I have recently started driving a manual transmission car with little experience. When I see a red light, I generally brake to 60 km/h and shift to 4th gear and brake more to 40 km/h to 3rd gear. I then continue braking until RPM reaches 1000 and clutch in. I don't do any rev matching at all because I don't yet know how to. I did feel a jolt at times when downshifting. Is my manoeuvre correct? Will it damage my car in the long run?

P.s. I do plan on learning rev matching in the future. But I have only had my car for a little more than a month. I want to get good at other skills before moving on to learning rev matching.

  • From the question, I guess you learned to drive in an automatic? Just for information, in the UK where almost all cars are manual, if you take your driving test in an automatic you only get a licence to drive automatics. My advice would be take a few lessons, if you want to drive a manual - don't just guess what to do and hope for the best! – alephzero Dec 5 '18 at 15:42
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    Thank you for your comment. I learned to drive with an automatic in Canada. I am learning to drive a manual because it might be a good skill to acquire. I took a lesson with an instructor to learn the basics before, but I think I will take another one to correct any bad habits that I have developed. Cheers – Olivia Dec 5 '18 at 16:59

There is no need to downshift through the gears when coming to a stop under most circumstances. I know there are situations where engine-braking is desirable, however, it is not necessary every time you come to a stop.

When you downshift without rev-matching, you are relying on your clutch to match the speed of your engine to that of your wheels. Any time you use your clutch to slow your car you are causing excess wear to your clutch. Clutches are expensive to replace, brakes not so much. Use your brakes to slow your car, that's what they are there for.

Even if you do rev-match when coming to a stop, it is still unnecessary to downshift because you will be putting it in neutral anyways, and any small amount of error in your rev-matching will still have a small effect on clutch wear. Rev-matching is more for selecting a lower gear while in motion in order to continue in a lower gear. If you are slowing for a turn and need to downshift from 4th to 2nd there is no reason to go to 3rd in-between. Slow the car, then downshift from 4th to 2nd, rev-match before letting out the clutch, and then go.

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  • If you learn to change gear smoothly, without fumbling around, the only "rev matching" you need to do for normal road driving is not to move your foot either up or down the gas pedal for the half a second (literally only half a second!) that the car is not in gear when changing down. Of course you have to learn how to use your hands and feet independently, so your right foot "does nothing" while your left is working the clutch pedal. – alephzero Dec 5 '18 at 15:49
  • Change the vehicle for an "old" one with a non-synchro first and second... It does not take long to learn to "match" the gears - I had to learn and I was 12 years old at the time, collecting bales of straw in a field before anyone suggests I should not be driving on a road... – Solar Mike Dec 5 '18 at 16:18

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