How To Shift 10-Speed Transmission Without Grinding Gears

How To Shift 10-Speed Transmission Without Grinding Gears

As a driver with a 10-speed transmission automobile, you’ve probably had your fair share of gear shifting difficulties.

Your truck offers you excellent efficiency in performance once you get the hang of it. However, before you do, you’ll most likely grind the gears now and then.

How To Shift a 10 speed Transmission Without grinding gears

Grinding gears is often a result of the transmission spinning too fast. It’s the truck’s way of bringing the driver’s attention to a botched transmission change.

Here’s a complete guide featuring tips and tricks on how to shift a 10-speed transmission truck without grinding gears.

Understand The Gear Shifter

Although more complex, the gear shifter on a 10-speed transmission semi-truck has similarities with a typical manual automobile. Hence, a 10-speed transmission is a 5-speed on another 5-speed.

In addition, the 10-speed transmission’s shift handle has a range selector, commonly called ‘splitter,’ which selects the low range gears (down) and high range gears (up).

The low range gears feature gears 1-5 and the low reverse (lo-R), while the high range gears feature gears 6-10 and high reverse (hi-R).

An important thing to note here is that the splitter is only in sync with the transmission when the shifter is in neutral.

Don’t Grip Too Tight

Gripping the gear shifter too tightly can prevent you from finding the soft wall, and this can truncate your ability to shift gears or even cause gear grinding.

Hence, try to be calm and collected when holding the shifter as nervousness or road anxiety can cause you to grip it too hard.

Always Double-Clutch

It would be best to push down the clutch twice before every shift to shift seamlessly. For semi-tractors, drivers will need to double-clutch and move the shifter simultaneously.

It requires excellent coordination and practice to get adjusted, and you can always practice once when sitting on a chair.

Remember to push down the clutch twice with your left leg and move the shifter forward simultaneously.

With the first clutch, you should move the shifter to neutral, and with the second clutch, it should be in the desired gear.

The driver should do both activities in unison. This motion is needed for every upshift (gears 6-10).

Pro Tip: Always release the gas pedal whenever you push the clutch pedal and vice versa. Do not push both pedals in simultaneously, or the truck will take a screenshot (just kidding).

Avoid Wholly Depressing Clutch Pedal When The Truck Is Moving

Gear grinding can happen when the vehicle is stationary, but the gears are still turning. To prevent these gears from grinding, you must fully depress the clutch pedal.

This action will engage the clutch brake and bring the vehicle to a halt, thus stopping the turning gears and allowing you to shift it back into gear (if needed).

Use A Side Grip Method When Shifting From 6 To 7

Gripping the gear shifter from the side gives you more control when shifting gears. With your thumb on the shifter’s head and your index finger on the splitter, you can quickly change from gear 6 to 7.

To do this, double-clutch and move the shifter to neutral with the splitter up. Once this is done, the spring will automatically move the shifter to the soft wall, and then you can quickly push it up to the 7th gear.

You can practice this in a stationary truck with the clutch fully depressed.

Shifting From Gear 5 To 6 On A 10-Speed Transmission Truck

Shifting from gear 5 to 6 on a 10-speed might be hard for beginners to achieve without grinding gears. However, this should help.

When moving from gear 5 to 6, you must double-clutch as usual. However, you can complete most of the shifting in the first clutch before you clutch again.

Shifting a 10 speed Transmission Without grinding gears

Here’s how; when you clutch the first time, pull the splitter up and move the shifter from gear 5 to the opposite hard wall, which is still neutral.

Once the shifter is at this point, clutch again and move the shifter down to 6. Practice a few times till you master it.

N/B: Pull the splitter down whenever you come to a stop to prevent stalling or gear grinding.

Shift Early Whenever You’re Upshifting

Upshifting means moving from a lower gear to a higher one. Shifting early (between 1000 – 1500 RPM) prevents frustration when upshifting.

The sweet spot is between 1000 – 1500 RPM for most trucks. It is the point where you can get the best fuel mileage.

To achieve this, shift the low gears (1-5) at 1400 – 1500 RPM and the high gears (6-10) at 1500 – 1600 RPM.

Now, assuming you’re in 6th gear at 1500 RPM and you want to upshift to 7th when you depress the clutch and move the shifter to neutral with the splitter up, the RPM needle starts to fall from 1500 to 1000 because you’re not in gear.

The truck will not go into gear if it falls below 1000 before you put it in gear 7. It is why you need to do it early to beat the needle before it falls below 1000 RPM.

However, if the hand still falls below 1000, you’ll need to rev the engine to get it within that sweet spot before you put it in gear 7.


It is a lot more complex than upshifting. It occurs when you want to switch to a lower gear.

To prevent gear grinding, slow down to 1000-1100 RPM and avoid pushing the clutch pedal to the floor.

To downshift, you’ll need to clutch to neutral first, rev the engine, and then clutch to the required gear.

In more explicit terms, depress the clutch once, move the shifter to neutral, hit the gas pedal once in the neutral, clutch again, and move the shifter to the desired gear.

Shifting When Going Uphill/Downhill

When you’re uphill, rev the engine to fall between 1700-1800 RPM, then shift at average speed.

If you’re traveling downhill, move early once the RPM is between 1200-1300 because gravity increases your speed when you clutch to neutral.

Easy Speedometer Math

When driving, you can add the numbers at the speedometer to highlight the optimum gear the driver should be using at that speed.

For instance, if you’re in 5th gear and at 15MPH, you should shift to 6th because 1+5 from 15 = 6.

Here’s an outline to guide you:

Speed Optimal Gear
15 MPH 1 + 5 = 6th Gear
25 MPH 2 + 5 = 7th Gear
35 MPH 3 + 5 = 8th Gear
45 MPH 4 + 5 = 9th Gear
55 MPH 5 + 5 = 10th Gear


Gear grinding is often a result of a poorly executed shift. With the detailed insights offered in this piece coupled with some practice, you should be able to shift seamlessly without grinding the gears.

Also, remember that each shift is complete, not when the shifter is in gear but after releasing the clutch for the second time. Have a productive driving experience!