What Does 6 Speed Manual Mean? – Guide To Use It

A manual transmission system uses a clutch to regulate torque transfer from the car engine to the transmission and a gear stick to select gears manually.

A transmission can offer different gear ratios to meet various customer needs.

What does 6 speed manual mean? In terms of automobiles, speeds are also known as gear ratios.

If that question is a puzzle, this post will help you answer it. Let’s keep reading for further information about this transmission type!

What Does 6 Speed Manual Mean?

What Does 6 Speed Manual Mean?

In general, 6 speed meaning is a manual transmission with six gears, but this type of transmission can be found in both automatic and manual automobiles.


What is 6 speed manual?

A 6-speed manual transmission car has a lever system that a driver must shift to accelerate. Different gears will propel the vehicle through a given speed range.

To accelerate from a standstill to their car’s top speed, a driver must shift through all of the gears.

The 6-speed transmission was first seen on models like the Ferrari 456 and BMW 850i in the 1990s. It eventually became standard in many vehicles in the 2000s.

Because the sixth gear has replaced the reverse position of the original five-speed manuals, 6-speed manuals often shifted the reverse gear next to the first one.

Many vehicles require drivers to pull the gear lever’s bottom upwards to move it far to the left (the reverse gear’s position) to prevent them from mistakenly shifting into reverse.

Difference Between a Six-Speed Vs Five-Speed Transmission

As explained before about the 6-speed manual, the definition of a 5-speed manual transmission is pretty much the same, except it only has five forward speeds that are properly coordinated.

The transmission lever knob displays the gear shift pattern. When you move into reverse, the backup lights illuminate.

Here are some primary differences between these two:


The extra speed from a 5-speed transmission in modern 6-speeds helps the engine to operate at a lower RPM to save gasoline. This distinction is particularly noticeable at highway speeds.


Whereas drivers in a 5-speed automobile are encouraged to accelerate above 25 mph in the 4th gear, drivers in a 6-speed car are recommended to accelerate more than 35 mph in the 5th gear.


Because manual shifting is a pretty obvious skill set, there is no quick guide for a driver transitioning from a 5-speed to a 6-speed vehicle.

The driver only needs to get a feel for the engine and be able to figure out the alterations on her own.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of 6-Speed Manual

After you have the answer to what is a 6 speed manual, you should summarize its pros and cons. This way, you can decide the best choice for your car.


The first advantage of a 6-speed manual transmission is that it allows the driver greater control over how hard the engine works and how much power is sent to the car wheels.

Because the transmission includes 6 different speeds to improve engine control, which translates to direct driver participation, various sports vehicles have manual transmissions.

If you’re on the open road or highway, you’re likely to reach speeds of 65 mph or higher. Your sixth gear will help you.

It’s an overdrive system that lets the automobile run at lower than normal RPMs while saving gasoline. These are the primary distinctions between 5 and 6-gear manual transmissions.

Moreover, when your car can operate effectively with a 6-speed manual, it can reduce the speed of wear and tear.

The intrinsic physical and mechanical properties of a 6-speed manual transmission translate to greater resistance to degradation, less maintenance, and easier reparability.


Drivers who are solely used to automatic or continuously variable transmissions may find manual transmissions difficult and daunting.

Driving a vehicle with a manual transmission has a sharper learning curve since it requires using an extra clutch pedal while maintaining the right gear selection at all times.

It necessitates more coordination and concentration.

And especially with 6-speed manuals, many drivers will have trouble getting used to and realizing the difference between gears.

Thus, it takes a driver longer to work the clutch pedal and move the gear stick to select the proper gear.

Despite its durability (mentioned above), lower maintenance times, and cheaper maintenance cost due to its mechanical simplicity, this transmission is nonetheless susceptible to maintenance owing to inappropriate operation.

For example, improper gear selection can result in damage.

Under varied conditions, the clutch is also prone to wear and tear. Driving in 1st gear or wrongly advancing the car creates significant mechanical stress due to friction.

Because of the necessity to fight the force of gravity, friction increases when going from a standstill position up a hill.

Nonetheless, some drivers activate the non-electric parking brake when driving from uphill to extend the clutch’s life.

Step-By-Step Instructions For Driving A 6-Speed Transmission

Driving A 6-Speed Transmission

As mentioned, six-speed transmissions were once uncommon, but in recent days this type has become more prevalent and can be found on Volkswagens and some higher-end vehicles such as BMWs and Porsches.

