Let's say the gear shift stick is in 3rd and you wanna downshift to 2nd. Now, you can go:

  • pull the lever down to neutral;
  • palm left;
  • pull down into second.

There's another way though which I usually go for:

  • palm left third;
  • pull down to 2nd directly.

The same pretty much applies when doing 4th->5th where you'd palm right and push up.

However, I have lately been wondering if this may be of harm (especially when done quickly e.g. on hills or fast downshifts) because, in my humble knowledge, I pictured the selector fork having to follow unusual (forced) paths and thus cause wear and/or issues. Could that be true?

  • 1
    I really don't see the difference between the two, it's not as if you avoid going through neutral. There aren't different paths your change can take
    – GdD
    Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 12:42
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    The selector fork follows the same path - all you do is force or cause more wear at the lever end..
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 12:46
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    @CharlieRB - Actually, it isn't off-topic. The question is, will it cause more mechanical wear to do it one way versus the other. According to this Meta thread, ...*unless asked in regard to a specific mechanical problem.* The OP is wondering if this will lead to a specific mechanical problem, ie: wear. Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 14:58
  • Good point. I shall retract my vote. :-)
    – CharlieRB
    Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 15:33
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    Possible duplicate of In a manual car, does changing gear quickly put more wear on the synchro's?
    – Bart
    Commented Feb 8, 2018 at 21:25

1 Answer 1


With a syncronised transmission it depends on how quickly that you engage the gear and the difference in rpm between the engaging shafts. If your method is forcing the shafts to syncronise faster than they want to then yes this will cause more wear on the syncro cones and rings.

  • 1
    Could you explain why you believe that speed of gear engagement has an impact on synchro wear?
    – Zaid
    Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 17:02
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    The collar and ring synchronise their speeds based on the friction between them. If you force them to match too quickly you will cause excessive wear to the friction material
    – r.anderson
    Commented Jan 9, 2018 at 9:24
  • I 2nd this. You can clearly experience the phenomenom when driving a 60s car or older, especially if the tranny is worn. You can't even pull it directly, you need to keep a little pressure at the stick before fully pushing it into gear, to give time to synchronise. Only at the grace of modern large synchro rings we are freed from this.
    – Bart
    Commented Feb 8, 2018 at 21:22

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