This Is Why You Shouldn't Rest Your Hand On The Gearstick When Driving

It's an easy habit to get into, but leaving your hand sitting on the gear knob can cause unnecessary damage to your transmission
This Is Why You Shouldn't Rest Your Hand On The Gearstick When Driving

Your driving instructor probably told you to keep two hands on the steering wheel as much as possible, and although you may have generated some of your own mannerisms from your driving experiences, this is a rule that really should be adhered to. Many of us become lazy and rest our gear-changing hand on the gearstick, but did you know that you could potentially be doing damage to your car’s transmission?

Follow the gearstick downwards into the transmission tunnel and you’ll find that on the other end is a control rod that has selector forks along its length, with each one being shared by two gears. This shift fork is designed to engage with a dog clutch, a gear found rotating on the input shaft of the gearbox. The fork then pushes the dog clutch up against the gear needing to be selected with the help of a synchromesh to allow for smooth meshing of the toothed components.

This Is Why You Shouldn't Rest Your Hand On The Gearstick When Driving

A selector fork is therefore designed to apply a force to the rotating collar of the dog clutch, with small contacts at each end of the fork used as contact areas between the two. The selector fork however is only designed to contact the rotating dog clutch for a small amount of time. Sit your hand on the gearstick with a certain force and you can end up forcing the selector fork against the rotating collar for a sustained period of time, thus causing unnecessary wear.

Shift forks in general are manufactured from hardened steel and therefore can deal with the normal forces applied during an average gear change, but the weight of your hand/arm on the gearstick can greatly accelerate the wear on both the dog clutch and the selector fork.

Remote video URL

Worst case scenario, you could snap a selector fork or wear down the dog clutch collar, which could potentially lead to further transmission trouble. So make sure to practice slick gear changes followed by putting your gear-changing hand back on the steering wheel, keeping maximum control of your car. Your driving will improve through easier, safer and more accurate car placement, and your gearbox will thank you for not causing any further unnecessary stress on its components.

With obvious safety benefits coming from spending as little time with both hands away from the wheel as possible, make sure to practice your ten-to-two or quarter-to-three position as much as possible, leaving that gearstick well alone. Because - in this case - the cool way isn’t the right way!


Tomislav Celić

insert sad emoji here

11/20/2016 - 11:08 |
2 | 2

B-but god hand

11/20/2016 - 11:36 |
298 | 4

His transmission runs on Super Eurobeat, so it’s OK.

11/20/2016 - 12:14 |
250 | 2


11/20/2016 - 12:34 |
0 | 20


11/20/2016 - 23:47 |
0 | 12


11/21/2016 - 05:36 |
0 | 18

He doesn’t rest his hand on the gear knob, he holds it, resting your hand would mean slower reaction time, so he prolly just holds it but doesn’t pressure it

11/21/2016 - 23:40 |
0 | 0
Joshua Lue

Well thats certainly going to ‘change’ how I drive now.

I’m sorry but I was always ‘gearing’ up to use a bad pun like that.

11/20/2016 - 11:36 |
84 | 2

It’s nice when a couple of puns mesh together like that.

11/20/2016 - 12:09 |
62 | 2

thats so punny!

11/21/2016 - 01:10 |
0 | 2
Andrew G.

Problem is my gear shifter keeps rattling. Noise doesn’t stop unless I hold it still.

11/20/2016 - 13:28 |
2 | 0
Michael R. T. Jensen

My Focus has 482,000 on it. When I’m driving, 85% of the time my right hand is on the shifter. I also use it to downshift to slow down, so it’s literally like my brakes. Therefore, keeping my hand near it makes sense. I’d also like to point out that my transmission is 100% original, even through all those miles, and having had my hand on the knob. Yes, it may wear it out faster, but I think that it’s so minor that you’ll never have to worry about it.

11/20/2016 - 14:28 |
44 | 2

It will still put more wear on syncros and shift forks

11/20/2016 - 23:11 |
0 | 0

thats because the linkage between the shifter and trans is different for front wheel drive. the shifter connects to a cable which controls the control rod. The connection is not as direct.

11/21/2016 - 15:11 |
2 | 2

Never had problem. Been driving lots of different manuals. Never spoke to anyone having a problem fro holding the hand on gear stick. This problem is highly theoretical.

11/20/2016 - 18:42 |
4 | 0

You shouldn’t really have to worry about resting your hands on the gearstick because they don’t really exist anymore 😔

11/20/2016 - 19:42 |
12 | 2

With fairly light steering effort in my car and a bad shoulder on my shifting-arm, I really feel that one hand on the steering wheel is enough in the city. When things get a little more hairy, I noticed my immediate reflex is to immediately put the second arm back on the steering wheel anyway, so I don’t suppose I’m losing that much on the safety front. And of course - when driving fast, my hands are placed quarter-to-three.

11/20/2016 - 20:24 |
0 | 0
Walter White 1

You could say i’m very egear to change gear

11/20/2016 - 21:17 |
0 | 0


Sponsored Posts