Auto Shifting 101: What Do The Letters & Numbers Mean?

January 4th, 2024 by

Auto enthusiasts have long debated the merits of manual versus automatic transmissions. Auto shifting is a popular choice for many drivers as it eliminates the need to change gears, making driving more comfortable and relaxed. However, it’s important to understand how auto shifting works to get the most out of your vehicle.


In this blog post by Headquarter Nissan, we’ll discover what all those letters and numbers on your car’s shifter mean! But before getting there, let’s explore how auto shifting works! 


How Does the Auto Shifting Gearbox Work?


Auto shifting, or automatic transmission, is a gearbox that uses a complex system of gears, clutches, and hydraulic fluid to change gears as the vehicle moves. 


A computer controls this system, which makes gear changes based on factors such as speed, engine load, and throttle position.


Here’s a quick guide to deciphering the popular PRNDL on the gearbox! 


  1.  “P” or “Park”

‘Park’ is used when you’re stopped and need to put your car in the parking. You can use it when the light is red for a long time for fuel efficiency. 


  1. “R” or “Reverse”

‘Reverse’ gear is used for backing up. Whenever you need to take your car from parking, you will use a reverse



  1. “N” or “Neutral”

‘Neutral’ is a resting position for your car. The engine will still be running, but the wheels will not be engaged.


  1. “D” or “Drive”

‘Drive’ is used when you’re driving forward. You can shift into this position when your car is moving or at a complete stop.


  1. “L” or “Low”

‘Low’ is typically used for towing purposes. It will engage the engine brake and help you control your speed when going downhill.


What is the Purpose of D1, D2 & D3?


D1, D2, and D3 are the three driving modes available in most automatic cars. Each mode is designed for a purpose and offers several benefits.


  • D1 is the basic driving mode used for city driving or when you don’t need the car’s full power. 


  • D2 is designed for highway driving and offers more power and better fuel economy. 


  • D3 is the performance mode and is typically used for racing or when you need the car’s full power.


Every driver must be aware of how auto shifting works. The letters and numbers associated with each gear can seem confusing, but they provide valuable information about the car’s performance!


You don’t have to go far to find your dream car – Headquarter Nissan, serving Hamilton, GA, has a wide variety of new Nissan models for you to choose from.


We know that everyone’s needs are different, which is why we offer a diverse selection of vehicles. Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly SUV or a sporty sedan, we have something for everyone.


Our team is passionate about cars and wants to help you find the perfect one for your lifestyle. We always take the time to get to know you and what you’re looking for to find the best car for your needs.

Explore our new Nissan models now!

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