What gear at what speed for a 5-speed car

Discussion in 'Start Your Journey Here' started by rajaijah, Jun 11, 2007.

  1. rajaijah

    rajaijah New Member

    Hi guys,
    I am new here. just came to know about this site. I read the "New Members Read First" post and followed the links to the topic gear X at speed Y but couldnt get the info i wanted.

    I have a 2003 Ford Focus SE 5-speed. I have been driving it for about 2 years. I always wondered whether I am driving in the most fuel efficient way with proper gears at proper speed. this is my driving habit.

    1st gear: just to move to about 10mph

    2nd : 10 to 20

    3rd : 20-45

    4th : 45-50

    5th : change to 5th from 4th if i am going to be on 50 or above for a long time.

    i get about 25 city/ 36 Hw

    the focus has a small upward arrow light showing if you are supposed to change gear . It doesn't matter if you are supposed to shift or down shift it just shows a upward arrow. but i don't know how reliable it is.

    when i drive to my work there are places where i should go at 20 -25 mph. i travel at 3rd gear. most of the driving is 35 & 40 and i go in 3rd gear.

    also if I am supposed to travel a long stretch at 40 should i change from 3rd to 5th so i travel at low RPM. do i save fuel by doing that or am i hurting the parts.

    most of my driving is flat surface except for 1 railway bridge.

    is my driving habit right?
  2. diamondlarry

    diamondlarry Super MPG Man/god :D

    Generally, the highest gear you can be in without lugging the engine is best for FE. Welcome to CleanMPG.
  3. Chuck

    Chuck just the messenger

    Want to add to that you will want to gently increase that mininium speed in 5th gear if approaching a hill.
  4. BailOut

    BailOut My favorite holiday is Earth Day!

    My car is about the same size as yours, and I shift much earlier with my 5-speed.

    1st: 1-8
    2nd: 9-17
    3rd 18-24
    4th 25-34
    5th: 35, to a maximum speed of 55

    My goal is to never get above 2,000 RPM in the city, 2,200 for highway merging, and 2,600 on the mountain I commuter over.
  5. PaleMelanesian

    PaleMelanesian Beat the System Staff Member

    ^ you're able to accelerate 1mph during each shift? Cool! ;)

    Under normal, flat conditions, I shift at either 9s or 10s:
    1st: 0-9
    2nd: 9-18
    3rd: 18-27
    4th: 27-36
    5th: 36+

    1st: 0-10
    2nd: 10-20
    3rd: 20-30
    4th: 30-40
    5th: 40+

    For uphill, I adjust the ranges to slightly lower speeds.
    This gives me 2,200 - 2,300 rpm max.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2007
  6. worthywads

    worthywads Don't Feel Like Satan, I am to AAA

    What he said. ^^^^^

    Each engine is different each vehicle geared differently but with both my Tacoma and Element they seem to tolerate gentle acceleration from 1500rpm without lugging.

    My tacoma is right at 1500 at these shift points.

    1 from stop
    2nd 12mph
    3rd 25mph
    4th 35mph
    5th 45mph

    However I can on flat pavement maintain on slightly lower speeds like 30 in 4th or 42 in 5th and the scangauge says it's more FE.

    My Element on the other hand is geared so low that 35mph is 1750 in 5th.:eek:
  7. ILAveo

    ILAveo Well-Known Member

    I agree --this means that the RPM/MPH where you should shift should be adjusted depending on how much throttle you need to accelerate as desired. As mentioned above this typically means a gently higher RPM/MPH shift point uphill, with a heavy load or into the wind.

    Your MPH/RPM shift points are determined by design elements of your car, for example, gear ratios, weight, and engine torque. A Focus is likely to be different from a Civic , a Beetle or an Aveo.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2007
  8. johnf514

    johnf514 Zoom? Try Glide!

    Isn't that the best? In my Taurus, I can do 36 MPH at 1200 RPMs. Torque converter lockup happens at 44 MPH, at which point I'm doing a very efficient 1600 RPMs. Cruising at a maximum speed of 60 MPH yields exactly 2000 RPMs. :)
  9. psyshack

    psyshack He who posts articles

    The lowist I will shift to 5th with load is 30 mph. Gear shifts all depend on the load the engine is seeing. I will put the Civic in 5th if Im on a slight down hill at less than 30 mph. I try to keep my standard shift points between 1500 and 2000 rpm. Again it depends on load conditions.

    In other words. Vroom,,,, vroom,,,, vroom,,,, vroom,,,, vroom,,,,,,,,, then end up yelling the car. Get out of my way,,, your ruining my fas suv goober... shakes fist. :) And Im the slow one. :)

  10. rajaijah

    rajaijah New Member

    thanks guys.from what you guys said it seems like i am pushing my car in my 3rd gear. should do 4th & 5th more often. since most of my drive is flat conditions i should be able to get more mpg.

    according to sticker 2003 ford focus should get 25/35. i get 25/36 and yet to try the tips you guys have given. also need to inflate my tires more than the values represented on the door side sticker (32 psi)

    do you guys have an idea how much more FE can this car get. not necessarily exact values but i am just weighing the factor of how much will i save is i buy a scan guage II and use it. if my mpg goes from 25 in city to 27 after driving according to SC II then it will take a lot of time for me to get the money i spent on SC-II back considering i put about 5K miles only a year.
  11. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Rajaijah:

    ___Depending on what type of commute and how aggressive you are, I see an easy 40 + lmpg in a Focus with a stick. The Ranger’s normal routine is < 2 miles to the store and back in the dead of winter to the heat of summer including pulling the mowers and Landscape Trailer around the subdivision and into and out of the garage … Last tank fill was September of last year and she is due again. She is beyond 500 miles on a 15 gallon tank. I know your Focus is worth a lot more but it really depends on you ;)

    ___Good Luck


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