If you own an automatic, chances are you’re very familiar with the gears P, R, N and D, and use these on a regular basis when driving your vehicle. But what about the L gear? Do you even use it? Better yet, do you even know what it stands for?
L stands for low gear
In a brand new car or used car with an automatic transmission, the gears are designed to shift automatically from first to the fifth gear depending on the speed of the vehicle. However, when the car is in L, the transmission won’t shift. Instead, it remains in Low Gear (L stands for Low, and is the first gear in an automatic transmission), allowing less fuel to be injected to the engine. This slows the engine down and provides it more torque.
In other words, shifting to L means the transmission will remain in first gear regardless of how much you step on the accelerator. In addition, less fuel and more torque mean more power for the engine.
Reasons to use Low Gear
The strong torque that low gear generates is useful for towing. Whether you are hauling another vehicle, a boat, or trailer, you will find that Low Gear works best for this purpose. Towing requires more torque, and if you tow in D, this will put apply undue strain on your engine as the transmission shifts as you speed up. Keeping the gear in L gives you the torque that you need to pull heavy cargo with ease while reducing the stress on your engine.
Towing isn’t the only action that Low Gear is good for. You may also shift your automatic into the L position for the following purposes:
Climbing up a steep hill
Gravity makes the engine work harder. In fact, the strain that gravity puts on your engine is almost like towing something heavy. Due to the similarity of the conditions, using Low Gear when you’re climbing a steep hill makes the task a whole lot easier for your engine.
Riding down a steep road
When going down a sharp incline, it’s much preferable to use Low Gear instead of keeping on applying the Understanding what the gears on your automatic vehicle are for and how to use them properly is important for maximizing your car’s potential. This is especially important for owners of automatic brand new cars, as you don’t want your recent investment to deteriorate too fast. Get to know the purpose of each gear and brush up on your owner’s manual to ensure you are not pushing your automatic transmission to do things it was not meant for brakes. The latter can overheat the brake system, which can possibly result in brake failure. Switching to L while riding down a steep road takes the pressure off the brakes.
Like every part of your car, your automatic transmission deserves some care and attention if you want it to serve you well and stay in good working condition throughout your car ownership and beyond. Check out this article for tips on how to keep your automatic car in good working condition.