The Difference between Synchronized and Unsynchronized Gearing in Manual Transmissions

By Mister Transmission

There’s a good reason why large commercial vehicles, motorcycles, and race cars still employ an unsynchronized gearbox

For stick-shift adherents, there is no greater joy than driving a car with a manual transmission. But what’s behind the mechanics of changing gears? And from a driver’s perspective, how does manual transmission synchronized gearing compare to manual transmission unsynchronized gearing?

Most modern urban vehicles fitted with manual transmissions likely feature a synchronized gearbox also referred to as a synchro-mesh gearbox. This device keeps the gears in mesh and rotating, or they can be locked to the shaft. In other words, when you change gears, you’re locking different gears to the transmission’s input or output shaft, thereby allowing you to increase your vehicle’s speed or slow it down. The manual transmission’s synchronized gearbox is what helps you smoothly lock gears into place.

It was a remarkable evolution in manual transmissions because the synchronizer did away with the need for motorists to perform double-clutching – releasing and re-engaging the clutch twice whenever changing gears – a requirement to operate a vehicle with a manual transmission unsynchronized gearbox.

Why the Manual Transmission Unsynchronized Gearbox Still Matters

A manual transmission unsynchronized gearbox is an older design (possibly the earliest design of a manual transmission) that required a lot of effort and skill on the driver’s part. It included a sliding-mesh gearbox, and the driver would need to carefully time when to shift gears to ensure the gears were rotating at the same speed, which was no easy feat. Do it improperly, and you’ll hear grinding and other noises.

However, the unsynchronized gearbox continues to exist. You will often find them installed in transmissions for large commercial vehicles such as heavy trucks and farming machinery, as well as in motorcycles and high-calibre race cars. Why? For two reasons: synchronized manual transmissions are more prone to breakdowns, and shifting gears on a synchro-mesh gearbox is slower than the unsynchronized version.

Are you experiencing a problem with your vehicle’s manual or automatic transmission or have questions about transmissions? Visit the Mister Transmission location nearest you and get the expert help and information you need.

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Mister Transmission Barrie exceeded my...
Ted Wilson
Mister Transmission Barrie exceeded my expectations. Al and the service staff were great to work with. My CRV was well taken care of and is now driving better than ever. Thank you!
Date: September 25, 2020
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Call Mel for any transmission...
Denise Larre
Call Mel for any transmission work that you need done. Him and his crew will take care of you! Very Professional, called and kept me informed and answered any questions I had! I would go back there and highly recommend it! I can’t thank them enough for getting my precious car running again!
Date: September 24, 2020
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Guelph....You are so lucky to...
Darrell Pond
Guelph....You are so lucky to have Cory and his team at Mister Transmission. I wish I could give more stars!!Was having trouble with my Honda CRV that I thought was transmission related. Cory took my car for a drive, experienced what I was talking about and ran a diagnostic on the car. Turns out that it wasn’t the transmission at all, it was the catalytic converter. Cory was forthcoming and said this wasn’t his team’s specialty.He didn’t charge me for the diagnostic and recommended I seek a general repair shop.Cory’s honesty and outstanding business acumen will have me back if and when I have a transmission problem. I will be recommending Cory and his team to everyone I know.
Date: September 24, 2020
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I am a petite, doe...
Bethany Corner
I am a petite, doe eyed, 20-something, female and I was amazed by their professionalism and integrity. I had a mechanic from another shop tell me he thought the problem I was having with my car was with my transmission. I took my car to Mister transmission to get a second opinion and they did a free diagnosis and told me my transmission was fine. They didn't make a penny off me, but I know for sure I will recommend them to anyone who asks because of their integrity.
Date: September 24, 2020
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I went into Mister Transmission...
Paul Roy
I went into Mister Transmission to have what I thought was a Transmission problem. It wasn't but they found the issue in no time being a transfer case and right front axel. Only the work required was performed. Could't be happier.
Date: September 23, 2020
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Very helpful owner and staff....
Dharmesh Patel
Very helpful owner and staff. Also very knowledgeable. Thanks
Date: September 23, 2020
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Great place
Dan Savage
Great place
Date: September 23, 2020
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Went off-roading and had my...
Mike Uetz
Went off-roading and had my Jeep fall into a giant mud hole that ruined the engine. Decided to take my Jeep to Off-road addiction in St Thomas who were going to do an engine swap. After 2+ months, they weren't able to complete the work nor figure out the issue. They said to take it into a dealership. Dealership quoted me $10k for a new transmission. Was recommended to checkout Mister Transmission and I wish I knew about them sooner.Pete was awesome to work with, he explained everything that was wrong, documented it and took pictures. Previously the engine and transmission weren't seated properly and had cracked the transmission pump. These guys were able to rebuild my transmission, put in a new transmission pump, seat the engine and transmission properly, and have the whole thing running properly with the quoted estimate in both cost and time. I was completely amazed by how quickly they were able to fix my issues.This is the only shop I'll take my Jeep in for any work done in the future. Last year I had my gear and pinion swapped from 3.23 to 4.56, again with flawless work and 0 issues.100/10 recommend you take your vehicle here for any servicing needs. These guys know their stuff and I'm happy to throw money at them any time I need work done.
Date: September 23, 2020
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Good service, decent prices.
Jake A
Good service, decent prices.
Date: September 23, 2020
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I called Georgio and told...
Megan Wood
I called Georgio and told him that I was having an error message on my transmission. I brought my car to his shop and he diagnosed the problem. He told me that I should take my car to the dealership (Ford) as the issue should be covered under an extended warranty. Luckily, it was covered under warranty. Georgio did not charge me anything for the diagnosis and was very honest, professional, and kind. I would recommend him to anyone! Thanks again Georgio!!
Date: September 22, 2020
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