's fine. e.g. if your speed varies a fair bit then your gears will need to be shifted correspondingly.
Yeah I completely agree. I mean, I feel I only gear change when it’s needed. Even in the days of when I was learning to drive nothing was ever mentioned by the instructor I had and when I took the practical. So idk if it’s possible if my mum is just being a typical mum and just criticising or something. I’ve had my dad in the old car with me when driving and has never said anything about gear changing, so idk just confused as she’s never actually gave examples of when I’ve apparently done so :dontknow:
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PTMalewski
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(Original post by ohhello92x)
So my question is, can you really ever gear change too much? I’m just baffled that I’ve had that comment thrown at me by mum, but I’m genuinely curious if one can really do that....
Gears should be changed depending on five factors:

1. Engine characteristics
2. Current RPMs
3. How quick acceleration or deceleration do you need
4. Are you going on flat ground, hillclimbing or descending
5. Is the car heavily loaded or not.

How to interpret that:
1. Every engine reaches maximum torque and maximum power at different RPMs. Generally speaking, when accelerating gently or going uphill you should use RPMs up to those of maximum torque. When you're going stable speed, it's better to stay a little lower. In gasoline engines you should usually maintain rpms between 2-3k when driving gently.

2. From what has been said above, you can conclude you actually need to monitor RPMs to know if you need to shift-up or kick-down.

3. If you don't need to accelerate quickly you should maintain low-rpms, as has been said above. But if you need rapid acceleration, eg. when accelerating on a slip-road, you should kick-down to get engine rpms between those of maximum torque and maximum power. To get maximum acceleration you should be going full throttle up to rpms of maximum power, and only then shift up. That way your engine produces much more power, but also, because you're using the lower gear, that has shorter ratio, engine rpms are converted to produce even more torque at the wheels. That combined gives you much better acceleration.

On the other hand, the engine also serves as a brake. The higher the rpms, the more rapidly engine will decelerate your car when you get your foot off the throttle. This is usefull especially in the mountains, when using brakes only can cause brakes to overheat and result in brakes failure.

4. Generally when you hillclimb, you might need slightly higher rpms, closer to those of maximum torque of your engine.
When you're going downhill, everything depends on how fast do you want to go. If you want to acceleate, you can shift up to a very high gear, like even 5 or 6 and then your call will accelerate downhill without using the throttle. As a result you will accelerate using no fuel, as ECU will detect negative load and cut fuel injectors off.
If you wish to decelate, you shuld stay on a lower gear, or you might even wish to kick down, to get higher engine rpms, and then get stronger braking effect from the engine. You will still save fuel, as ECU will detect negative load, and cut off the fuel.

5. Well, as above. I think it's obvious now.
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ohhello92x
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(Original post by PTMalewski)
Gears should be changed depending on five factors:

1. Engine characteristics
2. Current RPMs
3. How quick acceleration or deceleration do you need
4. Are you going on flat ground, hillclimbing or descending
5. Is the car heavily loaded or not.

How to interpret that:
1. Every engine reaches maximum torque and maximum power at different RPMs. Generally speaking, when accelerating gently or going uphill you should use RPMs up to those of maximum torque. When you're going stable speed, it's better to stay a little lower. In gasoline engines you should usually maintain rpms between 2-3k when driving gently.

2. From what has been said above, you can conclude you actually need to monitor RPMs to know if you need to shift-up or kick-down.

3. If you don't need to accelerate quickly you should maintain low-rpms, as has been said above. But if you need rapid acceleration, eg. when accelerating on a slip-road, you should kick-down to get engine rpms between those of maximum torque and maximum power. To get maximum acceleration you should be going full throttle up to rpms of maximum power, and only then shift up. That way your engine produces much more power, but also, because you're using the lower gear, that has shorter ratio, engine rpms are converted to produce even more torque at the wheels. That combined gives you much better acceleration.

On the other hand, the engine also serves as a brake. The higher the rpms, the more rapidly engine will decelerate your car when you get your foot off the throttle. This is usefull especially in the mountains, when using brakes only can cause brakes to overheat and result in brakes failure.

4. Generally when you hillclimb, you might need slightly higher rpms, closer to those of maximum torque of your engine.
When you're going downhill, everything depends on how fast do you want to go. If you want to acceleate, you can shift up to a very high gear, like even 5 or 6 and then your call will accelerate downhill without using the throttle. As a result you will accelerate using no fuel, as ECU will detect negative load and cut fuel injectors off.
If you wish to decelate, you shuld stay on a lower gear, or you might even wish to kick down, to get higher engine rpms, and then get stronger braking effect from the engine. You will still save fuel, as ECU will detect negative load, and cut off the fuel.

