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: When I drive my car for 5 minutes, it shifts fine then slips into neutral. I have to shut it off for 1-2 minutes but it will do it again.

Hello, thanks for writing in today. It is possible that this is a speed sensor failing issue. There are a few things to check for. Are there any problem codes thrown? What color and smell does the transmission fluid have?...

Q: Oil buildup in boot

You are already on the right track with knowing that your Toyota RAV4 will be needing the valve cover gasket replaced. Oil should never enter the spark plug tubes as this can cause damage to the ignition system, mainly to...

Q: What does the slip indicator Warning Light mean?

The slip indicator Warning Light is located on the instrument panel. When the light is illuminated then either the TRAC (traction control) or VSC (vehicle stability control) system is malfunctioning. As the TRAC and VSC systems help keep your car...

Related articles

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...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...
How Much Does a Mechanic Make in Vermont?
Automotive technician jobs in Vermont have an average mechanic salary of $37k, with some mechanics earning a salary of $53k.