Most of the cars sold in Singapore have automatic gearboxes, and many of them offer a manual override feature.
But if you’ve never used this function, you might be wondering if it is even safe to do so.
Don’t worry, using it couldn’t be simpler.
LOOK FOR THE –/+ SIGNS ON YOUR SHIFT GATE.
In the above image, manual mode is activated by sliding the gearshift lever to the right of the D setting.
When this happens, the current gear that the car is in will be displayed on the dashboard.
To manually downshift, nudge the gearshift lever in the direction of the – symbol. Do the reverse to upshift.
ACTIVATING MANUAL MODE ISN’T THE SAME FOR ALL BRANDS.
In the latest BMW 3 Series, the manual override gate is shared with the drivetrain’s Sport setting. Sliding the gear knob into this gate activates the Sport setting first.
To switch to manual override, you’ll have to either nudge the knob to perform a gear change. If the car is so-equipped, you can pull on one of the paddles.
For most vehicles, the gearbox will remain in manual mode until the driver slides the gearshift lever back into the D setting.
IN SOME CARS, MANUAL MODE IS TRIGGERED WHEN A SHIFT PADDLE IS PULLED.
Some cars allow the driver to momentarily override the automatic gearbox by pulling a paddle shifter.
However, manual mode in these cars isn’t permanent. After a short while, the gearbox reverts to the automatic setting.
High-performance models, such as Mercedes-AMGs, have a dedicated M button. Pressing it puts the gearbox in manual mode permanently.
WHY DOESN’T MY CAR REMAIN IN MANUAL MODE?
Not all vehicles can stay in manual mode permanently. In some cars, they naturally revert back to the default automatic setting.
If you are unsure, check with your dealer.
IS MANUAL MODE DANGEROUS?
Manual override is inherently not dangerous. It is a way for carmakers to offer more driver involvement, sans manual gearbox.
That said, if you find this feature distracting (missed turns, near misses/hits), you probably shouldn’t use it.
In some cars, manual mode will enable the driver to repeatedly redline the engine. This increases engine wear, especially if you do it when the motor is still cold.
In other vehicles, the manufacturer may have an auto upshift function – despite the gearbox being in manual override.
The gearbox shifts up automatically upon reaching a pre-determined rpm level.