If you want to drive a car with manual transmission better known as s stick shift you’ll have to know the gear shift patterns.
Without it, it will be nearly impossible or very hard to drive. Besides operating the clutch, this is the main obstacle for most drivers when driving a stick shift.
In this article, we’ll try and explain the whole matter around gear shift patterns and show you that it’s easy to learn and remember.
If you’re not in the mood for reading, you have a YouTube video at the end of the article that you can also watch on our YouTube channel.
WHAT ARE GEAR SHIFT PATTERNS?
Before we start just a brief explanation of what gear shift patterns actually are.
Gear shift patterns are a layout of where the gears are located in your car. You have to know these patterns in order to shift the gears properly and therefore be able to drive the car.
To put it more simply, it’s a map and instruction in what direction to move the shifter.
I must also mention, to avoid any confusion that this article applies to standard cars and perhaps some pickup trucks for instance.
Bigger trucks, semis, some sports cars, high-performance cars, and other vehicles that have different manual-type transmissions are a whole different story.
With them, this is perhaps applicable to some extent but isn’t a good explanation.
WHY IS UNDERSTANDING THIS IMPORTANT?
As mentioned at the beginning of the article, every time a driver encounters a car with manual transmission better known as a stick shift there are two major obstacles at least from what I’ve seen: operating the clutch and shifting or finding all the gears.
This goes double if you don’t have much or any experience with stick shifts or if you drive an automatic transmission all the time.
In the majority of these cases, driving is almost impossible.
Knowing the gear shift patterns or gear shift layout and how to shift them will help you avoid this and give you a big advantage.
Instead of losing time and in the end not being able to actually drive the car, you’ll have a brief period of adaptation that lasts a couple of minutes and you’re good to go.
That, combined with knowing how to operate the clutch will make you a winner for driving a stick shift.
For more information on how to drive a car with manual transmission (aka stick shift), click here to read the article or watch the video.
GEAR SHIFT PATTERNS-TIPS AND ADVICE
1. GEAR SHIFT PATTERNS ARE SIMILAR FOR ALL CARS
First of all, know that gear shift patterns are almost the same for any manual transmission car.
To make using the car easier, most manufacturers around the world have adopted a standardized system for shifting manual transmissions.
So, if you learn the pattern on one car, there’s a good probability you’ll know it on the next one.
The big difference is the number of gears (4,5,6) and an even bigger difference is where the reverse is.
If you have problems finding the reverse gear on a stick shift, click here to read an article and watch a video dedicated specifically to that topic.
2. REMEMBER THE „H“ PATTERN
The most used and common gear shift pattern looks like an „H“ letter.
The best way to use this information and remember it is to imagine the H letter superimposed over the gear shifter. Imagine it sort of hovering over the shifter.
If you do this, any confusion about the gear shift pattern should be cleared immediately.
The top edges of the H are the gears (1,2,3,4, added 5,6) and the center is neutral (N).
Neutral is the center position and all the gears start from it.
Essentially, the H pattern is the base for any manual transmission with the addition of the 5th, 6th, and reverse gear.
Worth knowing is that this pattern may be somewhat different in terms of where every gear is located. Especially on transmissions with 6 gears. But the H pattern stays the same regardless of that.
One more confusing part about the gear shift pattern for many drivers is how to actually shift the gears according to the pattern.
On the pattern, the graphic shows you to push the gear knob right or left and then up and down as if the shifter was on a sort of rail.
In real life, the gear knob pivots from one point so it doesn’t slide but sort of leans from one side to the other.
3. READ THE MAP ON THE GEAR KNOB
Besides the H pattern you also have an imprinted or engraved picture of the pattern that’s located on the gear shifter knob.
Almost all car manufacturers do this and it’s meant to help the driver find the gears as soon as possible, especially the reverse gear.
It’s common practice when driving a stick shift to take a glance at this map before driving just in case something is different regarding the gears.
But if it’s the standard type of manual transmission and you know the H pattern a brief look at the map will be enough to get you going.
The main takeaway from this article is the H pattern.
As mentioned, if you know this, you will more or less know the gear shift pattern for every manual transmission car.
You won’t have to worry about the gear shifting ever again.
Instead of having problems, just sit in the driver’s seat and take a brief look at the patterns on the gear shifter knob. Perhaps work the shifter around a couple of times while the engine is off and you’ll know what you’re supposed to do.
One less problem and more time for enjoying the drive.
Written by: Sibin Spasojevic
Former car technician, life-long car and DIY enthusiast, author for Despairrepair.com
HOW TO KNOW GEAR SHIFT PATTERNS FOR ANY MANUAL TRANSMISSION CAR? YOUTUBE VIDEO