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Resting Hand on Auto Shift Knob

My 2010 Cobalt did not come with a center console or arm rest. More often than not I find my right hand resting on the shifter knob. I know it’s bad for manual transmissions, but is it bad for an auto?

Ed B.

Nope. It’s in the gate it’s in. As long as you’re not pushing or pulling on it, the tranny doesn’t know or care that your hand is there. I often rest mine on my knob too.

Not at all. There is no direct link to the transmission other than the shifter arm.

Resting your hand on the automatic shifter shouldn’t do any harm. However, if you want an arm rest, you might be able to get an OEM arm rest and install it yourself. One of these days, I might just do that for my Civic. In my case, I can probably find one in a junk yard.

I respectfully disagree to some extent. While odds are you will not have a problem it’s certainly possible that it could happen.
It’s possible to nudge the valve in the transmission a bit out of kilter from where it’s supposed to be. In turn this can affect the pressure being applied to various internal parts inside the transmission and eventually this could lead to slipping, etc.

Think of this as being similar to someone installing a rebuilt transmission or repairing shift linkage and not adjusting the shift linkage correctly. Get it a tad off and the transmission life can be shortened to some extent.
The same thing applies to older transmissions that use a TV cable. Misadjust one of those and the transmission may soon fail.

In theory, with a manual transmssion the detents on the shift rails should not allow the weight of the hand to grind away synchronizer sleeves and shift forks either. In practice, it does happen.

ok4450, you seem to dissagree with about everything said on here!!

All of the console automatics I’ve come across in late model cars are of the squiggly-path variety like my own is. These seat into a detent in their path and need to be actively moved sideways and forward/backward to shift. It’d be pretty tough to do what you’re describing.

"ok4450, you seem to dissagree with about everything said on here!!

Actually, I agree with ok44450. (I definitely don’t “dissagree” [sic]!)
Have you considered that his opinions are based on more technical knowledge than many of the other posts in this forum?

Elly, You’re Back. OK4450 Doesn’t Disagree That Often And When He Does He’s Just Calling It Like He Sees It, Not To Be Disagreeable. I Respect His Car Knowledge And Wisdom Very Much.

When he speaks, I’m listening. The floor shift lever in my car is very positive, doesn’t wiggle or have play. It moves with authority when it’s shifted from position to position, but I have seen some that are more easily moved and are a little weak or sloppy. With those, I can see what OK’s talking about.


P.S. How are all the old Mopars running ?

Elly, even though I respectfully disagreed with OK4450 on this particular point (and explained why), I have only the utmost respect for his knowledge and expertise. On a scale of 1 to 10 I’d give him a 9.99736. He’s top-notch.

He also generally only posts when he has something to add. And when he does I take his post very seriously. This man has loosed a lot of bolts. I, on the other hand, just have a screw loose.

In short, he never posts just for the purpose of disagreeing, but if he disagrees he does post and his posts should be taken seriously. He knows his stuff.

I’m definitely not disagreeing to be disagreeable; only pointing out a what-if circumstance.
As I said, most won’t have a problem but for a few unlucky ones it’s quite possible they could. After all, if someone has their car with a fried transmission towed in it’s unlikely the first question asked by a shop is if they drive around with their hand on the shifter or not.
It’s very unlikely that a transmission shop’s first question to someone who just got towed is something along the line of do you drive around with your hand on the shifter?

Not being familiar with the Cobalt shift gate, a squiggly gate can certainly help to prevent this if everything is adjusted properly, etc. I’ve had a few cars in the past with straight shift gates and have caught myself in this bad habit a few times.

What edb might consider is the addition of an aftermarket center arm rest. This used to be a common complaint with SAABs and SAAB even marketed an add-on rest that was a double downtube affair with a padded arm rest on top. This was attached to the tunnel bolts for the front seat belts and it did work although it was an irritant to me due to SAAB’s placement of the ignition switch between the seats.

While this one does not look quite like the ones I’m familiar with it may give a general idea anyway. I would also not deal with a Hong Kong seller on eBay as that could be a coin flip as to getting the item or finding out it doesn’t fit.

Maybe they make something like this specifically for a Cobalt?

I don’t know how knowledible ok4450 is but on another thread on here he has come up with some OFF-THE- WALL stuff.

Thanks for all the suggestions. I have a lot of respect for those posting both pro and con, but I’m going to play it safe and try and keep my hand off the shifter.

By the way, the Cobalt LT comes with a center console and it is available separately.[type]=gm

This was the first thing I was going to get for the Cobalt. I had to return the first Cobalt to the dealer (the paperwork was correct, but nobody checked the Vin # on the Cobalt I drove off the lot). While I was at the dealer, I checked out a Cobalt with a center console and was unable to use it as a arm rest as it was too small.

Ed B.

P.S. Ok4550 - Whatever became of the Merkur X4Ti (sic) with the 5.0 engine transplant.

Still got it as a toy and drive it now and then. Can’t have too many toys in my opinion although my better half disagrees (very much so) with that opinion.
(I’ve got a spare bedroom full of boxes of old, and very valuable, Harley parts. She tolerates that anyway.)

I’ve still got my old wrecked Lincoln Mark with the 4.6 DOHC and I’ve had an urge to find something to stick that engine and drivetrain in but so far just haven’t figured out what I want to do exactly. A guy near Tulsa has another XR4 with a blown engine/no transmission I could get dirt cheap but that DOHC is a pretty fat motor and I just don’t know if I want to get into wrestling an engine like that into an XR4 engine compartment. The 5.0 was bad enough. (width was tolerable, the length of the compartment was the major headache)

How about a Harley with a Lincoln motor?