What are Paddle Shifters in Cars & How they Work?
In the present automotive landscape, many cars are manufactured with automatic transmissions due to their convenience and comfort. However, customers' desire for an authentic driving experience has remained prevalent.
Paddle shifters have come as a wonderful rescue, particularly in automatic cars, catering to those who miss the feel of manual transmissions. Let’s dive deep to understand what it actually is and how it works.
What is a Paddle Shifter in Cars?
Paddle shifters are integrated mechanisms built on the back of the car’s steering wheel. There are two paddles on either side of the wheel. The main function of the right paddle is to upshift, that is, move from a lower to higher gear, while the left paddle is employed for downshifting.
However, in some vehicles, both the left and right paddles are designed to function for either upshifting or downshifting, making it easy for drivers to switch gears without touching the clutch.
What are the Types of Transmissions that Use Paddle Shifters?
Let’s dive in and look at the different types of transmissions available in cars and their corresponding paddle shifters.
1. Manual Transmission
Manual transmission offers drivers full control over the car and what it does. They are commonly found in sports cars owing to the fun factor. While these cars still have a clutch pedal, they utilise the car's steering wheel shifters instead of a traditional gear lever.
These paddle shifters strike just the right balance between the convenience and the joy of manual gear selection.
2. Automated Manual Transmission
As the name suggests, the automated manuals are semi-automated manual transmissions. The setup is quite similar to a manual transmission with a clutch.
However, a computer performs the gear-shifting tasks that a driver typically handles with a clutch. In certain cases, the driver would still need to depress the clutch pedal to start or stop the vehicle easily.
3. Automatic Transmission Paddle
An automatic transmission is one that automatically adjusts the gear without the need for manual gear shifting by the driver. It uses a planetary gearset, torque converter, and clutches to shift gears quickly and smoothly.
How do Paddle Shifters Work in a Car?
Depending on the transmission type - automatic or manual, paddle shifters in the car allow you to shift gears. It lets you do so while keeping your hands on the steering wheel, eliminating the need to reach gear level. This design ensures quicker gear changes and a safer driving experience.
Clicking on the right paddle upshifts the transmission, while a left paddle indicates a downshift allowing for a seamless transition to lower gears.
How to Use Paddle Shifters in Automatic Transmission?
Given below are the easy steps to use paddle shifters in automatic transmission.
- Step 1: Engage the car in drive mode and press ‘M’ for manual.
- Step 2: Using the paddles behind the steering wheel, shift the car’s gears easily.
- Step 3: Push the right paddle if you want to upshift and vice versa.
How to Use Paddle Shifters in Manual Transmission?
Check out the steps to use paddle shifters in manual transmission.
- Step 1: Depress the clutch pedal and select the gear you want using paddle shifters.
- Step 2: Gradually release the clutch while giving the car some gas to smoothly transition into the chosen gear.
- Step 3: Shift the gears up or down using paddle shifters.
- Step 4: To stop the vehicle, downshift until you reach first gear and then depress the clutch pedal again.
When is the Correct Time to Shift Gears Using Paddle Shifters in Cars?
The right time to shift gears with paddle shifters usually depends upon the current driving conditions and what you wish to accomplish with a manual shifting of gears.
- Listen to the engine note: With experience with manual shifting, you’ll recognise when it’s time to upshift gear based on the engine's sound.
- Look out for warning lights: Many vehicles have warning lights equipped in the instrument cluster, giving you signals when it’s time to shift gears.
Paddle shifters offer drivers way more control over the vehicle, thus making the driving experience more convenient. With them installed in your cars, you can quickly react to any driving situations on the road, while built-in fail-safes will help prevent any damage if you accidentally make a mistake.