I know this is a girl question, but


I recently traded in two cars for a 2005 Mustang. My first car was a Honda CRX, standard shift, and so is the mustang, but I seem to be having some difficulties making a smooth shift in the mustang. My question is: at what rpm should I shift gears in a 2005 mustang.

My father always told me to red-line it before I shift, but when I get to even 4,000 rpms, I don’t like the sound of it so I shift accordingly.

Also, how the the rpms relate to the gas milage? If I keep the rpms low, will I get better gas mileage, or is that like the I should “red-line it” comment?


There is no reason the “red line” the engine for each shift (unless you happen to be in a drag race). I’m not familiar with the gear ratios in your car, but try shifting at about 2500 rpm and see how that feels. Shifting at “red line” will hurt your gas mileage significantly.


Red-lining an engine is a good way to destroy it or the transmission. I can only assuume there was some miscommunication between you and Dad.

Keep well out of red-line range. Unless you are on the track you should never even come close to that rpm.

Your shifts will all take place in the 2000-3000 rpm range. After a while you will adjust to your car and you won’t even have to check the tachometer. You’ll shift by instinct.

Driving at low rpms is much better for fuel economy than high rpm driving. Have fun!


No, don’t red line it. Some manual transmission cars are easier to shift smoothly than others but with some practice you can shift more smoothly. Try shifting quickly and releasing the clutch as fast as you can before engine RPMs drop too low. The secret to a smooth shift is to end up with the engine speed matching what it will be after the clutch is released.

You can usually do this with proper shift speed timing or feather the clutch a little when releasing it after the new gear is selected. Sometimes clutch adjustment can be a factor although this is usually done now with an automatic adjuster so you can’t control that factor.

Try some things with a little practice and good luck to you.


Your father must not care too much about fuel economy or engine life if he is advising you to redline every shift. Ouch.

Try shifting normally at around 2-2500 hundred rpms and see what happens.


i agree with everyone, that NORMAL shifting should be between 2000 - 2500 rpm. any more, and you are just wasting gas. (granted, sometimes you may NEED to scoot and rev up higher.)

i normally ‘force’ my shifts at 2000 - 2200 rpm (auto tranny). and my engine is LESS THAN HALF the size of whatever you have in that mustang. (small engines normally don’t like low revs. bigger engines almost thrive on low revs, for steady cruise.)

a young driver who also drives a corolla had complained about lousy mileage. he was shifting at around 3000+ rpm! his mileage went up significantly after following advice on this forum.

for the record, i have gotten up to 40 mpg in OVERALL mileage with my 1.8L '03 corolla.


The shift point varies with the amount of throttle. Less throttle, lower shift point. You would only shift at the redline if you are giving it full throttle, not recommended for normal street driving, especially if law enforcement is in the area.

You shift when you feel the power tapering off. Depending on the car and the driver, the optimal shift point could be anywhere from 1800 to 4000. Even the gear your in makes a difference. For example, my Saturn with a very underpowered 4 cylinder engine, especially when the AC is on, my 1st to 2nd gear shift will be anywhere from 3000 to 4000 rpm. Accelerating uphill requires a higher shift point. The 4th to 5th shift will be around 1800 to 2200. At 1800 in fourth is around 45 mph, and if thats as fast as I’m going to go in that area, I’m going to 5th.

I suspect that you have a feel for the correct shift point. If so, go with your feeling.


Try double-clutching to see if there’s something wrong with your transmission or clutch release. (Fords have a hydraulic clutch that requires maintaining a fluid level) Step on the clutch–move the shift lever out of gear into neutral, release the clutch. Step on the clutch again–shift into the next higher gear.


If there’s a problem with the transmission or clutch release, how will I know? What kind of thing/sound should I be looking for to make sure that all is well engine wise?


Don’t go looking for problems yet. Learn proper shifting technique first and then lets take a look.


never listen to your father again, shift at about 2500, you have already put a very good wear on your car, especially on such a new engine


Agree with Joe. pgusa is taking you off track.


never listen to your father

Well on cars. That would not be his strong point. As a father
I would suggest always listening and if you disagree, think hard about it or as you have here check it out. If you are one your own make up your own mind in the end, but be respectful.


Everyone is absolutely certain about something that they are have assessed incorrectly. Dad just goofed here.

If the car redlines at 4000 RPM, I’d go to about 3000 before shifting. Shifting at 2500 seems a little low. What are the RPMs at idle? If it’s around 1500, you will cruise at 2000 to 2500. You won’t be at 3000 RPM long, so your mileage won’t suffer much.


It’s funny, but everyone here seems to be focusing on engine rpm for the shift points while the car manufacturer recommends shifting by vehicle speed.

2006 Model Upshifts when accelerating (recommended for best fuel
1 - 2 11 mph (18 km/h)
2 - 3 19 mph (31 km/h)
3 - 4 30 mph (48 km/h)
4 - 5 40 mph (64 km/h)

Who are you going to trust? I think the people who designed and built the car probably know best. Do you have an owner’s manual? If not, they can be bought or are often available on-line for free. Here’s a link to the 2006 model- http://www.mustangblog.com/info/2006.ownersmanual.pdf See page 160.


Just a wild guess, but I wouldn’t be shocked if those recommended vehicle speed shift points all correspond to the same engine rpm.


If it isn’t jumping, it’s a happy drive train part. There are no girl questions that haven’t been talked about by the boys. You should have heard the 50 non-mechanics advice in my office. When they would finally ask me I just told them to take it to the station outside the base, pay for it to be fixed right and drive happy. The worst thing wrong with a car is usually the owner. You seem to be one of the good ones. How about those minivan owners who wanted a Hemi?


Somewhere between 2000-4000 RPM is a good typical of all cars. Basically figure out what gives adequate acceleration balanced by the minimal revs. Near red line is fine if you want to pass another vehicle or merge into traffic.


My personal opinion…This is a joke. There is no way anyone would recommend red-lining a car…This is NOT a real question…Ignore her.


I don’t think it’s a joke post, I just think she misunderstood her dad. Having taught my daughter to drive 4-1/2 years ago, it would be enlightening to hear some of the things she “remembers” my having told her!

In any event, the OP is doing the right thing by staying under 4,000 rpm.

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