Power Shifting: What is it, and is it okay to do in your car?

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When you do a power shift, you shift without lifting your foot off the accelerator pedal. It’s necessary so your engine can maintain speed.

You might not be familiar with the term power shifting, but if you own a car that has a manual transmission, it’s likely you’ve been doing it for years.

It’s a great way to drop the RPMs in a hurry while maintaining speed. This can be particularly helpful if you’re about to crest a hill or if you want to quickly get up to highway speeds.

The process is similar to shifting up in a manual car. You do this to bring the RPMs up to a point where you can rev-match for a downshift into a lower gear. By releasing the gas pedal for a split second before changing gears, the engine remains at high RPMs while the car is decelerated and, then, accelerated again.

The technique takes a bit of getting used to if you haven’t tried it because it’s not something that most drivers are accustomed to.

What are the benefits of power shifting?

Power shifting can save you a lot of time and gas in the long run, especially on those big hills. If you’re driving a manual transmission equipped car, chances are you’ve used your acceleration to help you get out of a tight spot.

The technique allows drivers to get the most out of their vehicle’s power. Many drivers use power shifting when they’re driving around corners, and while it may offer convenience, it does have some negative effects.

Is power shifting bad for my car?

While the visual appeal of power shifting is aesthetically pleasing from the driver’s seat, it can cause major issues for the car itself. For one, power shifting can lead to accelerated wear and tear on the transmission, although this occurs when power shifting takes place frequently, rather than just occasionally.

Because it involves manually shifting either multiple gears at once or downshifting while in high gear in order to build up speed quickly, power shifting puts substantial stress on not only the transmission itself, but the entire powertrain and drivetrain, so it does have some risk.

Most cars have a transmission with an input speed range that is wider than the engine speed range; this is called overdrive. In the fifth or sixth gear, you can cruise along at low RPMs and still get good highway mileage. The problem is that for every downshift you do, the transmission becomes more stressed.

The most common danger is when the driver downshifts before they actually need to. You may think that as long as you don’t do it every time, there’s not much harm in doing it. And you might be right. This feature may save time and a little gas money, but each time a driver shifts gears too soon, it causes more wear and tear on their transmission.

Can I power shift with an automatic transmission?

Technically, you can. But you might not have to. Since the new millennium, the auto industry has made power shift transmissions a more fuel-efficient and affordable job. Most automatic transmissions now are designed to power shift for you and the majority of us enjoy it.

Power shift transmissions are usually found in trucks and large vans and have been mainly used in diesel engines but will be making their way into cars over the next decade. It offers a lot of advantages for automotive fleets, which is one reason why more brands are introducing vehicles with this type of transmission system.

A dedicated power shift transmission will be a big trend in the 2020s as more automakers replace conventional automatic transmissions with this type of transmission system.


Power shifting is a driving technique which you can use to get higher fuel economy. It’s a popular term that refers to changing gears at full throttle, without releasing the gas pedal.

However, it requires you to maintain a constant pressure on the gas pedal while the transmission downshifts and then quickly upshifts back to put your car back into motion.

It’s an advanced technique that can help you speed around corners and brake more quickly. We’ve all seen famous drivers power shift sports cars in movies or TV shows, which can make the process seem exciting and maybe even cool.

But it is a delicate dance and one that every driver should learn to do well. If you don’t, you could be on the receiving end of a broken transmission and that’s no party.