When To Use Low Gear In Automatic Car? (All You Need To Know)

For many drivers who drive automatic transmission in their car, it can be challenging to know when is the proper timing in shifting your gear. Even though an automatic engine shifts the gear automatically for you, there are some instances that it doesn’t work at all.

So, when to use low gear in an automatic car? You can use low gear when you want your car engine power to get high while the vehicle speed is low. Limiting the stress on brakes allows the driver to take advantage of an uphill drive. 

A low gear transmission refers to the ratio of the car speed. When the engine moves hard and the wheel moves slower, your gear is in low gear mode. Depending on your car model, you can activate your low gear differently. 

 When creating the condition of low gear transmission, you need first to ease off the gas after you notice the obstacle. Next, make sure your speed is low enough to trigger the low gear mode, then leave plenty of time to slow down before getting through the obstacle. 

Moreover, it is easier to control an automatic car engine than a manual one. In manual, you still need to use the pedal and your steering wheel to get it into low gear mode, while in an automatic, you press a button, and that’s it. Your car is already in low gear mode. 

When To Use Low Gear In Automatic Car

What Is The Low Gear Used For?

Low gear is used when you are passing by a downhill road. When you are driving downhill, you need a low gear mechanism for the car not to slip directly. 

It is also hazardous when you don’t use the low gear on a downhill road. You may get into an accident, or worst you could die. 

When To Use Low Gear?

When you are traveling, you will always pass by a downhill road. Therefore, you need to use low gear, especially if the downhill is wet. Your car is vulnerable to slipping when you don’t use your low gear mode during rainy days. 

Can I Shift To Low gear While Driving?

Yes, you can shift your engine into low gear mode while driving. Once you shift it, the engine will automatically slow down your speed as you approach a downhill drive. 

Is It OK To Drive In Low Gear?

Yes, it’s OK, especially if you need it. However, if you like to do more manual transmission changes, you can do it the other way. You can use your pedal brake and control your steering wheel to get into the mode.

You also need low gear to deliver you safely from towing. You can check your owner’s manual to find out the required speed limit that low gear needs. 

If you exceed the limit of the low gear mode, you will damage both the engine and its transmission. 

Also, when you have a mountain drive. It’s another reason to use low gear; it gives your car more power to climb steep inclines without stressing the engine. It also benefits the most when you descend a hill in low gear mode.



Low gear is beneficial when you need support to safely pass by a downhill drive. A low gear mode increases your safety level during the downhill drive. You can also shift to low gear while driving because the latest car model will automatically slow down your car speed. 

Moreover, there are ways to do it. Hence it depends on what latest car model you have. Also, don’t forget about getting your car engine checked, including your low gear mode when you plan to have a long drive.

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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