Automotive

Low speed, high gear - bad?

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  • Jun 21st, 2008 12:33 pm
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Newbie
Apr 21, 2008
52 posts
2 upvotes

Low speed, high gear - bad?

After driving automatic most of my life, I very occasionally forget to drop to a lower gear, or I don't drop the gear low enough, before accelerating (e.g. I'm approaching a line of cars which is just starting to move after getting a green light). This causes a noticeable but momentary vibration until the speed and RPMs are back up the "minimum" for that gear.

Is this bad for the car? It's usually but a second or two; hardly seems worth dropping a gear for a half second and then coming right back up. Would staying in the higher gear still be better for fuel efficiency in this situation?
28 replies
Deal Addict
Nov 2, 2003
1790 posts
26 upvotes
i think that's lugging the engine.. which isnt good cause ur making the engine do more work? ya.. not very gd wif the theory.. i dun think it's gd but like if u do it by accident once in a while.. i dun think it'll make ur engine crap out on u rite away or sumthin
Deal Addict
May 31, 2007
3036 posts
195 upvotes
Yea, it's not the best for acellerating. Downshift one gear and the car will not vibrate and stumble.
Deal Expert
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May 10, 2005
24595 posts
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Ottawa
Labouring the engine is not good. When you do what you do you hit the gas peddle and the fuel goes int other engine in a greater quantity than it needs. You get poor burn and pre-ignition and the unburned fuel goes into the exhaust, the catalytic converter (and heats it up even more). It affects your O2 sensors and will eventually cause them to trigger a light from carbon deposits. The vibration you feel is the engine "stumbling" and not running properly.
Having said that, most of these types of engines are built to withstand this type of abuse so you will probably continue to get away with it but, if it ever needs repair, remember what you have done to the engine. Eventually you will fail the E test.
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Jul 12, 2001
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Toronto
hahaha...
if the motor is working so hard that it's making your 3000lb car shake, do you think that's good?

It's screaming for help!
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Sr. Member
Dec 21, 2006
930 posts
12 upvotes
I know one chinese girl who drives manual (got it to be more of an american woman you know the whole "sisters are shifting it for themselves")... and she always starts the car in 2nd gear no matter if it is a red light, stop sign etc...
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Jul 12, 2001
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dinb wrote:
Jun 17th, 2008 11:55 am
I know one chinese girl who drives manual (got it to be more of an american woman you know the whole "sisters are shifting it for themselves")... and she always starts the car in 2nd gear no matter if it is a red light, stop sign etc...
If she drives a fancy sportscar, starting in 2nd isn't uncommon.
Hi5exposure Photography
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Apr 11, 2008
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urameatball wrote:
Jun 17th, 2008 12:21 pm
If she drives a fancy sportscar, starting in 2nd isn't uncommon.
ditto if the clutch is on its way out, or slipping
Deal Addict
Jan 29, 2006
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i cruise @ 60km/h @ 1500rpm on 5th.
so far so good
Deal Addict
Feb 7, 2005
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It all depends on your torque curve .If your car can be driven at low RPM without lugging it`s ok .Your curve is low enough .

I drive my Si in sixth at 2000rpm all the time .It accelerates away with no issues .
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May 10, 2005
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Sonbuster wrote:
Jun 17th, 2008 9:05 pm
i cruise @ 60km/h @ 1500rpm on 5th.
so far so good
Cruising is different than shifting and accelerating at a lower RPM. The car is meant to cruise along in a high gear at a steady rpm and speed..
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Nov 18, 2002
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pfbmgd wrote:
Jun 17th, 2008 9:11 pm
It all depends on your torque curve .If your car can be driven at low RPM without lugging it`s ok .Your curve is low enough .

I drive my Si in sixth at 2000rpm all the time .It accelerates away with no issues .
I agree that it's all down to the engine. Moving off in 2nd or 3rd gear in your regular 4 banger isn't so good for the clutch in general. But hey, if you have torque there's nothing stopping you from doing this. My 2nd gear has become 1st for me since I changed cars. Same rules apply when shifting.
Sr. Member
Dec 21, 2006
930 posts
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urameatball wrote:
Jun 17th, 2008 12:21 pm
If she drives a fancy sportscar, starting in 2nd isn't uncommon.
It's a Hyndai Accent... common man why would I notice it in the first place.
Deal Fanatic
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May 29, 2003
5293 posts
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I used to cruise and accelerate at 60km/h on 6th gear. RPM stays below 2000rpm but I've stopped doing that:

1) Safety issue - the acceleration is slow at that rpm/speed in 6th, if there's anything that you need to get out of, it won't be efficient.
2) I feel like I am making the engine work extra for nothing.

I will still cruise at 6th gear @ low rpm/speed now, but only if I know it's a straight road for a while. In that case, my cruise control is usually on.
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Deal Guru
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Nov 5, 2001
10456 posts
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It's not great for the engine, and will kill your fuel economy.

You'll get used to shifting at every light, it's like second nature once you drive stick for a while.

I agree with the starting in 2nd when your clutch is slipping. I had a Toyota truck back in high school and it would pop out of gear on occasion when taking off from a stop. Starting in 2nd was a touch slower off the line, but made very little difference. You had to change gears 3 times before hitting 50 anyways...
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