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Skipping The 4Th Gear For Economic Reasons. Myth? Is It Good Or Bad For The Car?

20 posts in this topic

Right guys, don't laugh at me now...

"My mommy tells me that skipping the 4th gear saves you some dough as its more economical".

She drives focus and she normally accelerates but more with the 3rd gear and then skips the 4th and goes straight to 5th gear. I have started to drive like this myself lately but I have always wanted to try to find out if there is any truth to it or could there be any dangers of damaging your car etc. I do not always do this all the time. If I want to accelerate faster to end speed then I go through all gears. I also go through the gear as needed when its hilly etc.

I tried Google to find out more but it did not bring up much so I thought I will ask the question.

Any thoughts on this subject?

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From a quick google, it looks like it's less fuel efficient to skip 4th gear since you'll be revving higher in 3rd in order to get the correct engine speed for 5th gear.

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Doubt you'd damage the car, as long as it's not being laboured. In fact it's probably better for the clutch and gearbox as it's been used less. I've actually seen cabby's use this technique. Personally i'd just stick to the shift indicator and the instant mpg computer. Can't really go wrong.

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It's called 'block changing' and I was taught to do it by my driving instructor. You can do it going up or down and any gears, ie 1>3 2>4 etc

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I think block changing is only appropriate when you are decelerating towards a roundabout and want to use engine breaking to help slow your vehicle on the approach. I often change from 5th to 3rd in these situations as the bite of third gear helps to pull the car back, especially if you're going downhill. But I see no benefit of skipping third gear when accelerating under normal circumstances as you would need to be doing at least 35 mph in third gear anyway before moving into firth so as to not labour the engine, so you may as well change into fourth at about 25 mph then fifth at about 35 mph to keep the revs down if you want to drive economically.

Saying that I'm sure there's also a theory that the process of changing gear itself wastes fuel as you're dumping the revs then then picking them up again after the change, but I doubt this uses more fuel than increasing the engine speed in lower gears to bypass a gear change.

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I guess there isn't concensus if its more fuel efficient to skip gears or not; or that there is not that much difference.

What about in terms of wear of clutch, gearbox and pedals? Will skipping gears have any value in this way by preserving these longer in better condition?

Just thinking, if you follow the shift indicators then going from 3rd to 4th and then to 5th there is very narrow gap (time wise) between the 4th and 5th gear (this fact is from memory, but I will play around with the gears on my way home today and sort of measure the time gaps between the shifts as per the indicator suggestions). This makes me think that it might make sense to give tad more acceleration on 3rd gear and go straight to 5th. This would be worth while if it does help to have less wear on youir gearbox, etc.

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I don't know why your are getting worried about preserving your gears. You have a new car, the gearbox should be used the way it was designed. By the time the gear cogs on your car are worn out (provided you don't drive like an idiot), I'm sure the rest of the car will be a worthless heap of junk anyway.

Just drive the car normally, and it sounds obvious but depress the clutch fully when changing gear and hold at the biting point for half a second like you were told to do on your driving lessons and you won't do any harm whatsoever. The synchromesh transmission in the new Fiesta is excellent and has been engineered to make changing gear almost effortless. I have yet to mess up a gear change in my MK7.

I guess there isn't concensus if its more fuel efficient to skip gears or not; or that there is not that much difference.

What about in terms of wear of clutch, gearbox and pedals? Will skipping gears have any value in this way by preserving these longer in better condition?

Just thinking, if you follow the shift indicators then going from 3rd to 4th and then to 5th there is very narrow gap (time wise) between the 4th and 5th gear (this fact is from memory, but I will play around with the gears on my way home today and sort of measure the time gaps between the shifts as per the indicator suggestions). This makes me think that it might make sense to give tad more acceleration on 3rd gear and go straight to 5th. This would be worth while if it does help to have less wear on youir gearbox, etc.

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I was always taught block changing was good for your gearbox in the long run. You don't go through as many gears. I.e when you approach a roundabout. 4th to 2nd skipping third is less movement etc. I imagine you'd need the car an awful long time to notice the differences.

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Designed for living, engineered to last B)

But hey you never know, in 30 years time there may well be a few well preserved examples of Fiesta Metals being driven around by classic car collectors, thankful that they blocked changed their gears to to prolong the life of the cogs :P

I was always taught block changing was good for your gearbox in the long run. You don't go through as many gears. I.e when you approach a roundabout. 4th to 2nd skipping third is less movement etc. I imagine you'd need the car an awful long time to notice the differences.

