In vehicles with manual transmission, the gearbox is typically positioned between the engine and the clutch. The process of switching gears varies slightly depending on the type of gearbox in question, but typically it is operated as follows:
There are seven gear positions available, including the first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth gear, in addition to reverse. Each gear is operated by its own wheel, which is a metal plate with ‘teeth' which mesh together when engaged.
First gear offers the lowest speed and the highest torque, whereas the sixth gear allows vehicles to travel at the highest speed but offers the lowest torque. When in reverse, cars can drive backwards. When a vehicle is not in gear, it is in ‘neutral'. During this position, rotational power cannot be transferred from the transmission to the vehicle's engine and it cannot ‘go'.
Typically, larger gears provide more torque (otherwise known as ‘turning power') and lower speeds, whereas smaller gears offer higher speeds and less torque. This is why you move through the gears, from first gear upwards, as your vehicle's speed increases.