What Is A DSG Gearbox And How Does A Direct Shift Gearbox Work?

Depending on the kind of gearbox a car uses, we have a manual or an automatic car. In the case of an automatic car, the gear system is automatic, but the driver would have to change the gear by themselves if they are driving a manual car. Now, there’s a new option, the DSG gearbox - Direct Shift Gearbox. These might seem and even feel remarkably similar to that of an automatic gearbox, but they are quite different in the way they operate.

In today's mainstream vehicles, the Dual-Clutch Transmission (DCT), sometimes known as the Direct-Shift Gearbox Transmission (DSG), is a common transmission technology. Let us delve into what a dual-clutch transmission or DSG transmission exactly is, how it works, and how it is different from other available models.

What Is A DSG Gearbox?

A dual clutch gearbox or a DSG gearbox is one which has two separate clutches that work together as one unit, as the name suggests, with the use of an actual clutch pedal which has to be operated by the driver.

In a DSG car, the 1st, 3rd and 4th gears work together with one clutch, while the 2nd, 4th and 6th gears work together with the second clutch, all of which coordinate for the proper functioning of the car. This is the case if we’re talking about a 6-speed gearbox.


How To Drive A DSG Gearbox Car?

There is not much difference between driving a manual car and a DSG gearbox car, with the only exception being that you wouldn’t have to change the gears by yourself. If you are used to driving an automatic car, however, then you would feel completely at home with these cars. In fact, you would even notice that cars with DSG gearboxes are much easier to drive.

Here’s how you should drive a car with DSG gears:

1. Hold and press your foot down on the brake while switching the car on

2. With your foot still on the brake, select your car gear to ‘D’, which means drive mode

3. Release the handbrake

4. Lift your foot from the brake and the car will begin to move

You can then keep driving on, and you would simply need to press down on the brake to stop your car from moving, which also reduces creeping.

Switch your gear to ‘P’ mode when you need to stop your car completely, after first applying the brake. Make sure to apply the hand brake as well.

The paddles on the back of the steering wheel can be used to shift gears manually, without the need of a clutch pedal, for cars with DSG. You just have to make use of the + and − symbols for upshifts and downshifts, respectively. You can change the gears through the gear selector itself for some car models.

How Does A DSG Gearbox Work?

Any car with a DSG gearbox can be considered a gearless car as you wouldn’t have to change the gears manually, as it is done by the car itself. Manual cars have a clutch pedal connecting the engine with the gearbox, which is not found in these types of cars.

A torque converter is used instead of a clutch in the case of an automatic car gearbox, which connects the engine to the gearbox, which is powered up when the accelerator is used. This connection is severed when the car needs to be slowed down.

DSG gearboxes have a pair of clutches that are controlled electronically, which can be engaged or disengaged by the car automatically. One clutch transmits the engine’s power to the car wheels via the gearbox, while the second clutch is used to get the next gear ready, by the car’s computer.

How Reliable Are DGS Gearboxes?

DSG Gearbox

Failures have been rare to occur for cars of these type, as cars with automatic transmission DSG, or cars with a DSG gearbox have been found to be quite reliable, in both six and seven speed variants. When failures do occur though, they can be quite expensive to fix.

It's only in older, higher-mileage vehicles that failures are found, and the best way to identify a failure is if you happen to notice a ‘limp home mode’ warning that restricts the power, and if there are any judders or noisy bearings while driving, which make the failure obvious.

How Much Does A DSG Gearbox Cost?

Many companies have begun to offer cars with exclusive DSG gearboxes, the best example being the Porsche 911 GT3. While it may be quite costly, it is a wonderful car. In all honesty, any car with a DSG transmission is a costly option, even the mainstream hatchback models, which begin from anywhere near £1,000 and above. Volkswagen Golf is a DSG model that costs £1,500.

Which Cars Are Available with DSG Gearboxes?

The Volkswagen Group was the one to start cars with DSGs, like the original Audi TT, VW, SEAT, Audi, Skoda, and Porsche models. Ford, Volvo, BMW, Nissan, and MG now offer cars with DSG gearboxes too, or have offered such models in the past, and chances are they might have been referred to by different names. For example, Ford calls it a Powershift gearbox.

Advantages And Disadvantages of Dual Clutch Gearboxes

Cars with DSG gearboxes are considered to be one of the least stressful types of cars to drive, but of course, they have their own share of advantages and disadvantages, as discussed below.

Advantages of Cars with a DSG Gearbox

1. The time taken to shift gears is almost negligible as all the gears are pre-selected and come into effect without any manual intervention.

2. The fuel consumption of DSG cars is much less when compared to regular automatic cars.

3. Clutches are used in DSG cars, but since they do not need to be operated manually, a lot of effort is reduced while driving.

Disadvantages of Cars with A DSG Gearbox

1. Any repairs at all to a DSG gearbox car can be quite expensive, as the cars have a complex mechanism.

2. The gear selection is not always accurate, even though it is automatic, and this could mean that there could be hesitation while gears are being changed, especially during unpredictable driving conditions.

3. When you opt for a car with a DSG gearbox, which also has a manual model, it can turn out to be quite expensive.

What Is the Main Difference Between A DSG And Other Automatic Gearboxes?

The primary difference between an automatic gearbox and a dual clutch gearbox is that there’s a second clutch pack in a DSG, which helps reduce the jerkiness prevalent in automatic gearbox cars. The second clutch in a DSG makes sure that the car continues to run smoothly, even if there’s been a gear change.

In the case of (Constantly Variable Transmission) CVT Vs. DSG cars, CVTs tend to prioritize efficiency above anything else, as they don't have different gears, which might result in the engine revving noisily and could also result in a jerky, slow changing of the gear as well.

FAQs: DSG Gearboxes

1. What is the difference between a DSG gearbox and other automatic gearboxes?

In an automatic gearbox, a torque converter is used to change gears, instead of a clutch. DSG gearbox cars use a dual clutch system which pre-selects the gears.

2. Is driving a DSG gearbox easier than a manual gearbox?

There is no necessity to change the gears by yourself in case of a car with DSG gearbox, unlike in the case of a manual car. This reduces a lot of effort while driving.

3. Is more fuel used by a DSG gearbox than other gearboxes?

When compared to manual cars, DSGs use more fuel, even though they have been found to be more efficient than their torque converter automatic counterparts.

4. Are DSG gearboxes reliable?

The only DSG problems that have been reported so far have come from owners that own models from the early 2000s. Other than that, DSG gearbox cars have been found to be reliable, and with proper maintenance, they could be even better.


All said and done, cars with DSG gearboxes do end up having their own share of difficulties but end up the perfect option for those looking to cut down on their efforts while driving. If DSG gearbox cars fit your requirements, then that is what you should opt for, as they make for a wonderful experience. One thing you shouldn’t forget though is that no matter how wonderful your car might be, it is always important to get a warranty for it, as a warranty makes sure that your car is taken care of even during unforeseen circumstances. Warranty Direct provides one of the UK’s finest and most comprehensive warranties.

© 2024 – All Rights Reserved