Is it okay to skip gears on a manual transmission?

Image result for Is it okay to skip gears on a manual transmission?For those who daily drive a vehicle equipped with a manual transmission, it’s likely a common practice. Rather than rowing through all five or six gears, drivers will skip from third to fifth, fourth to sixth and so on.

But is this practice safe to do? Engineering Explained tackled the common practice in its latest episode and the short answer is yes, it’s perfectly okay to skip gears when upshifting or downshifting. However, both practices should be undertaken with a little bit of background knowledge. For those who have years of experience working a manual gearbox, this may seem like common sense, but for others it’s good information.

When skipping a gear with a manual transmission, it should be noted the revs will take slightly longer to drop from the high revs to the lower revs. If you shift from third to fifth gear and let the clutch out at the same speed as normal, the car will jerk as it works to settle the unbalance. Instead, waiting just a tad longer to let the clutch out will keep things matched equally as the gearbox moves to meet a lower rev level.

When down shifting, it’s a little more tricky. Rev matching is essential when shifting from a low to high gear. For example, if you’re driving along the highway and you want to pass a slower moving vehicle, a shift from fifth to third may be in order. Rev matching the engine to the clutch will keep the car from jerking, and in the worst case, locking up the wheels. When the clutch speed and engine speed meet, they should be in near-perfect harmony. Plus, no one looks good under revving a car while down shifting. Clutch wear will also creep up on you, too.

Finally, another common question is answered: can you start moving from a standstill in a gear other than first? Again, the answer is yes, but it’s going to cause slightly more clutch wear. In first gear, the clutch can be completely released at a lower speed, while in second gear, it takes longer for the engine and clutch to match. It’s not an ideal thing to do, but there aren’t detrimental side effects either. With all of this said, happy shifting.


Top Gear’s ‘Reasonably-Priced Car’ goes on sale

Image result for Top Gear's 'Reasonably-Priced Car' goes on sale]The Kia Cee’d used on Top Gear’s ‘Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car’ segment between 2010 and 2013 has been listed on AutoTrader for £4,500.

Having been driven around the Top Gear track by more than 40 celebrities during its time on the programme, it’s not the kind of car we’d ordinarily recommend buying. Its former drivers include Rowan Atkinson, Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Rupert Grint and Michael Fassbender, not to mention The Stig himself.

The ‘Cee-apostrophe-D’ has 7,200 miles on the clock, around 4,000 of which have been since it left the Top Gear track and went into private ownership. Safety modifications include a full roll cage (which prevents the rear seats from being used) and racing harnesses, as well as Corbeau bucket seats.

Underneath, it’s still a 1.6-litre petrol Kia with eight months MOT. We can’t think of a better-value piece of automotive history.


American Express Partnership With Costco Ends, Shifts Gears to Fundera

amex business cards

Looking for financing options to fund your small business? You now have a new option to consider on online marketplace Fundera.

A new partnership between American Express and Fundera sees Fundera expanding its small business funding marketplace to now include American Express OPEN charge cards. What this means is that next time you visit Fundera to review different types of funding for your business, you will find the OPEN charge cards featured on the platform.

By getting its OPEN charge cards onto the popular Fundera platform through this new partnership between American Express and Fundera, American Express is hoping to regain the business it recently lost after its credit card partnership with Costco Wholesale Corp. ended this year.

To have its charge cards featured on Fundera, American Express said it will pay an undisclosed amount to the online marketplace for small business loans.

Advantages of OPEN Charge Cards for Small Businesses

For a small business owner, there are several reasons to look at the OPEN charge cards option.

To begin with, there is no pre-set spending limit, which means unlike a credit card the spending limit on these cards can be adjusted depending on your use. Moreover, you get to pay off your balance in full every month.

Another of the features of the cards, according to American Express, is that they make it simpler for you to access funds without having to wait for your loan application to get approved. With a charge card, you get 30 days to pay back the balance without incurring interest. In other words, if you are in need of quick funds, the charge card option is the one you may want to look at.

Yet another feature that may make these cards appealing is the fact that they can be a complementary product to a traditional loan you’ve opted for. For example, if you haven’t qualified for the full loan amount you need, you may use the charge card to meet your financial requirements.

You may also use the card for your future funding needs without having to go through a loan application process all over again.

It’s worth noting that the OPEN cards come with some unique financial management products that are not found with other financing and credit products. Some of these include:

  • ReceiptMatch which allows you to easily add receipts, tags and notes to your transactions,
  • Employee cards that help you control your employee’s spending limits and keep a close eye on where the money is being spent,
  • An Account Management tool that allows you to invite your business partner, assistant, or someone else to manage your account.

American Express’ Growing Focus on Small Businesses

American Express has been eyeing small business lending for quite some time now. In an interview, David Rabkin, American Express’ senior vice president of small business customer acquisition said, “One of the very most important things we’re doing as a company is lending and funding.”

To attract more small businesses, the company has introduced a host of new financing products.

One of its latest offerings is the no annual fee SimplyCash Plus Business Credit Card, which provides greater buying power and more opportunities to earn cash back from a larger list of business expense categories.

Image: American Express


When the Economy Forces You to Shift Gears

Hard economic times force even the savviest business owner to reconsider whether he or she is in the right field. When unemployment reaches record levels, people aren’t buying luxury items. Or real estate. Or organic foods. So what do you do when the business you’ve been developing falls flat in financially frustrating times?

shifting gear

Do what Chris Luna did: Switch gears. Luna was in real estate finance when things got bad, and decided to go back to school. In the meantime, he needed work. After scratching 9-to-5 work, modeling and physical labor off of his list of possibilities, he turned to his experiences. He had a lot of experience in dating, so he thought, Why not start a dating coach service?

“I had started off shy and awkward with women and learned not to be.  For men beginning that same journey, what I had learned had economic value, assuming I could communicate these lessons in a way that allowed them to be more successful. I thought that I could.”

He formed Craft of Charisma, and began offering dating and relationship coaching services in New York City.

Look Before You Dive

Luna tested out Google AdWords campaigns to see if there was a demand for dating coach services in New York City. This cost him a minimal amount, compared to what it would have cost to launch full-on into business without really knowing if the market was there. In a recession, none of us can afford to dive without looking.

Fred Vallaeys, Google AdWords Evangelist, says that online advertising can be an affordable way to dip your toes into a business idea without a time and money investment that you can’t afford. His advice:

  • Know your website numbers
  • Drive traffic
  • Monitor your brand online
  • Engage with consumers online
  • Be an expert
  • Improve your website design

Luna stresses the importance of entrepreneurs asking themselves questions before jumping into a new business or field: “Think about your next entrepreneurship venture in terms of solving a series of problems.”

He says you have to ask yourself why you want to change fields. The answer should be strong enough to motivate you when you encounter challenges (and you will). Once you’re sure making a change is right for you, ask yourself:

  • What will I sell?
  • Who will I sell it to?
  • How will I reach them?

And look to affordable resources, such as online advertising and social media, as a way to do research to find out if there’s a market for your new business idea.

Image from tommistock/Shutterstock