Today, only a few people in the US buy non-automatic cars. But these cars are still in the market and those who want to get the feel of having complete control of their cars often like these vehicles. When your car has a manual transmission, as you keep shifting from one gear to the next, you’ll enjoy the feel of your car. Automatic transmission, on the other hand, gives you less control as the gears move from one step to the next without your input.
Car manufacturers understand that you may want to take control of your car even if it is an automatic car. That’s why they’ve included paddle shifters.
What are paddle shifters?
Motor vehicle manufacturers are replacing manual transmissions faster than the communication industry replaced landline phones. This is despite the wails and protests from car enthusiasts. Some of these enthusiasts argue that automatic transmission takes away the command, fun, and passion of driving.
In response to this, car manufacturers include paddle shifters of automatic vehicles to bring control and the joy back to drivers. Paddle shifters will allow you to shift from automated driving to taking control of your gears. Whether you are on a continuous variable transmission, dual-clutch system, or hydraulic unit machine, the automatic transmission system has a computer that automatically shifts gears depending on the speed and the terrain.
The programmers do a perfect job to ensure the cars are optimized for power, fuel consumption, and smoothness. This automatic system will select the highest possible gear for the driving condition so your engine will run at a speed that saves on fuel but generates maximum power.
As you can see, automatic transmission takes full control of the vehicle, leaving you, the driver, with very little to do. However, a time can come when you want to regain control of your car, and that’s why paddle shifters are included in automatic vehicles.
How the paddle shifters are used
The paddle shifters will let you shift from automatic control to manual control. The paddles shifters are found behind your steering wheel one on each side. These shifters have different calibrations – one has a plus sign (+) while the other has a minus (negative) sign (-). The shifter with a positive sign is used to shift gears upwards in steps, while the one with a minus sign is used to shift gears downward, also in steps.
These shifter act as the clutch in manual transmission vehicles. When you shift the gear up or down, they’ll send a signal to the car’s computer which will, in turn, direct the clutch to disengage or engage.
This technology has become very popular because it provides drivers with an option to use an automatic or manual transmission.
How to cancel the paddle shifters
Normally, the paddle shifters change gears one step at a time. Any time you set your car to Drive, these shifters will be ready for use. We’ll see in a short while the benefits of these paddle shifters. The question we want to answer now is how you can change from using the paddle shifters (manual) to the automatic mode. Interestingly, this change doesn’t require much from you. When you stop using the paddle shifters for some time, your car will automatically shift to the automatic mode.
When you downshift or upshift by pulling the paddle shifters or tapping them, the transmission will use your chosen gear only for some seconds, and if there’s no further action from you, it will revert to automatic mode. This means it will override your activity if you stay longer. However, if you want to cancel the override and continue controlling your car, what you need to do is to maintain the pressure on the paddles a bit longer. This way, the automatic mode will not set in.
Nearly all the vehicles with paddle shifters can be set to a manual mode. When the gear selector is on the manual mode, the computers on your car will wait for you to pull the paddle before shifting the transmission. And in case you forget to pull the paddle, the vehicle has a fail-safe mechanism that’ll eventually upshift. The same happens with downshifting. The vehicle’s computer can override your action if you downshift when it is not safe to do so.
Paddle shifters benefits
Now that you have some information about paddle shifters, it’s good to know how you can benefit from them. Not many people are familiar with this technology. That’s why knowing their benefits can help you decide whether to start using them or not. Apart from allowing you to have fun driving, the paddle shifters have the following benefits:
Performance is perhaps the most important benefit you’ll derive from paddle shifters. Paddle shifters increase the performance and power of vehicles. Automatic transmissions are great at shifting gears which the help of an internal computer which monitor the demands and rev’s of your car’s engine. However, when the automatic transmission shifts gears, the cars’ performance won’t be considered. By shifting the gear using the paddle shifters, you are sealing this loophole and making the car to perform better.
Even though automatic vehicles are considered smart, they may not cope up with driving conditions that require abrupt changes such as when overtaking or during a heavy downpour. Such abrupt changes need human input. For example, during a heavy rainfall, you can easily use the paddle shifters to reduce speed and drive safely rather than braking. That will prevent skidding when the road is wet.
When overtaking, the paddle shifters can help you accelerate easily and safely rather than waiting for the gear to respond automatically.
Before you go
All automatic vehicles have paddle shifters. Using this technology requires some learning. Just like you learned how to drive the manual transmission vehicles, you need to fully understand how the automatic vehicles operate so you can enjoy the full benefits of the paddle shifters. You can talk to the car manufacturers to guide you on this.