In a manual transmission, I know you can potentially damage your engine if you mis-shift and instead of going from 4th to 3rd gear you go from 4th to 1st gear.

I read online that not only can you mis-shift into the wrong gear, but you can actually miss a gear when downshifting.

What exactly does missing a gear entail and what occur? Is it the same idea as mis-shifting when your revs go high?

  • Miss shift means you did not enter the gear you intended to enter.
    – Moab
    Apr 19, 2018 at 19:57
  • @Moab When you do this, will you feel the car slow down allot because 4th to 3rd but you really did 4th to 1st would mean you the should slow down right? Apr 20, 2018 at 20:38

2 Answers 2


Mis-shifting is also wanting to change from 4th to 5th and taking 3rd at high speed on the motorway / freeway - as the synchro can get it into gear then as people let the clutch up very quickly the car's inertia causes the engine to over-rev and can cause significant damage.

I saw an XR3i that did exactly this and it bent all the valves... an expensive repair.


A miss shift can happen if you re-engage the clutch prior to the gears/synchros getting into position while shifting. You are essentially between gears. For instance, you are shifting down from third into second, yet release the clutch pedal too early during the shift. Your shifter would be in the "neutral" stance (between gears). You then reapply power through the transmission, but it doesn't transmit because there's nothing connected between the input and output shafts. At this point, if you continue to move the shifter down through to second gear after the clutch pedal is released and starting to apply power, this is where you get the classic "grinding gears" ... in most cases with today's transmissions, you're actually grinding the dogs on the synchros and not the gears, but the noise is awful either way. This can happen going up or down through the gears. It will most often happen when doing a shifting crossover from 2nd to 3rd, or 4th to 5th and visa-versa, not when shifting from 1st to 2nd or 3rd to 4th. This is because it usually takes less time to shift between these gears with them being in a straight line.

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    @Alexus - Read the question. What does the OP ask? What exactly does missing a gear entail and what occur? Seems I answered exactly that. It doesn't ask what is a misshift. Apr 20, 2018 at 20:55
  • I stand corrected. MY bad for not reading the question correctly. Your answer is actually spot on to what OP is asking.
    – Alexus
    Apr 20, 2018 at 21:15

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