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do you EVER downshift into first?

psteng19

Diamond Member
Dec 9, 2000
5,953
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I've heard that you should NEVER downshift into first.
Is that true?
Even if you're in 2nd, and trying to make it up a hill going at 5 mph?

Or if you're coasting in neutral at low speeds < 5 mph anticipating a stop and all of a sudden you need to accelerate again.
Do you pop it into 2nd or 1st?

My car sometimes doesn't let me put it in 1st, as if something mechanical/physical was stopping me.
<-- still a n00b stick driver
 

FoBoT

No Lifer
Apr 30, 2001
63,089
12
76
fobot.com
maybe once in a while, like if i am rolling into a parking lot or something unusual, but not normally
 

I've shifted into first when rounding a corner at a stop sign when no one is coming. My stickshift 'teacher' said she does it all the time too. I think second gear is preferred in such a situation, but if need be, first is okay too, IMHO.
 

HiTek21

Diamond Member
Jul 4, 2002
4,391
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I only downshift to first when i'm rolling at like 5 - 10mph and need to accelerate quickly
 

ThaGrandCow

Diamond Member
Dec 27, 2001
7,956
1
0
I almost never downshift into first. If you're going more than 5 mph 2nd is where you need to be, 1st is a waste of gas and your clutch.

I can think of maybe 1 time I've done it, and even that time I'm not certain I was in 1st.

EDIT: 1st gear is designed to get you from a complete stop to somewhat moving, and then from there go to 2nd gear. 1st gear was not meant to be downshifted to.
 

merlocka

Platinum Member
Nov 24, 1999
2,832
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I think the reason for this "rule" is that the average driver doesn't shift very well. (Of course, no one here is guilty of this, we're all experts).

If your RPM's match the gear and speed, there should be nothing detrimental about downshifting into first.

Commonly, people rolling slow shouldn't do this because they are at idle and therefore put alot of stress on the syncro's.

That said, there is very little reason for shifting into first unless you are at a complete stop or driving like a maniac. In the case of the latter, the stress on your car's tranny is probably the least of your worries.

 

Nocturnal

Lifer
Jan 8, 2002
18,927
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76
I've been driving standard for seven years now and I've yet to manage to downshift from a higher gear into first.
 

psteng19

Diamond Member
Dec 9, 2000
5,953
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But sometimes when in 2nd at low speeds ~5 mph, the engine lugs, making a very low rumble as if it's saying 'too damn slow for this gear you dummy'.
 

JBT

Lifer
Nov 28, 2001
12,095
0
76
I try not to I ussually don't but I won't say I've never done it. I would say if your doing a rolling stop its fine.
 
Feb 10, 2000
30,029
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I have done it from time to time, and don't see anything wrong with it as long as you double-clutch, or at least downshift at such a low speed that the engine and tranny are not too much at odds. The times I can think of mostly involved very low-speed turns or going up a steep hill.
 

Scarpozzi

Lifer
Jun 13, 2000
25,764
1,383
126
I've done it from time to time as well. It won't hurt your car to downshift to 1st. What do you think an Automatic transmission does? Just make sure you're not forcing it into gear. Know what your high mph is in first and make sure you downshift when it gets well below half of that. It will keep you from causing your RPMs to jack when the tranny forces the engine to slow the car down.
 

Bullhonkie

Golden Member
Sep 28, 2001
1,899
0
76
Occasionally if I find myself rolling along at a very slow speed (under 5 mph). Whatever you do, don't force it. I have to double clutch and rev-match for it to let me into 1st. If done right there should be no need to force it at all.
 

WinkOsmosis

Banned
Sep 18, 2002
13,990
0
0
My first gear doesn't have a synchro, so I have to be at very low speed, or the right speed, to shift into 1st. I don't really know how to double clutch..
 

CraigRT

Lifer
Jun 16, 2000
31,440
5
0
barely ever, like... very rarely downshift into first... there is the ODD occasion where i feel i need to and just do it without thinking.

but normally, wait til i am like 1-2mph and then put into first (dont usually put in when i am completely stopped..) just before stop it's really smooth to put into first.
 

BatmanNate

Lifer
Jul 12, 2000
12,444
2
0
Originally posted by: jumpr
I've shifted into first when rounding a corner at a stop sign when no one is coming. My stickshift 'teacher' said she does it all the time too. I think second gear is preferred in such a situation, but if need be, first is okay too, IMHO.
If your car has enough torque, 2nd works great in the California stop situation. :)
 

MAME

Banned
Sep 19, 2003
9,281
1
0
2nd gear always as long as you're moving just a bit

1st gear if you're going up a hill

if you are going to downshift, give it lots of gas to prevent jerking and horrible engine noise
 

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