Paddle Shifters: Do They Live up to the Hype?

Paddle Shifters: Do They Live up to the Hype?

A look at how paddle shifters became so popular

Paddle shifters are a popular transmission option for modern automobiles. The concept behind paddle shifting has been around for almost a century. Recent technological advances, however, have made it more common for casual drivers to enjoy this style of driving.

Thurston County transmission is here to help you understand paddle shifting. Here are some pointers to help you decide if you should make the switch to the system.

What exactly are paddle shifters?

A paddle shift system refers to a semiautomatic transmission that relies exclusively on hand control. Rather than maneuvering a stick shift to switch between gears, a driver only has to tap paddles on the will in order to shift up or down.

Similar to traditional manual transmissions, going up and down through gears is sequential. A key difference between traditional manual transmissions and paddle shift transmissions is the lack of a clutch.

How do paddle shifters function?

Most of these systems rely on a torque converter. These converters are common in regular automatic transmissions, which require no input from the driver once a car is put into a driving gear.

With a paddle shift system, drivers have more control over the shift pattern of their car. Automatic transmissions are notorious for redlining before shifting, meaning more gas is consumed when operating an automatic as opposed to intelligent shifting in a manual transmission.

Do paddle shifters improve fuel economy?

In some cases, yes. Most semiautomatic transmissions have a built in system for shifting even without driver response. Similar to antilock brakes or stability control, these systems are intended to assist drivers.

If you understand how to operate a manual transmission, then you can enjoy fuel savings with a paddle shift system. Shifting gears at appropriate times is up to you.

Is it difficult to learn how to use paddle shifters?

Compared to traditional manual transmissions, no. There is far less footwork, and a driver does not have to master grabbing a stick shift in order to move up or down between gears.

Some automobile manufacturers suggest that if you are able to operate manual transmissions in a videogame with a handheld controller, then you will have no problem mastering paddle shifting. Without the clutch or having to reach for stick shift, it is easier to quickly maneuver between gears.

Contact Thurston County Transmission if you have other questions about paddle shifting or paddle shifter maintenance or repair for your vehicle.

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Thurston County Transmission is your trusted transmission repair, replacement & rebuild expert in the Olympia, WA area. We deliver quality auto repair & transmission service with the honesty and integrity you expect from a family owned, local business. Since 1990, we have prided ourselves on our ability to offer the highest quality service and repairs, with the highest level of customer service. We are a locally owned and operated family business that cares about our customers and our community.

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