How to Use Paddle Shifters in Honda Civic | Complete Guide

Adeel Amir

Honda Civic paddle shifters use

If you’re excessively reliant on your Honda Civic’s automatic transmission, chances are you’ve never utilized the paddle shifters or ‘levers’ behind the wheel that allow you to change ratios manually. Switching the automobile to M or S mode to swap gears manually is perplexing to many. Many people believe it is as tough as driving a manual gearbox automobile.

However, paddle shifters are quite simple to operate. You can have a lot of fun with them!

In this short and simple instruction, I will show you how to utilize the paddle shifter in your Honda Civic. And there are compelling reasons to do so.

Using your Honda Civic Paddle Shifters can provide you superior control of the car in certain settings, especially when the weather and terrain conditions aren’t ‘automatic-friendly’ – snow is a good example. Let me describe a practical case to help you understand.

Your Honda Civic’s automatic gearbox swaps gears automatically depending on engine speed. However, assume you’re traveling downhill and the road is damp or snow-covered.

In this case, the automatic transmission will not help with engine braking. It will shift up in the other direction. In manual mode, however, you may employ engine braking in conjunction with the car’s brakes to your advantage, minimizing strain on the brake pads and obtaining greater overall control of your Honda Civic.

How Do Paddle Shifters Function?

To return to the purpose of utilizing the Honda Civic Paddle Shifters, Honda engineers used a very simple logic in the way the transmission worked. The one paddle shifts up, while the other shifts down.

When you use the paddle shifters, an electrical signal is sent to the clutch to remind it to complete its duty before the next gear is selected.

It may appear to be a sophisticated mechanical procedure. In actuality, though, it is straightforward and quick. So fast that your automobile would have changed gears without you knowing. Everything happens in a short second. When a higher gear is selected, the fast transition also helps to minimize a reduction in RPM.

If you believe the gear change is too slow, consider utilizing the ‘S’ or sport mode and then shifting gears using the paddles.

The gear changes are crisper, and the vehicle performs a better job of synchronizing engine RPMs. This function is useful in emergencies or when racing on a racetrack!

Check out our separate post on How To Find Which Honda Civic Model You Have

How To Use Honda Civic Paddle Shifters

To summarize, the paddle with the ‘-‘ symbol switches gears down, while the paddle with the ‘+’ sign shifts gears up. You may save money by shifting up when the engine RPM reaches about 2000 RPM.

If you need to go someplace quickly, you can shift up when the engine RPMs hit a certain level. The gear position indicator on the instrument cluster assists you in determining the gear you are driving in.

It’s similar to playing a video game. You push the appropriate buttons, and the automobile performs the rest. Some drivers who have shifted from a manual gearbox Civic to an automatic Civic are frequently perplexed as to whether they should raise their foot off the gas pedal when utilizing paddle shifters.

When shifting gears, one does not need to raise their foot off the gas pedal to clear the air, unless they intend to brake using the brake pedal.

Unlike a manual transmission Civic, the transmission will not be harmed if you do not raise your foot off the gas pedal. The automatic transmission is simple and intelligent enough to perform the job for you.

When utilizing the paddle shifters in manual mode, keep an eye on the RPM to ensure it is not too low for the next gear, otherwise, the system will not shift up.

In order for the transmission to catch up to a similar engine speed in the next gear, you’ll need to build some momentum. Similarly, if the engine’s RPM is too high for the lower gear to accept, you won’t be able to shift down unless you reduce engine speed.

This leads us to the exceptions. You will not be able to change gears manually in the following situations:

  • When you press both paddles simultaneously.
  • When you press and hold one paddle before pressing the other.
  • When you upshift before the engine RPM hits the next gear’s lower limit.
  • When you downshift before the engine RPM exceeds the lower gear’s upper limit.

Do check our latest post on How To Open Honda Civic Hood From Outside

How To Operate The Honda Civic Paddle Shifters Correctly?

Step No 1

There is no clutch to engage or disengage, as there is on a regular MT. Click the paddle, and the ECU will take care of the rest. If you’re aiming to keep the car between 2500 and 3000 RPM at all speeds, leave it alone and keep it in automatic mode. To enhance economy, the CVT is simply intended to keep you in the peak torque RPM zone. That band, on the other hand, is in the 4000-5000 RPM range. It might also be 4500-5500RPM. Anyway, in that general vicinity. When you slam the gas or granny the throttle, you’ll see RPMs outside of the 2500-5000 range.

Step No 2

There should be no harshness. The only thing that comes to me is traveling at 80 mph and attempting to downshift from 7th to 3rd or 2nd. I don’t know why you’d want to do that. Because you must go through the “gears” consecutively, you will recognize when a downshift is excessive. The most straightforward technique I’ve discovered to ensure seamless transitions and get the most out of it is to “downshift” in D mode to go into “manual gear” mode. Then, to maintain the car in manual mode, move the gear selection lever to S.

Step No 3

AFAIK, everything is electronic, computer-controlled, and simulated. It will essentially mimic gear changes by adjusting different factors to keep you inside ecu-specified RPM levels.

Final Thoughts

The transmission control system analyzes the usage of the accelerator pedal as well as the driving circumstances. When you push the accelerator pedal normally, the system determines that you are maintaining a consistent cruising speed without utilizing the paddle shifters. Under these situations, the D-paddle shift mode is canceled, and the gearbox returns to drive mode (D).

The transmission moves one gear up or down with each pull of either paddle shifter. Pull the paddle shifter twice, stop, and then pull it again to change up or down more than two gears. The automatic gearbox will not let you change gears if you:

  • You downshift before the engine speed exceeds the lower gear’s upper limit.
  • If you try this, the gear position indicator will flash the lower gear number multiple times before returning to a higher gear.
  • Before the engine speed approaches the lower limit of the higher gear, you shift up.
  • You must simultaneously push both paddle shifters.
  • You press one of the two paddle shifters, while the other paddle shifter is depressed.


How do beginners use Honda Civic paddle shifters?

There is just one way to utilize paddle shifters correctly. If you’re a newbie who wants to use paddle shifters, I recommend starting while your Civic is brand new and in D mode.

Do you have to use paddle shifters in the sport mode Honda Civic?

The band is just in a different location than you are accustomed to. The car will run at a higher RPM in sports mode, but you may operate it without the paddles.
That way, you’ll become acquainted with the automated shift patterns and have ample time to learn how to utilize the paddle shifters. I also recommend that you practice using the paddle shifters on empty roads and highways to make the experience less daunting.

What do the paddles do in a Honda Civic?

The transmission moves up or down in the 7-speed manual shift mode by moving either paddle shifter under the following conditions: Shift Up: The engine speed hits the low limit of the higher speed setting. Shift Down: The engine speed exceeds the lowest speed position’s maximum threshold.

Can I shift up when the Civic is stationary?

You can move up to second or third gear, but anything above that will be denied by the system. If you’re wondering why someone would do this, it’s because starting the car in second gear keeps the wheels from spinning on wet terrain.
This is especially useful in locations that get a lot of snow. To avoid the wheels spinning in the same location, move up to second or third gear and start moving with a modest torque output.

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