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・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: drive gear not working

This sounds like a failed transmission range selection switch. The switch will need to be replaced to restore proper operation of the transmission. You may want enlist the help of a mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, who will have...

Q: What tips should I know about using the CD player?

Using your CD player is actually pretty simple, but there are a few things that you’ll need to know regarding the system. Here’s a rundown of the most important Tips Error Messages: There are several error messages that might...

Q: Engine check light on and cruise control not working, but speedometer works

Hi there, thanks for writing in. Usually the P0717 OBD-II error code is associated with a speed sensor problem inside the transmission. This part helps to monitor the cruise control along with the speedometer. If the sensor is damaged or...

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...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
What are the Car Pool Rules in Hawaii?
Hawaii is widely regarded as a land of vacation and relaxation, and as such, its scenic roads and routes are far better known than the state’s freeways. But, as with all...