The automatic transmission explained

Whilst the automatic transmission system is very clever, you still need to have some control over it, and this is where the selector lever comes into play, which is in the place that you would have the gear stick in a manual transmission car in most cases, although not always.

The most important ones are:

N: this stands for Neutral, and you start the car engine with the lever in this position.

P: this stands for park and it locks the transmission, clearly this should be used when the car is parked and the engine is off.

R: for reverse; as the name suggests this is for when you need to reverse the car

D: Drive, this is the position that you'll have the lever in the vast majority of the time because this is the position when you want the car to go forwards, which is the majority of the time; in ordinary road driving you will have the car in D and the automatic transmission will control the gears itself automatically

Individual gear numbers: some automatic transmissions will let you specifically select a gear, or limit the top gear: this is for conditions where the automatic transmission might select the wrong gear, for instance going up a steep hill or similar

Drive options: there can be other drive options available too, these would typically be numbered D1 and so on.

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