Car Gear Functions, Meaning of the Code, and How to Use It

Rarely known to car owners, the function of automatic car gear turns out to be quite a lot, you know.

So before deciding to buy an automatic car, it's good to know first that an automatic car is not just playing with the gas and brakes.

Moreover, cars with automatic transmissions have levers with various code meanings. Such as P, R, N, D, D3, 2, and L. Not to mention the numbers that show the gear ratio like in a car with a manual transmission.

Then, what does it all mean? Auto Insurance Agencies has summarized the function of automatic car gear and the meaning of the code as below.

Automatic Car Gear Function

1. P (Parking)

When the gear is set to this position, the transmission will lock and the car engine can not move. However, its function is not the same as the parking brake.

The reason is when the transmission lever is in the P position, the car's wheels can still move. Usually this position is used when the car is stopped for a long time or in a parked condition.

2. R (Reverse)

As the name implies, when the transmission lever is moved to the R position, the automatic car you are driving will go backwards or backwards.

3. N (Neutral)

In this position, if the parking brake is not active, the car can still be moved either forward or backward by being pushed.

That's because in position N, the car engine is in neutral. But not locked like in P position.

4. D (Drive)

This D position is generally used when the car is driving on normal road terrain, meaning that the road is flat and does not go through an incline.

You just adjust the gas and brakes. When it comes to shifting gears. the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) feature in automatic cars will do it for you automatically according to engine speed and car speed.

5. 2 and 3

If you pay attention, the automatic car transmission code in the form of number 2 is usually under D. While the number 3 is right next to it.

Now the number 3 or D-3 means ordering the engine to limit the maximum gearshift to 3rd gear.

While 2 or S (Second) is usually used when passing through an incline but not too steep and requires engine brake when descending.

6. L (Low)

Although it is often found that it reads L, some cars also use code 1.

This L or 1 has the function of commanding the engine to use a low gear. Or limit the automatic system from shifting gears from 1st gear.

Usually this position is used to go through steep and long inclines and require large torque from the engine.

In addition, the L position can also be used as an engine brake.

But keep in mind, when the incline has been successfully passed, don't forget to move the car's transmission from the L position.

This is so that the engine and transmission do not receive heavy pressure that can damage the components inside.

7. Shift Lock

Recently, automatic cars are also equipped with shift locks. Shift Lock is useful for shifting the gear lever from P to N even if the car engine is off.

This feature is usually used when the car is parked in parallel so that it can still be pushed and does not block other cars that want to get out.

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How to Use the Correct Automatic Car

First time driving an automatic car? Do not be confused.

There are several things you need to know in order to be able to drive an automatic car properly and safely. Including how to shift the correct automatic car gear.

The thing to remember, how to operate the gear on an automatic car is different from a manual car.

In manual cars, you don't need to adjust the clutch or shift gears because they are done automatically.

You just need to stop and go without shifting gears or playing the clutch.

Well, the first thing to do before starting a trip with an automatic car is to first know the location of the transmission so you don't move the lever wrong while driving.

When you start your journey, you must step on the brake pedal before moving the automatic transmission lever from P to D.

After the transmission to position D, you can release the parking brake and immediately start the journey.

However, many people immediately move the transmission from P to D without stepping on the brake pedal.

Even though these habits can have a bad effect on transmission in the future, you know.

Using an Automatic Car When It's Jammed

Who likes being stuck in traffic? It doesn't exist.

Apart from making the driver bored, the fatigue of operating the car slowly while adjusting the distance in a traffic jam is no less annoying.

Therefore, many automatic car drivers then often position the transmission to the N position. Which is actually not recommended.

Positioning to the N position when stuck is not recommended as it can damage the transmission in the long run. Especially if you are often stuck in traffic and do that.

Then, is it okay to move the shift lever to the P position? The answer is no. It can actually damage the teeth of your automatic car.

Ideally, when jammed the automatic transmission should be maintained in position D while pressing the brake pedal and pulling the parking brake.

