Q: How does the automatic transmission work?

asked by on December 15, 2015

How does the automatic transmission work?

Automatic transmissions are simpler to operate than manual transmissions are, but you should still be familiar with how they work.

  • The shift indicator in the dash shows you the gear selected. You can also see this on the gearshift between the seats.

  • If the D indicator is flashing, it means there’s a problem with the transmission. If the Check Engine light comes on in conjunction with the D light, your car needs immediate service.

  • To shift out of park, press the brake pedal, and pull in on the release button on the gearshift handle. Pull the handle backward to reverse, or drive.

  • Park, reverse, neutral and drive should be familiar to all drivers. However, the other gears might not be:

    • D3: This gear is designed for towing – press the release lever on the handle to shift from drive to D3.
    • 2: The transmission will be locked into this gear (it won’t upshift or downshift) until you manually shift back to D3, drive or another gear. It’s used for steep inclines and slick surfaces.
    • 1: This locks the transmission into first gear (it won’t upshift or downshift). It’s primarily used for very steep inclines.
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