A vehicle with an automatic transmission allows the driver to place the vehicle in a gear that will allow the transmission to change the vehicle's forward gears automatically as speed increases and decreases.

Automatic transmissions have a lock release button or control built into the gear selector to reduce the possibility of shifting incorrectly. The lock release provides the following safety features:

  • It must be used to move the gear selector from Park to Reverse or any forward gear while the brake pedal is pressed.
  • It must be used to shift the vehicle from Drive to a lower gear (first or second).
  • It must be used to shift into Park from any gear.

Refer to your owner's manual for more information about the transmission lock release.

P – Park

To be used when starting the engine and when leaving the vehicle parked. The Park position locks the transmission, which prevents the wheels from turning. The vehicle's engine will start when the transmission is in Park.

R – Reverse

To be used when backing or reversing the vehicle. When the vehicle is in reverse gear the white or clear lights at the rear of the vehicle will be lit. The vehicle's engine will not start in Reverse.

N – Neutral

To be used when the transmission is in a position that no gear is selected. The wheels are not locked, and there is no power to the wheels. This position is used for towing the vehicle. The vehicle's engine will start in Neutral.

D – Drive

To be used for normal forward driving. The transmission will change up and down through the driving gears automatically. The vehicle's engine will not start in this gear.

3 – Third gear
2 – Second gear
1 – First gear

To be used when you require more power but less speed and to prevent the transmission from shifting to a higher gear. These gears may be used when going up or down hills and on road conditions like slush, loose gravel, snow, sand or ice, where you need more power but less speed. The vehicle's engine will not start in this gear.

O – Overdrive (if equipped)

To be used for driving at higher speeds. This gear helps to save fuel. Not all vehicles have this option. The vehicle's engine will not start in this gear.

For more information about gear selection and use, refer to your vehicle's owner's manual.

  • The Basics of Driving
  • Driving a vehicle with an automatic transmission