What Is A Short Shifter And How Does It Work? [Fully Explained]

Have you ever wondered if the shifter on a racing car is much different from the gear of a normal manual transmission car? If the manual transmission car does not really give you a sense of satisfaction, then the short shifter is something that you should try. So what is a short shifter and what benefits does it give to the driver? In this article, we will explain it to readers.

What Is A Short Shifter?

When the automatic transmission was not popular with users, the manual transmission was equipped on almost all previous vehicles. Today, automatic transmissions have focused on developing more technology and becoming more popular, but manual transmissions have a big change,  they are gradually falling behind. Therefore, manufacturers of manual transmissions are forced to improve. And that invention is the short shifter that makes driving more exciting. what is a short throw shifter? and whether it gives a better steering feel than a regular shifter.

It is called the short shifter because it is shorter than the actual lever when initially installed on the vehicle but the gear lever’s height doesn’t change. Besides, the distance to shift gears is also short, or in other words, shortens the gear knob when shifting. From there, the driver can change gears faster and have a better driving experience.

what is a short throw shifter
This short lever reduces the shift angle when shifting by pushing the lever’s pivot point. (Photo: flickr.com)

How Does A Short Shifter Work?

A common mistake among drivers is that the short shifter is just a chopped version of the stock shifter. The angle at that your shifter shaft moves will not be influenced by the chopping of the stock gear shifter. The distance does not reduce its throw angle and keeps the same. So what does a short shifter do? This short lever reduces the shift angle when shifting by pushing the lever’s pivot point. The lever always has connections between the gears. Bringing these joints up has the effect of shortening the distance between the joint and the gear lever. Thus, the amplitude of the hand’s oscillation when shifting gears will also be shorter. 

In this section, we also want to emphasize the practical difference between short shifter, long shifter, and stock shifter located on the axis. The shaft is the part of the shifter that transmits between the gears. A short gear lever reduces the angle of that shaft, changing the pivot point. As a result, the bottom of the shifter, which you can’t see, moves the same distance regardless of the shorter throw.

After having a basic understanding of the definition and function of this type of lever, many motorists will wonder if we should equip the shorter shift for the car.

>> Read more: The Reasons for Manual Transmission Won’t Go into Gear When Running

Do You Need A Short Shifter For Your Car?

To answer this question, we will find out about the pros and cons of a short lever for drivers:

5 Benefits of using a short shifter

Shorter throw shifters

Do you really think a short shifter makes a difference? “Yes” is our answer, a short shifter has been shown to reduce the distance between throws by a whopping number of 70%. Faster gearshifts mean acceleration and deceleration can be done quickly and easily. You can change the speed whenever you want, as well as less effort in emergent braking situations. It will give better handling because your hands are always on the wheel. We can affirm that in drift cars, a short shifter is a necessary part.

High precision

Designed for high precision that’s why short shifters are so popular in the racing community where every second counts. It can say that precision is a key factor when climbing slopes or racing. Without precision, drivers will lack concentration during driving and may cause dangerous accidents.

how to shift faster
A short shifter has been shown to reduce the distance between throws by a whopping 70% (Photo: cjponyparts.com)

Changing driving experience

Motorists and racers think that using a short shifter will give a more attractive feeling of shifting when it seems “purely mechanical”. Things that contribute to improved driving experience include response to sound, vibration, and acceleration. And the short lever will contribute to making the driver a “good tactile response” to his car. It can help you boost confidence as well as make you feel more connected with the car. Faster shifting will not only make the driving experience more worthwhile but will also help you drive more efficiently.

Sporty appearance

A short shifter is one of the indispensable accessories in sports cars. Currently, almost all sports cars are equipped with a short shifter because this type of lever gives a sportier feel. Unlike the other upgrades like spoilers or hoods, no one has installed short shifters just for looks. Every short shifter is guaranteed to function in addition to being vastly improved in appearance over the stock shifter. We can say that a short shifter really epitomizes the “sporty” look.


The last but very important benefit when installing a short shifter is that it allows you to customize and upgrade to an aftermarket model depending on your tastes and the models. Besides, equipping a short shifter with a short throw shifter will be cheaper than other changes on the gearbox. A short shifter usually costs around $150-500. Like Flyin’ Miata for the $350 ND MX-5 or Cravenspeed’s Fiat 500 Abarth short shifter for $300, etc.

Some disadvantages of the short shifter

With the advantages listed above, is it convincing enough for you to install a short shifter in your car? However, before deciding any decision, let’s consider some cons of this lever:

Take more effort to change gear

One of the big trouble many drivers don’t want to use short gears is that changing gears takes a significant amount of time. This can be a cumbersome and tiring thing for those who have to drive long distances. You will need to use significantly more energy and effort to shift the shaft a shorter distance. 

A clutch fork is bad

Some experts have also been concerned that short shifters can cause wear and tear for clutch forks in the long run. Usually, a bad clutch fork is due to excessive force caused by damage elsewhere in the clutch. If the clutch fork is going bad, a repair can be expensive and you may need to replace the whole clutch as part of the repair process. A short shifter can improve the lifespan of your car, but ultimately, it will depend on your shifting technique and the responsibility when using the transmission.

For the question: Do we need to install a short shifter? There doesn’t have a “Yes” or “No” answer here. The first thing, you need to know is whether your car model can be installed with a short shifter. After that, you need to find a suitable shifter, there are hundreds of short shifters on the market from many brands, at different prices, and in a variety of kits. Depending on your vehicle type, you just need to change the gear and accessories corresponding to the transmission or you might fit a new link into the transmission (under the bonnet).

>> Related post: How to Use a Paddle Shifter? Easy Step-by-Step Tutorial

Final Thoughts: What Is A Short Shifter?

After reading the analysis of the uses as well as the advantages and disadvantages of the short shifter, do you think this type of lever will be on the next upgrade list for your car? Let us know in the comments section below. And please note that: Depending on the transmission, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy how aggressive and confident the levers are. And on the racing road, that immediately translates into more excitement. It can also improve precision and reduce false shifts.