Is it okay to not switch into 5th Gear on a manual transmission?

Hi there,

I drive a 2003 Volkswagen Beetle with a manual (stick shift) transmission with 5 gears. I know that you're supposed to technically allow about 10mph per gear, but I don't always change into 5th when I'm going fast, and the fastest I drive around town is about 55 mph. In other words, I usually just stay in 4th, partly because it's generally more simple to downshift when I'm in 4th. Is it okay that I don't go into 5th? I do sometimes, but not that often.

PS - I don't know a lot about cars, so please try to break it down for me! Thanks! :)

10 Answers

  • JetDoc
    Lv 7
    9 years ago
    Best Answer

    The 5th gear in your VW is an overdrive gear that is meant mostly for highway use to reduce engine RPMs and save fuel. If you drive mostly at lower speeds in city traffic and rarely go over 55, you should be OK staying in the lower gears, but you should definitely use 5th for extended driving at highway speeds.

  • 9 years ago

    In actual fact, 5th is an overdrive gear; and you could block it out permanently and drive the car for it's entire life without it.

    5th merely saves gas. Before 1980 very few cars had overdrive transmission and a lot of them are still on the road.

    I, myself, have a 1965 chevy pickup that is still fully funtional and it has no overdrive.

    .......... and I'll let you in on a little known fact. Most economy cars actually will sustain a higher speed in fourth gear.

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    It is perfectly fine not to switch into fifth gear. It is essentially just a gas saver. Not being to framilliar with miles per hour I do know that 50 mph is something like 80 kph which is a generally good speed to shift into fifth and save some money. The general rule of thimb I run with my car (a 96 Saturn which runs with high rpm) is to shift gears at 2500 rpm just to try and save gas but the car should easily be able to handle shifting at 3000 rpm. I hope that helps you.

  • Pamela
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Most standard transmissions have a reverse lock out. If the car is being driven, and your pushed the lockout button and shifted to reverse, it would make a lot of noise and if it went into gear. It would be teeth and eyeball on the windshield and the teeth on the gears would shell off, and most likely bust the transmission case.

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  • 4 years ago

    My neighbour repairs transmissions for a living and swears AGAINST using any overdrive gear, ever.

    "1000 cooked transmissions can t be wrong".

    His argument is that you ve got get an awful lot of fuel savings to pay for the cooked transmission.


  • 9 years ago

    It won't hurt it but you will be using more gas. Most 5 gears are like an overdrive in an automatic.

  • 9 years ago


    higher gear is there for fuel preservation.

    lower gear is usually for better acceleration.

    depends on what you want from the car, usage longevity, and fuel economy though.

  • Sheff
    Lv 5
    9 years ago

    Generally you want to avoid using your 5th gear if you drive a 5 speed or 6th gear if its a 6th gear because that is your overdrive gear.

  • 9 years ago

    OK well my bro has always warns my sis to not go over 4

    WHY? because it will ruin UR engine only the cars with race cars engine are made to go over 5

    so don't do it all the time

    Source(s): MY big bro is a macanic petancally
  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    well is it red lining ? if not then you can stay in 4th

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