Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: How do I change gears?

asked by on

How do I change gears?

A: Once the engine is running, you have to shi...

Once the engine is running, you have to shift gears to get the car on the road. Doing so is actually very simple, but you should know what the different gears are on your transmission and what they’re used for. Here’s a quick look:

  • Park: Put your transmission in park when you’ll be stopping for more than a few minutes, or when you’re leaving the vehicle.

  • Reverse: Use this for backing up.

  • Neutral: This gear disengages the engine and transmission. The car will roll but you cannot accelerate.

  • Drive: This is the primary drive gear.

4: If you have a four-speed transmission, you do not have this gear. If you have a five-speed transmission, this gear offers basic engine braking for driving on steep grades.

3: This position offers more powerful engine braking for driving on steep grades.

2: This position is used for stronger engine braking than 4 or 3.

L: This position offers the most engine braking possible. Only use this position for the steepest grades.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Save up to 30%

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Car jerks when shifting gears, check engine light

There are more tests that need to be done before the speed sensor module is replaced. There are about 20 tests that need to be done to verify the number turbine speed sensor is not working properly. These tests are...

Q: What should I do if my electronic key doesn’t work with the car?

Your car’s smart key system allows you to lock and unlock the doors, and even crank the engine without having to use a physical key or even press a button on the remote. However, there may be times when the...

Q: Low speed and delayed gear change

Your transmission is very likely the cause of your problems. The ABS light flashing may be its own issue, and if your main issue is transmission related, then I am almost certain it is. Electrical issues would be the only...

Related articles

What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...