Paddle Shifters: How Do They Work?

Paddle Shifters

Paddle Shifters: For Ease Of Driving

These days, people enjoy the ease of changing the gears with paddle shifters. They are as seen in formula-one race cars. Paddle Shift technology is one of the most innovative technologies invented in the history of automobiles. This technology was first tested successfully on the racetracks with fast cars. After successfully incorporating this technology in racecars, many cars accepted it regularly.

This technology offers comfort and convenience to the drivers. They would not have to reach the gear-shifter for shifting gears. Instead, they could just use a lever for the purpose. This technology of shifting gears up or down uses two paddles on both sides of the steering wheel.


You might have seen formula one cars while they shift gears up or down with the help of paddle shifters. In the earlier days, manufacturers provided this technology only in high-end, high-performance cars or SUVs for driver ease. However, there is an increasing popularity of paddle shifters amongst ordinary people. So now, manufacturers started offering this technology in the regular class or the middle-class sedans and SUVs. This technology uses two types of transmissions: semi-automatic and automatic transmission. In the automatic transmission, paddle shifters allow the driver to shift gears with just a push of the paddle by shifting the gear lever up or down. Some manufacturers use this technology in almost all of their cars & SUVs.

Paddle Shift in Honda Jazz

In the case of semi-automatic transmission, you could make out that the particular vehicle has the facility of paddle shifters for the driver’s convenience. The semi-automatic transmission and paddle shifters work the same way as automatic transmissions. It works in Park (P), Reverse (R), Neutral (N), and Drive (D) modes. However, an additional feature is Sports mode (S). Therefore, the paddle shifter will only work in automatic transmission when it is in Sports mode. In this situation, the automatic transmission acts as a manual transmission. Here, you could enjoy the ride the same way as a manual transmission.

Paddle Shifters: Design

Since the transmission in the vehicle is automatic, you don’t need any clutch mechanism while shifting gears with paddle shifters. Most manufacturers use two shifters at the backside of the steering wheel. However, some manufacturers use only one paddle shifter that allows the driver to shift gears up or down. In the two paddle shifters behind the steering wheel, the manufacturers mark them as “+” and “-.” Again, it is for a better understanding of the driver. “+” means to shift the gear up, and “-” means to shift the gear down.

Peddle Shifters (Courtesy: Mitsubishi)
Paddle Shifters (Courtesy: Mitsubishi)


One manufacturer that uses paddle-shift technology in their vehicles is Mitsubishi. The SUV manufactured by Mitsubishi, Outlander, has paddle shift technology for the transmission with Sports mode. Shifting the paddle up means putting the gear to the next highest gear. Shifting the paddle down means shifting the gear to the next lowest gear. Besides, you could return to regular drive operation by pulling the right or ‘+’ paddle towards the driver for more than two seconds. Another leading and the most popular vehicle manufacturer Volkswagen’s popular SUV Touareg uses buttons placed on the steering wheel. It contrasts with using paddle shifters at the back of the steering wheel.

Paddle Shifters (Courtesy: Mitsubishi)
Paddle Shifters (Courtesy: Mitsubishi)

Using paddle-shift technology in the vehicle, the driver could enjoy both the transmissions – automatic & manual, without using the clutch. People use automatic transmission in cities and manual transmission on highways with Paddle shifters. Every car manufacturer all over the world gives this technology a custom name. Besides, they have their own technique to use in their vehicles. However, manufacturers use this technology in the regular cars that common people use. it is very convenient to shift gears in the city and highways. Moreover, with its handiness in vehicles, people would not have to move their hand to gear stick on the side. They also no longer need to press the clutch repeatedly.


You could just shift the lever up or down to change the gear in your vehicle without using the clutch. Thus, it is possible with the help of the combination of automatic transmission and Sports mode feature added to it. Apart from regular cars, now manufacturers offer this technology in various vehicles such as buses, trucks, motorcycles, and many more.

Advantages of Paddle Shifters:

  1. You could change gears by the levers on steering wheel.
  2. Change gears without using clutch.
  3. Benefitial during Stop-and-Go traffic.
  4. Less stress on the driver.
  5. Use it as manual transmission on highways.

Most leading automobile manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, Honda, Toyota, Mitsubishi, and Renault cars employ paddle shifters.

Watch the Paddle Shifters in action here:

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