Before we begin the ‘how to change down gears’ tutorial, you should have an understanding of:
- The cockpit drill (so that you can reach all controls comfortably).
- What neutral gear is in a car (and how to find it).
- Palming method for gear changing. (The technique we use to find the correct gear).
How to Change Down Gears
Changing down gears is when you’re in a high gear such as 5th and want to change down to 4th, 3rd, 2nd etc. You can change down gears using selective gear changing, or ‘block gear changing’ as it’s also known, but first you need to practice sequential gear changing, in other words, changing down gears in order.
Just as with the changing up gears tutorial, we’ll be using the palming method for making down gear changes. Practice changing down gears in a car with the engine switched off. Ensure the car is secured with the parking brake and that the clutch pedal is fully depressed.
5th Gear to 4th Gear
When changing down gears, it’s important that you select the correct gear. For example, if you went from 5th gear to 2nd gear when you intended to go into 4th, it can potentially be damaging to your vehicle and hazardous to other road users. To avoid that;
1. Keeping your palm facing you, pull the gear lever down from 5th gear and into neutral.
2. Momentarily release the gear lever. This will allow the gear lever to spring to its normal position of sitting directly between 3rd and 4th gear.
3. Now pull the gear lever backwards into 4th gear.
4th Gear to 3rd Gear
To change down from 4th gear to 3rd, simply use the palm of your hand to push the gear lever forward from 4th, into neutral and continuing forward into 3rd gear.
3rd Gear to 2nd Gear
To change down from 3rd gear to 2nd, face the palm of your hand away from you, pull the gear lever backwards into neutral, then push to the right until the gear lever stops. Then finally pull the lever backwards into 2nd gear.
2nd Gear to 1st Gear
To change down from 2nd gear into 1st, face the palm of your hand away from you, maintain slight pressure to the right and push the gear lever forward all the way up into 1st gear.