How to Work a Flappy Paddle Gear Box

by Ryan Hotchkiss

Flappy paddle gear boxes give you the control found in a standard gear box -- a stick shift -- without the necessity of a manual clutch. An automatic transmission shifts on its own accord once the engine RPMs reach a certain speed; you having no control of the process. With a flappy paddle gear box, you shift from one gear to the next, but with your thumb. The clutch is actuated by electronics when you depress the gear button or switch. While a flappy paddle gear box is not as simple to use as an automatic transmission, it is hardly more difficult and gives you considerably more control.

Get in the vehicle. Start the engine, check your mirrors and test your lights and blinkers. Put on your seat belt, put your foot on the brake and release the parking brake.

Put the vehicle in gear and release the brake. Place your foot on the accelerator. Listen to the engine to determine the rpm or periodically glance at the tachometer. Once the engine rpm reaches the speed at which you want to shift, press the button or lever that electronically shifts the gear box for you. Again, listen or monitor the rpm and shift at the appropriate time. Cycle through the gears until you reach your highest or your cruising speed.

Press down on the brake and slow the engine's rpm speed until you can downshift without over-revving the engine when the gear box drops down a gear. Press the button to down shift. Make certain to monitor the rpm so the engine speed does not get so slow that you lug the engine and make the vehicle lurch.

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