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I block change up the box purely because I'm lazy, usually 3rd to 5th or 4th to 6th, and down 5th to 3rd when approaching roundabouts etc. I doubt it is the most econimcal way to do it, you will either hold the previous gear for longer or change into the higher gear and the engine revs will dip... the difference is probably small anyway though.

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I block change in my Fiesta, I get 60-65mpg, enough said ;)

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I dont think its really any better but it can be worse.

There are two reasons it can be worse:

1. Revving higher than normal in 3rd

2. Labouring the engine in 5th.

Labouring can be as bad as over revving. Think of the difference when youre riding a bike and you change to a high gear when youre into your stride or if you change when youve only just started. It takes more energy and cars are the same.

I had a C4 for a short period and if I did this then it would drop to extremely low revs and drop to around 20mpg when if I did 4th then 5th itd be more like 35mpg.

My Corsa, however, is a lot better it will allow this but really it makes little difference between both ways.

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I'm trained to advanced and police response standard and only ever block change down.

I'll enter a slip road coming off motorways and drop to fourth half way up and then fourth to second just short of junctions or lights.

Will also block down from fourth to second when anticipating junctions, roundabouts and lights on urban roads.

I have never been advised or trained to block change up.

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I'd been taught to have the right gear for the speed, and if I shifted up or down a few gears due to a heavy acceleration then so be it. I was also taught to use engine breaking over the brake pedal where I could.

Fast forward 20 year or so to my advanced test and I was told to avoid engine breaking where possible as the then current logic was it's cheaper to replace brake components than clutch components and current brakes are better than what I had to use in the old Vauxhall Chevette (or Shove-it as it was usually referred to) my dad had and I practiced in when I was learning.

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I was always taught (by my dad who is an approved driving instructor) to skip gears changing up, going through the whole range is generally pointless as there's so much overlap in the gears. Not that I make a habit of doing it, but it's possible to change from 1st to 5th as you can do just under 30 in both. Thus, pulling away in a 30 I will never use 3rd, sometimes not even 4th (ie 1-2-5).

I once drove for a whole tanks worth of petrol changing at the shift light (2k rpm), this method took ages to get up to speed, no doubt annoyed people behind me (I was getting overtaken by vans on dual carriageways) and made under 5% difference in fuel economy.

My dad also taught me that you should never change down in order to use engine braking - use it when already in a gear by all means but don't change purely to leverage engine braking. In other words, when stopping from 60 in 5th stay in 5th until such a point that you'd stall unless putting the clutch in.

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I once drove for a whole tanks worth of petrol changing at the shift light (2k rpm), this method took ages to get up to speed, no doubt annoyed people behind me (I was getting overtaken by vans on dual carriageways) and made under 5% difference in fuel economy.

This is how I drive all the time. Isn't this how most people drive?

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My dad also taught me that you should never change down in order to use engine braking - use it when already in a gear by all means but don't change purely to leverage engine braking. In other words, when stopping from 60 in 5th stay in 5th until such a point that you'd stall unless putting the clutch in.

Using engine breaking when coming to a standstill from speed helps to slow the momentum of a car and puts less pressure on the brakes.

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I'd been taught to have the right gear for the speed, and if I shifted up or down a few gears due to a heavy acceleration then so be it. I was also taught to use engine breaking over the brake pedal where I could.

Fast forward 20 year or so to my advanced test and I was told to avoid engine breaking where possible as the then current logic was it's cheaper to replace brake components than clutch components and current brakes are better than what I had to use in the old Vauxhall Chevette (or Shove-it as it was usually referred to) my dad had and I practiced in when I was learning.

I also drive large vans when I'm not driving my Fiesta and I feel a lot safer using engine braking in combination with the brakes to bring the van to a rapid standstill, especially if I'm carrying a heavy load as heavy vehicles carry a lot of momentum. I guess in a small modern car it isn't really necessary.

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I will do this going down gears as I'm slowing but I've never done it up.

What happens when you end up with worn 3 and 5 gears but not 4th? Would it make changes into 4th more difficult?

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Interesting discussion! Ever since I had my car I had trouble changing from 5th down in to 4th (usually for a bend as I tend to stay in 5th until last possible moment), it was really annoying so I now always go from 5th to 3rd and I was really worried this could damage my car. After reading this thread I now feel a bit better about doing this!

I never ever block change up, never thought about it to be honest, as I go up the gears quite quickly, but I do block change down when stopping or approaching a round about as I was taught :)

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