How To Get Your Head Around Gear Shift Letters & Numbers?

The gear shift letters and numbers will not confound you anymore as we bring this guide to you. You probably have been wondering what those letters and numbers mean on your gear shift for the longest time.


Well, consider it your lucky day because we will decode them for you so that the next time you are driving, you will know exactly what to do without having to guess.


Gear Shift Letters & Numbers

As you explore your gear shift, it is imperative that you know that the gear shift letters indicate the different positions that your car can be in. Similarly, the numbers correspond to the different gears. For instance, the letter “P” stands for the park while the number “1” corresponds to the first gear.


Here is a list of gear shift letters and their meanings:


P – Park

You will need your car in this mode when you are stopped and want to prevent it from rolling. For example, when you are at a stop light or parking spot.


R – Reverse

The reverse is the gear you will use when you want your car to move backward. For instance, use reverse when backing out of a parking space or driveway.


N – Neutral

Neutral means your car is no longer moving but is different from the park. In the Park mode, your car’s gears are locked to prevent it from moving. In neutral, your car’s gears are not locked, and it can roll if left on an incline.


D – Drive

The most common gear you will use most frequently is drive. This is the gear you use when you want your car to move forward.


M – Manual

Some automatic cars have a “stick shift” type of manual transmission. With this transmission type, you must manually shift the gears with a lever instead of an automatic shift.


Now that you can easily comprehend all letters on your auto gear, let’s move on to the numbers.


Numbers on Your Gear Shift

Some cars have numbers on their gear shift (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.). These numbers represent the different gears that your vehicle has. The higher the number, the higher the gear. You will mostly find these next to M or D on your gear shift.


The M mode usually comes in AMT or DCT cars and affords users the freedom of switching between manual & automatic transmissions. It’s quite a luxurious experience, feeling the car purr as you put it into gear. The accompanying numbers afford a higher degree of control on speeds needed for a precise purpose.



Mastering the gear shift letters and numbers will help you understand your car better and make driving much more effortless. Be sure to practice shifting gears to get a feel for how your car responds. You’ll be going like a pro in no time with a little practice!


If you want to buy a new car, be sure to visit us at Arlington Toyota Jacksonville, serving Atlantic Beach, NC. We have a splendid selection of new and used Toyota cars. We also provide top-of-the-line customer service, which always leaves our customers happy.


Explore all our new vehicles today!

July 15, 2022
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