Shifting questions

Hi smart car people! My boyfriend says he can skip some of the gears, because our 1997 Kia Sephia runs best in low gear. That is, 5th gear. Is this true? Also, the shifter is vibrating. What does this mean? Thanks, Judy

First gear is “low gear.” Fifth gear is “high gear.”

It’s OK to skip a gear on the way from first to fifth. Won’t hurt anything.

When is the shifter vibrating?

If he is your boyfriend, and not your husband, whose car is it? If it is your car, tell him the car has five gears for a reason and don’t let him drive it anymore. If it is his car, how he shifts is his business. Just don’t let him drive your car.

Wow that was fast. Thank you for helping me with this Whitey. It’s both of our car. I know how to listen to when the car is revving high enough that it is ready for the next shift. But Donnie wants to cheat the process so he doesn’t have to shift so many times. By 35 mph he is already in fifth gear. Then he doesn’t bother to downshift unless he has to come to a 2nd gear speed. The shifter starts vibrating at high speeds, then continues to vibrate on the way down, 5th through 3rd. Do you know if there is a way to stabalize it without holding on to it? Thanks, Judy

Thank you, Mcparadise. You see, my boyfriend is an idiot. haha Gotta love 'em.

35 mph is too slow to be in 5th gear. He’s shifting up too soon. This puts a lot of strain on the car and “lugs” the engine, which is not good.

I take it back. Tell him to use all of the gears and quit being so lazy.

How many miles on this Sephia?

only about 80… New development. The bonebrain left the emergency brake on and drove it that way for 15 miles. Now the brakes are acting funky. Interesting. What does lugging the engine mean, please McP?

It means that the engine is straining to pick up speed. It’s much easier to pick up speeds in the proper gear. The transmission is necessary because it helps the clutch and the engine do their work without being destroyed. You may not need a new boyfriend but the car may have a different situation. A man’s brain is not fully developed until he is 25 years old. The bad news is that he is 50% more boring at that time.

Very funny, pdv, and thank you for that eloquent explanation. Now, does a rattling gear shift knob mean trouble? Or can I stablize it by screwing down the bolts that hold it to the floor? P>S. He’s 49, same age as me. Oh boy.

Donnie wants to cheat the process so he doesn’t have to shift so many times.

Then Donnie should be driving an automatic.

“Now, does a rattling gear shift knob mean trouble?”

The gearshift lever goes down through the floor and attaches to a linkage mechanism. Something there is worn and loose. This comes from either holding the shift lever all the time when cruising along or holding the shift knob with a death grip and moving it too forcefully between the gears. Sounds like your boyfriend would be the type of driver to do this.

I hope he treats you more thoughtfully and gently than he does this car.

The rattling gearshift knob means he is in too high a gear, he should downshift a gear or 2. If he doesn’t know that “low” gear is 1st and “high” gear is 5th, then I wouldn’ let him drive.

I skip gears all the time. If i am in a hurry in a 40 mph zone, it might be 1,2 then 5. I am coasting down approaching a light and then the light turns green I might go from 5 to 2. If I stop on a downgrade, I might skip first. What’s the big deal?

I was taught to drive by getting the car into high gear as soon as possible without lugging the engine. This was in the 1950’s when cars had a three speed transmission and the gearshift was on the column. I would often start in first and shift directly to high between 12 and 15 miles per hour if I was on level ground. If I was on an inclne, or if I was pulling a trailer, I would shift to second so that I wouldn’t lug the engine. The car was a 1954 Buick and the engine really had quite a bit of low end torque. If the shifter is vribrating in your Kia, you are shifting into high gear too quickly.

If a man is 42, he’s bound to have a few bad or strange habits. It can’t be helped. If he isn’t boring, be suspicious.

He drove 15 miles with the parking brake on? And he insists on constantly luggging the engine?

I hate to say it, but he’s really showing total disregard for your property.

By the way’ I’d get those rear brakes checked. Even if your rear parking brakes use the small shoe-type pads rather than the discs, driving that far with them can cause the discs to get pretty hot and warp. The tiny shoes use a drum cast into the cenetr of the disc. If your system uses the rear discs it could be even worse, the fluid could also get too hot and become cooked.

Cruising at 35 in 5th isn’t that bad; accelerating hard at that speed in that gear up a hill would be abuse. I’ve driven some automatics that are in top gear with the torque converter locked at that speed.

There are exceptions to skipping gears. If I use 3rd gear to bring me to 60 mph, my next gear will be 5th. Some cars are meant to be skip shifted. For example, GM apparently thinks that the shifting pattern in a Corvette should be 1-4-5-6 in light driving.

In a Kia Sophia, with the gearshift shaking?

Just as an experiment, perhaps I’ll test drive one and try 35 mph in 5th. I’ll bet it’s lugging.