Why Skip Shifting is Bad

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Image courtesy of PilotSi

Image courtesy of PilotSi

It’s a beautiful fall evening. You’ve got the top down and your favorite highway on-ramp is just ahead. You jump on, lean into the corner with the accelerator down, enjoying the scream of the exhaust. All the while, you’re hitting redline and winding through gears, topping out third, maybe even fourth gear before you’re fully merged. All is well, Johnny Law didn’t spot you and you’re ready to just throw it into sixth from fourth and cruise. No worries, that’s what the synchros are there for, right? No, actually they’re not, at least not for that drastic of a change.

Synchros work by using friction to force the gears that are connected to the input shaft (which spins at engine RPM with the clutch engaged) to speed up or slow down to match the rotation of the output shaft (which is connected to the rear wheels via the driveshaft, differential, and axles). BUT they are designed to do this while shifting through the gears in order. When you skip a gear, whether it be up OR down, especially at high RPMs, there is a much greater speed difference between the shafts that the synchro has to adjust to. Thus, you are prematurely wearing the synchros. It’s a bit like slipping the clutch at high RPMs! In 2006, Honda published a Service News bulletin which stated that skip shifting would damage the transmission synchros over time. This has been validated by several members of the S2000 community reporting difficulty in shifting into fifth/sixth gear after a long period of skip shifting.

But there is a way to skip gears safely! Simply hold the clutch down and move the shifter through each gear until you get to the one you want. Doing this, even without engaging the clutch, will let the synchros do their job and match the shaft speeds gear by gear.

So enjoy the fall scenery, get on the gas and hear that VTEC roar! But don’t skip gears without rowing the shifter through the gates. Your transmission and your wallet will thank you.

Under The Hood > Someone Explain Why Skip Shifting Is Bad

Special thanks for this article go out to members spets and AE_Racer!

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