When To Use Gear 1 And 2 In Automatic? (Explained)

Automatic cars are well known for their convenience and overall quality performance. Unlike a manual car engine, automatic is more boost, and you can control it by pushing its 

designated buttons in front of you. 

So, when to use gear 1 and 2 automatic? When going downhill, you use gear 1; when you are climbing up, use gear 2. 

The automotive car engine contains a transmission gear selector, which means you control it using PRNDL or park, reverse, neutral, drive, and low. 

Using an automotive drive covers all the forward gears automatically based on its throttle position; the vehicle’s speed and other factors make it an even higher standard.

The latest car model today has the most complex and sophisticated engine. Its automatic transmission works by increasing the car performance level. However, there’s no doubt that automatic cars are expensive because their parts and the effort to build them is not easy. 

When the engine has issues, it takes time to repair due to its complex electrical parts. So once you notice that your car engine isn’t working right, especially if it’s automatic, never risk using it. 

There are many things to learn about an automatic car engine, especially its 1st and 2nd gear; let’s read more below. 

When To Use Gear 1 And 2 In Automatic

What Are 1st And 2nd Gear On Automatic For?

If you have an automatic car engine, it is easier to use two different engines. First, 1st gear of an automatic car engine is used for a low gear change. Then, at the same time, the 2nd gear is used for hill climbing. 

Hence, you can still use the 2nd gear when going downhill. However, it is not advisable during the rainy season because the wheel can’t grip enough to the road. 

When To Use 1st Gear In An Automatic Transmission?

The 1st gear of automatic transmission is also called low gear. You can see this mode on both manual and automatic transmission. It works to restrict the amount of fuel to inject into the engine when you are going downhill. 

A 1st gear helps boost out the torque while decreasing the engine’s speed. However, many drivers avoid using low gear because they don’t know how it works. Hence, you can’t use it anywhere only in one situation, which is going downhill.

When To Use 2nd Gear In An Automatic Transmission?

On the other hand, the 2nd gear works the same as the first gear, except you use it only when going uphill. You can use 2nd gear when passing by on a slippery road. So, when you use the 2nd gear automatic transmission, you need to lower the speed of your tires to have a successful grip on the surface of the road. 

You can still use 2nd gear transmission when you are braking downhill. However, if it’s wet, you better use the brake pedal instead of 2nd gear transmission. When going downhill, your car’s front-wheel-drive has less control, so the brake pedal is very helpful when you descend on a steep road. 



The 1st and 2nd gear transmission can be seen on manual and automatic car engines. However, it works more perfectly than an automatic engine. The latest car model needs more support because it carries more complex parts. 

Moreover, if the transmission doesn’t work on the car properly, you better act fast and call for help. Because when you ignore and you are passing by a downhill and uphill road, there are immense possibilities that your car won’t make it.

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Image credits – Canva

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My name is Hank, and I've been in the automotive industry for 27 years. I've been working in my own auto repair shop for the last 13 years, and now I want to help you here, on my blog. Let me know if you have any questions. Read more