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What is a Sequential Gearbox and How Does it Work?

Posted at Mon, May 27, 2019 10:00 AM

Unless you’re someone who loves tinkering with cars, the words “sequential gearbox” probably sound like Greek to you. However, you likely do know the term “manual transmission.” You know that in a car with a manual transmission, you use a clutch and shifter knob to move the car through the gears while you’re driving, going from first to second and up to fourth. Not everyone likes driving a car with a manual transmission, but everyone typically knows what it is.

A sequential gearbox is similar to a manual transmission, but it’s a bit different. In a car with a manual transmission, you shift the car through the gears in an “H” pattern. The top left position is first, and then you move straight down to second. To get to third, you shift up, to the right and up again. Fourth gear is straight down from third. In a vehicle with a sequential gearbox, you just hit a lever or a paddle to click through each of the gears in order, whether you are up-shifting or down-shifting.

Typically, you are going to find a sequential gearbox in a car that is designed for high performance or in a race car. In Formula One race cars, the shifters are located on either side of the steering wheel. The driver hits the lever on the left of the steering wheel to shift up and hits the lever on the right of the steering wheel to shift down. In other vehicles with a sequential gearbox, there is an actual lever that the driver either pushes forward or pulls back to shift up or shift down.

Advantages of a Sequential Gearbox

Many find a sequential gearbox easier to control than the regular manual transmission. Some people briefly stumble when they move from second to third, having to remember quickly the right shifting pattern. With a sequential gearbox, there is nothing to remember. You just push a paddle or a lever.

A sequential gearbox also prevents you from jumping gears when you are up-shifting or down-shifting. With a manual transmission, you can skip right from first to fourth gear if you want – though you will likely get some pushback from the car. With a sequential gearbox, you have no choice to skip gears. You have to move through each gear, and you’ll enjoy much smoother shifting and performance.

Upgrading to a Sequential Gearbox

If you currently drive a car with a manual transmission, you may be able to upgrade to a sequential gearbox to get better performance. You should talk with a mechanic about whether it’s possible for your vehicle and how it might improve your driving experience.

The expert mechanics at Tim’s Truck Capital are happy to help. They know the ins and outs of transmissions and can help you make the best choice for your vehicle. Call us today to make an appointment with one of our friendly and knowledgeable mechanics and learn about your options.

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