5. Well, as above. I think it's obvious now.
That is true
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siamsam
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In my experience I find myself changing gears much more often when driving a small engined petrol car than a larger engined diesel. What car did you learn to drive in? What car does your Mum own?
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ohhello92x
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(Original post by siamsam)
In my experience I find myself changing gears much more often when driving a small engined petrol car than a larger engined diesel. What car did you learn to drive in? What car does your Mum own?
Fair enough. I owned a petrol running car (Ford Fusion) before I scrapped it. I was learning in a Corsa, then the instructor changed cars just before I sat and passed my test..I think the car he got now is a Citeron (think I’ve spelt that wrong, never really took note of the make of the car as I only used it on test day). My mum owns a BMW, it’s an auto though (she can drive manual, but she prefers driving automatics )
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It's****ingWOODY
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In terms of fuel economy and driveshaft and clutch health, yes you can.
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ohhello92x
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(Original post by It's****ingWOODY)
In terms of fuel economy and driveshaft and clutch health, yes you can.
Almost forgot about the fuel economy
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PTMalewski
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(Original post by It's****ingWOODY)
In terms of fuel economy and driveshaft and clutch health, yes you can.
Fuel economy is more likely to suffer if you change gears too rarely, while clutch and driveshaft don't suffer anything if you make changes properly.
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It's****ingWOODY
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(Original post by PTMalewski)
Fuel economy is more likely to suffer if you change gears too rarely, while clutch and driveshaft don't suffer anything if you make changes properly.
Sure, but that's not to say you can't change too often either. Too often would generally mean changing when you probably shouldn't.
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Dysf(x)al
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(Original post by ohhello92x)
Hi all.

Just wanted to ask something that’s been bugging me for a while. I’ve passed my driving test around 2.5 years ago. Haven’t driven in around 9 months due to an accident, and not having the funds to get a car, and getting over the accident, etc.

Anyway, in the past my mum has always said I apparently ‘gear change too much’ and she’s also recently said it when I mentioned that I was planning on getting some driving lessons to rebuild my confidence again. TBH I didn’t really query into it when she said it recently as we were out having something to eat, and didn’t want to cause a scene/argument. No one apart from my mum has ever commented on my gear change when I had my old car.

So my question is, can you really ever gear change too much? I’m just baffled that I’ve had that comment thrown at me by mum, but I’m genuinely curious if one can really do that....

(Also, I’m not wanting to get into an argument about this, but just want everyone’s thoughts. Also sorry if I’ve posted this into the wrong section )
It probably depends a lot on the car and the situation. I'm currently learning and switching between two cars (an instructor's and my parents'), and one is petrol and one is diesel. The diesel one is far more forgiving in terms of gear choice - it's basically happy anywhere between 20mph and 40mph in third, and 30 to 60 in fourth. On the other hand, in the petrol car there is usually only one suitable gear for a given situation - third starts just below 20mph and I usually want to shift up by 30, and then fourth is basically only useable between 30 and the low 40s.

Unless you're changing for no reason, it's probably fine. If anything it's better to change more if it means you have better control of the car, than to be lazy and possibly put the engine in a rev range it's not all that happy being in. This is what shifting too much looks like.
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ohhello92x
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(Original post by Dysf(x)al)
It probably depends a lot on the car and the situation. I'm currently learning and switching between two cars (an instructor's and my parents'), and one is petrol and one is diesel. The diesel one is far more forgiving in terms of gear choice - it's basically happy anywhere between 20mph and 40mph in third, and 30 to 60 in fourth. On the other hand, in the petrol car there is usually only one suitable gear for a given situation - third starts just below 20mph and I usually want to shift up by 30, and then fourth is basically only useable between 30 and the low 40s.

Unless you're changing for no reason, it's probably fine. If anything it's better to change more if it means you have better control of the car, than to be lazy and possibly put the engine in a rev range it's not all that happy being in. This is what shifting too much looks like.
Definitely. My old car was a petrol run one, and was usually in 3rd gear by the time I was between 20-30mph, so can’t help wondering if it’s just my mum just being critical/overreacting :dontknow: though never had my dad complain about my gear change whenever I had him in the car, same with my supervisor who drives too (had my supervisor in the car a few times too), though they were the only few people who I’ve ever had out of all the passengers in the old car that can drive. I think when I was learning in an instructor car, it was diesel, my instructor switched cars just before I sat my practical, and in both cars I was in 3rd gear just before hitting 30mph, so like you say it just depends on the car/situation .

Exactly! I changed gears as soon as the car makes that rev sound, so better to just go into the next gear then leave it as it is.
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Last edited by ohhello92x; 1 month ago
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PTMalewski
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(Original post by It's****ingWOODY)
Sure, but that's not to say you can't change too often either. Too often would generally mean changing when you probably shouldn't.
Too much- is by definition wrong. That doesn't tell us much however.

(Original post by Dysf(x)al)
This is what shifting too much looks like.
Depends. Changing gears when overtaking for example should look exactly like they way that is done in motorsports.
Also, if you going a long downhill road in the mountains, you should actually kick-down and engine-brake till even very low speeds. Otherwise you're risking overheating the brakes and losing them, and even if that doesn't happen, then there is no point in wasting brake pads for no reason.
Last edited by PTMalewski; 1 month ago
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