Being in the car repair business, we field questions regarding the ins and outs of your vehicle on a daily basis. One that I get on a consistent basis asks what the different settings are for your automatic transmission. Everyone knows the P (park), R (reverse), N (neutral), and D (drive). But what are the other numbers and letters? Here’s a rundown and how/why they should be used.
This number denotes that when you are in this position, your car will not cycle out of 3rd gear. You’re probably asking yourself why you wouldn’t want to get out of 3rd gear, but there are situations that warrant it. You would use “3” if you were stuck in sand or snow (more power to wheels, less speed).
This number tells you that your vehicle will not cycle out of 2nd gear. You would use “2” if you were pulling a trailer up a hill (more pulling power, but less speed than 3).
You would use L or LOW basically when you need power to the wheels, like pulling a heavy trailer, driving on ice, or any situation when traction is of the utmost importance…
But remember, don’t drive in any of these lower gears for an extended period of time or at high speeds, these settings are situational.