The change of palette. It’s not just something that looks good on rally cars, it’s an increasingly popular way to control engine power in a car these days. The paddle shift system is a key component in a semi-automatic vehicle control system. These can be one of the most fun ways to drive a car, but they also have a number of benefits.
In this article we are going to take a good look at the paddle shift control system. We’ll see what it is, why it works so well, and how you too can use it to get the most out of your car.
But before we get to all of that, there is a basic question that we need to address first:
What are paddle shifts?
Let’s get into this now, what the heck are rowing shifts? Well, first of all there is the question of what they are physically. Then there is the question of what they do.
First things first, if you’ve never seen a set of paddle shifters in a car, they can be found immediately behind the wheel. They will always come in pairs and will always be mounted with a paddle on each side of the steering wheel. Many paddle shifters are installed in a mount with some ability to reposition the gears closer to or further from the steering wheel. This is because they are designed to be used with the fingers, without the hands leaving the wheel.
How do they really look? Well, these are very much a Ronseal-style product, in the sense that they do exactly what they say on the tin. Or in this case, they look exactly like what they say on the tin! Paddle shifts look like … paddles.
Who could have seen it coming?
What do the paddle shifts do?
So that’s where the gear stick is placed on the vehicle and what it looks like. But what does it actually do?
Well, as we mentioned, a paddle shift is employed on a vehicle that uses a semi-automatic transmission. These types of transmissions are very interesting little inventions that are in the middle between automatic and manual transmissions.
Unlike an automatic transmission, a vehicle with a semi-automatic transmission will not shift gears for you.
However, unlike a manual transmission, a semi-automatic car only has two pedals, there is no clutch pedal.
How the hell can you change gears without a clutch? Well, with a set of paddle shifts, this is how!
The benefits of paddle shifting
Now you know what the gear lever looks like, you know where it can be found on the vehicle, and you know what it does. Next, it’s probably a good idea to take a look at why you should use paddle shifts. After all, these are not components or control methods that many people are familiar with.
That, at least for us, is a real shame, because rowing turns have a number of benefits and advantages.
One of the key benefits of using shift paddles is ensuring better overall performance from your car, especially compared to automatic transmissions. An automatic car or truck will shift gears for you. It does this by monitoring the revs and demand on the vehicle’s engine.
However, it’s not always worth shifting gears with performance in mind, which is why most race cars, from NASCAR to Formula One, have manual transmission. By using paddle shifters in your car, you are literally putting gear shift control back in your hands.
That means you can accelerate and shift gears to improve performance.
This other benefit is in the same vein as the previous one, by placing gear shift control back in your hand. The truth is that even as cars get smarter and smarter, there is still no car built with the intelligence to adapt gear changes to outside weather conditions. That’s especially true during a rapid change in the weather, say, for example, if it suddenly starts to rain during a trip.
When you’re in control, you can tailor your driving style, including gear changes, to suit road conditions as you encounter them. Let’s take the previous example, the sudden downpour. When you control gear changes with the paddle shifters, you can slow the vehicle down without relying on the brakes. This can help prevent skidding and electric skidding on wet roads.
- Extend the life of the car
One great thing that paddle shifts allow for is smooth acceleration. A semiautomatic is better to avoid a …