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Posted at: Sep 8, 2018, 1:22 AM; last updated: Sep 8, 2018, 2:30 AM (IST)GOOD MOTORING

Gear up

Gear up

H. Kishie Singh

It had to happen. I knew it would happen but I just didn’t expect it to be so fast. There are some very faithful readers of Good Motoring and by 0800 hours on Saturday, I have half a dozen SMSes and as many phone calls.

We discuss, debate and disagree about the day’s topic. “Hello Sir, Good Morning! The picture you have shown of the auto-gear box is not what I have on my car. I have 3-2-1!”

He was right. Every manufacturer has his own way of sorting out the design.

The accompanying image shows yet another gear-shift configuration.

P.R.N.D has to be standard. ‘S’ is for Sport Mode. The Plus-Minus is to up-shift or down-shift, manually, but without a clutch.

First, let’s see what this lever is supposed to do. Manual or automatic, this lever changes the gear ratio to make the car run smoothly. With the manual, you must press the clutch to shift the lever and change gears. With the automatic, there is no clutch. The gear change is automatic.

We were discussing the gear shift lever on the floor. To clarify what the alphabet letters stand for: ‘P’ means park. Shift into Park, switch off the engine. The gear box is locked. The car cannot be moved. Back to the letters on the console. ‘R’ is for Reverse. ‘N’ is for Neutral. The car won’t drive. ‘D’ is for Drive. Put it into ‘D’, take your foot off the brake, press the accelerator and off you go!

The car will start rolling in low gear. As it picks up speed, the gear ratio will change into a higher gear ratio automatically for highway driving. With a manual gear box, you would you would have done it manually.

Now you come to ‘L’ for Low gear. Put it into ‘L’ and it will stay in low gear. This will come in handy if you are in sand, slush, snow or going up a very steep hill.

So where does 3-2-1 come into the picture? Obviously, the car has a 4-speed auto gear box. ‘D’ is for Drive and the manufacturer has given you an option to hold the car in any of the other gear ratios. Exactly what you would have done with a manual gearbox, now it happens automatically.

There is a very important drill you must follow to start and move off with an auto gearbox. Get into the car, foot on foot brake, shift gear lever into ‘N’. Now start the car. As the engine warms up, fasten the seat belt, adjust ORVM and the music system, which can really be avoided.

 Only then put the gearshift lever into ‘D’ or ‘R’, as the situation demands.

Why this procedure?

 Most people start the car in ‘P’, even when they have to move forward. Then the gear lever is pulled into ‘D’, passing through and activating ‘R’, even for a fraction of a second and the reverse gears start moving. In the blink of an eye, it is in ‘D’! There could be a clash of gears resulting in some damage to the gear box. That could be a rather expensive repair bill.

Follow instructions and recommendations from the manufacturer.

Happy Motoring!

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