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Driving a stick shift

I have been driving a stick shift close to four decades and have never had to replace a clutch. When driving I skip around the gear box - a lot. 1st to 3rd, 2nd to 4th, you name it. Is this an acceptable way to drive or have I been incredibly lucky all these years?

Skipping a gear now and then will have absolutely no negative affect on the clutch. If you take your time when shifting and it doesn’t lug the motor (too low rpm in the higher gear) then there should be no harm to either transmission or the motor.

You haven’t been lucky, you just don’t torture your clutch. I’ve had about 10 cars with sticks since 1967 (1st one was a '67 Mustang, 289 2bbl, 3 spd stick) and currently have an '03 Civic EX with 5 spd stick and also have never had to replace a clutch.

Just keep doing what you are doing, can’t argue with success.


Clutch wear is usually a function of driving style. some people have to race to the next stop light, always floor the gas peddle, and rev the engine while riding the clutch to make a “fast break”. This will not only wear the clutch, but the pressure plate and the fly wheel much more quickly. However, on pick up trucks, a heavy load on a steep hill, or an effort to break free from snow drift, can add a lot of wear to a clutch in a short time. Skipping gears in itself is not problematic though it is kind a strange.

I think skipping has nothing to do with clutch wear. The natural position of the clutch is with the pedal released. The clutch wears out when it is slipping–anywhere between the pedal fully depressed and fully released. So, I don’t race the engine when I start off the line, and I don’t step on the clutch when I am at a red light.

Someone who used to work as a test driver for one of the major car companies told me that he expects clutch to last the life of the car and never needs replacing.

I sometimes skip gears, too. I sometimes go from 2nd to 4th or 3rd to 5th. This happens when I accelerate hard from the 2nd or 3rd and reach my desired speed, then I just put the gear into the 4th or 5th gear for cruising. I just allow longer time before putting it in the gear, because it just takes longer for the rpm to match.

Skipping gears is no different than driving a car with fewer gears. For example, in my 6 speed car I can just use 2nd, 4th, and 6th and it is like driving an old 3 speed. More gears in the transmission just means they are more closely spaced ratios. The top gear may be a bit higher than an older 3 or 4 speed, sort of an overdrive for better fuel economy, but it won’t be a lot higher.

I too have been driving sticks for most of the last 40 years and have only worn out one clutch…at 295,000 miles that included having taught two kids to drive it. Actually, my daughter had been using it as a daily driver for the past few years before the clutch wore out, soo I might have gotten even more.

As long as you’re not creating a situation where you’re overreving or lugging the engine, the drivetrain doesn’t care what gear pattern you use, even if you use it every day. Going from 1st to 3rd, or 2nd to 4th, or 3rd to fifth, or any combination thereof, is perfectly okay with the drivetrain. It isn’t keeping track. It may hurt your gas mileage, but it won’t hurt your drivetrain.

If someone that did not have your proven track record of successful clutch use and drivetrain nonabuse as manifested by clutch longevity were to ask the same question my answer might be different.

If your careful to match the situation with the gear and don’t ask to much of the transmission (1st to 5 th example, lugging or over revving) it’s reasonable. You can do it successfully riding a bike, why not a car.