- Learning to properly shift your Jeep can be a rewarding experience.old jeep on a hill image by Roman Barelko from Fotolia.com
Originally built out of necessity in World War I, Jeeps were known by the military and civilians alike as the vehicle that could go anywhere. Soon after the war, Jeeps were trademarked and marketed to the general public and have since become a popular vehicle for adventurers around the world. Learning shifting techniques for a manual transmission and engaging different four-wheel drive modes will help you get the most out of your Jeep.
4WD High Range
- Four-wheel drive high range adds lateral stability and therefore makes it less likely your Jeep will slip sideways. Its main purpose is to increase traction, so it is ideal for snow and moderate off-road trails.
You can shift into 4-High at a stop or moving up to 55 mph. If you have a part-time system, 4WD should be used only while the road is wet, slippery or loose, and you should shift back to 2WD when conditions improve. If you have a full-time 4WD system, of course you do not need to worry about this.
4WD Low Range
- The "4-Lo" setting is designed for towing heavy loads, like a trailer or another vehicle. It forces the wheels to generate substantially more torque (2.72 times more on the Jeep Grand Cherokee), while making the vehicle an equal amount slower.
Although shifting into 4-Low is possible at a complete stop, difficulty may occur because of gears not being aligned properly. Ideally, the vehicle should be rolling at 2 to 3 mph to shift into 4-Low. Do not go any faster than that while shifting.
Heel and Toe Shifting
- The term "heel and toe" refers to the use of the right foot for the gas and brake pedals simultaneously. In traditional manual transmission shifting, the right foot is picked up and placed back down each time you switch between the gas and brake. Utilizing the "heel and toe" technique is more efficient because you do not need to lift your foot.
This technique can be useful when starting on a hill. If you are on an incline at a stoplight, using the heel and toe technique is a good way to help prevent drifting downhill into the car behind you before the gear engages.
- "Rev-matching" means matching the engine speed to the speed you are traveling and gear you are shifting into. Rev-matching can be used while up-shifting or down-shifting to smoothly transition between gears without jolting your Jeep.
Rev-matching adds stability while turning and cornering. Not every Jeep is the same, so learning and perfecting rev-matching requires practice. As you approach a turn, experiment with down-shifting from third gear to second at different RPMs to find the most desirable transition. The smoothest transition should occur somewhat close to 2,000 RPMs, and the exact amount is dependent on a number of factors from which engine your Jeep has to how worn your engine, clutch and transmission are.