Although quite tiring, this method is the most effective in maintaining the wear and tear of your favorite automatic car.

But, don't always step on the brakes slowly when you step on the gas. That habit can damage the gearbox.

We recommend that when the car is running immediately release the parking brake, no need to step on the brake pedal and immediately step on the gas.

Using an Automatic Car on Uphill Roads

Even though driving an automatic car is super easy and comfortable, a driver still needs to be skilled and agile in driving.

Especially if the terrain taken is not easy like an incline.

By understanding how to drive an automatic car correctly, the incident of the car turning back while on an incline can be avoided.

So, here are some tips to consider:

1. Pay Attention to the Steepness of the Incline

Why is this important? Because it will affect the lever you use when passing through the field.

2. Make Sure to Select the Shift Lever According to Road Conditions

When on an incline in mountainous areas or in rural areas with steeper terrain, you need to use a D2 transmission.

But when the incline is getting steeper, you should use the D1 position. This position is like gear 1 on a manual car.

This position can also be used when you are stuck in traffic and crawling on an incline.

3. Pay Attention When You Step on the Brakes

Avoid using the brakes too deeply or not at all when moving from position D to D2 or D1. You only need to press the button on the gear lever to shift gears.

the Advantages and Disadvantages of Automatic Car Gear


  1. Easy to drive and energy efficient

Nowadays, automatic cars are quite popular and attract many people. The reason is, you only need to pull the gas and brake to operate it and don't have to bother changing gears because the system works automatically.

Therefore, driving an automatic car also saves energy.

  1. When stuck in traffic

Automatic cars also have advantages for this one condition.

The reason is, with an automatic car when conditions are stuck you only need to rely on the gas pedal on the right foot and the brake on the left foot.


  1. It costs a lot for maintenance

As is well known, automatic cars require quite a lot of maintenance costs. Including more frequent oil changes because the rotation is done automatically.

In addition, the number of repair shops or technicians who have expertise in repairing automatic car problems also makes maintenance costs expensive.

Not to mention the price of spare parts which are quite expensive for automatic cars if something is damaged and needs to be replaced with a new one.

  1. Not equipped with engine brake

Another drawback of automatic cars is the braking system.

Automatic cars cannot use engine brake braking techniques because they are not equipped with gears. This technique is a braking step by lowering the engine speed.

  1. Wasteful fuel

If you want to buy a vehicle that is fuel efficient, automatic cars are not an option.

The reason is, the engine rotation tends to be done more often when it is in use. This condition makes the use of fuel so quickly run out.

Tips for Caring for Automatic Car Teeth to Keep Them Durable

Caring for automatic car teeth also requires extra patience. The reason is that there are still many who often use automatic cars at random, including when parking.

There are even some people who immediately move the transmission from D to P, even though the car has not completely stopped.

Well, this kind of method can really damage the automatic car transmission.

Remember, do not use the lever in the P transmission position if the car has not come to a complete stop.

Also don't leave the car parked in position D if you don't want the clutch plate on your favorite automatic car to be damaged quickly.

It's Important to Have Car Insurance

What is the consideration for someone buying car insurance?

Well, usually one of the reasons is to protect financially from the risk of losing and damaging the car.

Especially considering the cost of repairing a car which is quite expensive. A little miscalculation, your savings will also be sold out, so it's a risk.

With insurance, you only need to prepare a certain amount of funds to cover all risks according to the amount of premium you pay. Including the risk of losing the car due to theft.

Therefore, there is nothing wrong with protecting your finances by using car insurance, right?

Car insurance can protect you from these unexpected costs due to unexpected risks.

By protecting your vehicle using insurance, you can save a lot of expenses.

So, your finances will be safe because the insurance company bears the costs for the risks mentioned earlier.

Check the type of car insurance that suits your needs below.

Tips from Auto Insurance Agencies! Driving an automatic car does look easy, doesn't it? However, you still have to know the ways to make your automatic car last longer. In addition, you are also required to know the meaning of the code on the automatic car transmission so that it is not wrong.