If you don’t do it correctly, it might cause your manual transmission to go into gear but won’t move. Here are some steps to instruct you on how to drive with this transmission.

Step 1: Getting to know your control

First, familiarizing yourself with the vehicle’s controls is a must. Sit in the driver’s seat and observe the three-foot controls:

  • The left: the clutch pedal
  • The middle: the brake pedal
  • The right: the gas pedal

The shift gear stick and the steering wheel are the other controls.

Step 2: Start the car and adjust the shift lever

Push the clutch pedal. Insert the key into the car ignition to start your vehicle.

Adjust the shift lever in the first gear position (the 6-speed manual’s left).

The second one is straight down from the first, the 3rd gear is slightly up and over to the second, the fourth is slightly down from the third, the five is over to the transmission right, and the sixth is down from the fifth.

The reverse gear position varies according to the model, but it will be to the left or right of the forward gears and either up or down.

Step 3: Press and release clutch slowly

Stop pressing the clutch until it engages and the vehicle moves forward a little. Apply a small throttle to prevent the car engine from stalling and move it.

While slowly and smoothly pushing on the gas pedal, simultaneously release the vehicle’s clutch.

Don’t release your clutch abruptly. Keep it engaged part of the way while accelerating.

Step 4: Shift to second gear

Shift into the second gear at the speed of 3,000 RPM. Remove your foot from the gas pedal, push the clutch, and move the lever all the way down to the second position.

Once the car lever is placed in the second gear position, release the clutch and continue to speed up smoothly. Many current cars have high-revving engines that can be changed at 6,000 or 7,000 RPM.

You should only try this after getting comfortable with operating a manual transmission.

Step 5: Shift to 6 gear

As the speed increases, shift into the next higher gear. The sixth gear on a 6-speed transmission car is only used at motorway speeds and is often regarded as an overdrive gear.

A 6-speed gearbox, as opposed to a five-speed gearbox, will require more shifting because the gear ratios are closer.

Step 6: Downshift the gear properly

You can downshift the gears when the car’s speed falls. Press the clutch, shift the lever to the next lower gear, and then release the clutch smoothly.

Smoothness is one of the important characteristics of controlling a manual that can make the experience more pleasurable.

Step 7: Stop to the car

Stop the car by depressing its clutch while pushing the car brake so that it won’t stall when coming to a stop. Shift into neutral (N) when the car is idling at a light or a sign.

The reverse gear on a six-speed is operated similarly to the forward gears, but it is a considerably shorter ratio that is only utilized for short distances when the car is parked.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are 6-Speed Manuals Good?

Yes, a six-speed manual transmission can bring many benefits.

They include improved acceleration capacity, more engine power when needed, a more relaxed and quieter highway ride, reduced engine wear, and vastly enhanced fuel economy.

What’re Better, 4-Speed Or 6-Speed Manuals?

Although the 6-speed manual is more modern than the 4-speed one, determining which is better depends on the driver’s feel.

4-speed manual transmissions are generally lighter, simpler, and less expensive than 6-speed manual gearboxes.

It also provides comfort to the driver because he will have less shifting. Yet, the 6-speed ones can bring a better driving performance.

Are More Speeds In A Transmission Better?

Yes, more speeds can improve the overall riding performance.

Engineers nowadays purposely build models to bring better acceleration while also working more effectively at higher ratios.

Lowering the overall engine speed at each speed results in less fuel consumption and even less CO2 emissions.

However, it can make you find it challenging to adjust between gears.

When Should I Shift To A 6-Speed Manual?

In general, experts recommend swapping to the 6th gear when it reaches the ideal RPM range: from 2,000 to 3,000.

Yet, it’s challenging to calculate the RPM while you are driving. You will eventually be able to tell when to shift based on sound and sensation.


What does 6 speed manual mean? This post has provided all the necessary information to answer the question.

More gears in the transmission let the vehicles’ engines operate more powerfully but still achieve great fuel economy.

Thus, 10-speed, 8-speed, and 9-speed transmissions have appeared on the automobile market. Despite their convenience, they also come with disadvantages of control ability.

As a result, you should consider this when replacing your transmission. Always make sure you get familiar with all controls before your long trip to ensure safety.

Enjoy your comfortable ride!

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