Today, most vehicles do not favor manual transmissions. Also, people are appreciating automatic transmissions more than ever. One of the main reasons for this appreciation is Paddle Shifters, which are increasingly prevalent in modern cars serving both performance and purpose. Therefore, they can be found in all cars ranging from $25000 compact hatchbacks to $200,000 sports cars. So let’s learn more about paddle shifters. 

What is Paddle Shifters and How do they work

Paddle shifters or flappy paddles are mechanisms built at the back of a car’s steering wheel or on the steering column to facilitate the rapid shifting of gears and access better control during necessary situations.

There are 3 camps in which today’s vehicles are counted. These are:

-> Torque converter: Here the transmission uses fixed gears.

-> Dual-clutch: This consists of a pair of internal clutches, which engage and disengage.

-> Continuously variable transmission (CVT): This doesn’t have fixed gears but a belt setup to correlate the revs needed.


In road cars, paddle shifters are used differently. Drivers use Paddle shifters to select gears, rather than using the clutch pedal. It overrides the standard programming of transmission. It has default marks of Up/Down which means that one paddle upshifts while the other downshifts. In some vehicles, the right paddle upshifts, and the left downshifts while in other vehicles both the left and right shift up and down for flexibility. In maximum setups, this changes the gear when the shifter is in D(rive). At a time only one change takes place, and the speed of each change depends on the model or transmission. 

To cancel the override, the upshift paddle is held for a few seconds, after which the transmission returns to a fully automatic mode.

1. Control: Vehicles with automatic transmission expect the driver to move the shift lever to drive and move forward only using the accelerator and brake pedals. The selector is to be moved accordingly for reverse purposes. There isn’t much preference apart from occasional 3-2-1-L or similar gear patterns to manually select lower gears. 

Paddle shifters can make the car more responsive in some cases, even though modern automatic transmissions often judge responses on driving history and how the driver operates the accelerator pedal. Using these shifters, the driver can toggle through all available gears and override the standard programming.


2. Downshifting


-> Cornering: Using the left paddle, when you rapidly slow down and tightly turn a corner to lower your transmission down by one or two gears as you turn, provides extra torque for maneuver quickly. 

-> Towing Downhill: When you use the left paddle during downhill towing, to downshift your engine to control the load’s weight better, excess damage on your brakes is prevented.


3. Upshifting


A few paddle shifters allow starting in the second gear thus reducing the torque sent to the vehicle’s drive wheels. This prevents wheel spin from gaining and maintaining good traction in the snow.

For performance driving, paddle shifters function opposite for cars that start in second or third gear. Starting at first gear ensures maximum use of available power from the start.


In automatic transmission vehicles, paddle shifters let your car run in automatic mode and take control when required.

Performance cars like Ferrari etc., have an automatic transmission, along with control over gear changes from a traditional manual gearbox, making the car responsive on tracks or in hard-driving but easy in city traffic.