How to Use the Manual Shift Mode on an Automatic Transmission

by Nicholas Johnson

A semi-automatic transmission or dual-clutch transmission is a transmission which uses two internal clutches to run the vehicle in either automatic or manual mode. Since the clutches are internal, you don't need to press the clutch while shifting. Most dual-clutch vehicles have buttons for switching gears on either the steering wheel or the shifting knob. Semi-automatic transmissions provide better fuel consumption by automatically adjusting the gearbox for maximum fuel efficiency. The quick response time of the gearbox also makes it an excellent transmission style for roads with frequent stops. Shifting with a semi-automatic transmission is exactly like shifting on a manual car without the need for a clutch.

Read your vehicle's manual prior to driving using the semi-automatic transmission system. The manual will be able to tell you how your specific vehicle's system works and where the necessary buttons are located. Note the recommended shifting rpm for each gear.

Start the car and shift the car into semi-automatic mode. Locate the gear change buttons which may resemble plus and minus signs or up and down arrows.

Hold down on the brake. Press the shift up button to shift the engine into first gear. Release the brake and lightly press the gas pedal to move forward.

Press the shift up button to raise the gear as you speed up based on the rpm found in your user manual.

Press the shift down button to lower the gear as you slow down or allow the car to automatically downshift for you.

Tips

  • check Always read your owner's manual for the most accurate instructions on driving your vehicle safely.
  • check In manual shifting, a common tip is to shift up when within 1,000 rpm of the red line on the tachometer. However, this is no replacement for the rpm guide listed in the user manual.

About the Author

Nicholas Johnson is a Web programmer who has been moonlighting as a freelance writer since 2008, primarily in the realm of technical research documents and school curricula. He has also worked as an English teacher at an elementary school in South Korea. Johnson holds a Bachelor of Science in Web architecture from the University of Advancing Technology.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera gear-change lever image by terex from Fotolia.com