Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: How do you work the automatic transmission?

asked by on

How do you work the automatic transmission?

A: While an automatic transmission is simpler ...

While an automatic transmission is simpler to operate than a manual transmission is, there are several things that you’ll need to know to ensure that you’re able to drive safely. Here’s a quick rundown of what each gear does:

  • Park: Put the car in park to prevent the vehicle from moving. Make sure engage the parking brake first. Never shift into park without coming to a complete stop first.

  • Reverse: This lets you back the car. Never shift into or out of reverse without coming to a complete stop.

  • Drive with Overdrive: This is your primary drive gear and should be used for normal driving. You’ll have six gears available in this mode.

  • Drive with Grade Assist: Pressing the button on the side of the gearshift handle changes your drive gear. It removes overdrive, limits you to only five gears, and activates the grade assist system. Use this for driving in areas with steep grades.

  • Low: This is the lowest gear on the transmission and provides the most engine braking. Use this gear for severe grades and to limit your use of the brakes (which might overheat with continued use).


To change from Drive with Grade Assist back to Drive with Overdrive, just press the button on the gearshift handle again.

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: How does the console compartment work?

Storage is important for drivers and passengers, and you’ll find that your Honda Accord offers it. The console compartment located between the two front seats opens to reveal storage space. To open the console compartment, lift the lever at...

Q: See oil leaking

If the engine is leaking oil, then the oil leak would need to be located and identified before a repair is diagnosed. I recommend having a certified mechanic come to your home or office to determine the source of leak...

Q: Car only goes in reverse

Hello! The most common cause of your problem is a transmission malfunction or a pressure imbalance in the transmission. With these issues, the car is unsafe to drive until this is resolved. A qualified technician, such as one from YourMechanic,...

Related articles

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...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...
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.