When to Use Low Gear

Hand on Gear Shift

If you’ve ever wondered when to use low gear, or asked yourself, “What is low gear in a car?” we can tell you that you’re not alone. In spite of the fact that almost all vehicles with automatic transmissions offer a low gear, many don’t know exactly what it is, or what its purpose might be. Don’t fret: Understanding low gear isn’t all that difficult, and you’ll treasure the information as you drive through .

What is Low Gear in a Car?

If you’ve ever been told that you should downshift into a lower gear, your first reaction may have been one of confusion. After all, your transmission is an automatic! Low gear is a setting that can help reduce the amount of fuel used by your engine. By reducing your engine speed and subsequently increasing torque, low gear allows you to power over difficult obstacles or poor road conditions you may encounter on your drives through or .

When to Use Low Gear

You’ve now seen what is low gear in a car, and you might be eager to try it out. However, you should first know when to use low gear, and when to leave the setting alone. There are two main reasons why the driver of an automatic vehicle might switch to low gear:

  • Towing Heavy Cargo: If you’re towing a trailer, a boat, or another vehicle, you might need a little extra oomph to get moving. Naturally, you might not mind moving a little slower, so it makes perfect sense to ease off the gas pedal and start driving in low gear. The added torque from the lower gear lets you make the most of your vehicle’s power.
  • Driving at an Incline: Have you ever had trouble driving up a long, steep hill? If so, you probably should have allowed your transmission to downshift into low gear. Your engine will be working hard to move you up the incline, and the extra engine torque allows every burst of power to take you just a little bit further.
Red Stick Shift

Visit Sam Leman Automotive Group to Learn More

The area near and is hardly known for its hills, but if you plan on towing any plus-sized loads, it’s a good idea to get some practice shifting to low gear first. It’ll give you a better sense of your limitations and capabilities. Searching for a new vehicle that can take you further? You’ll find plenty of powerful automatic cars, trucks, and SUVs right here in our new vehicle inventory.

For deeper, technical questions on when to use low gear, contact the experts at our service department. While you’re at it, you may want to find out how to use paddle shifters and when to replace spark plugs, too. We also would be happy to discuss the best diesel engines or the importance of the GVWR.

More From Sam Leman Automotive Group

  • News From the 2019 Chicago Auto Show

    The Chicago Auto Show is one of the largest in the country, and here at Sam Leman Automotive Group we’re always excited to learn about the latest technologies, fresh design concepts, and new models that are presented at the event. Take a look at some of the new vehicles that made their debut at the Chicago Auto Show,…

  • What is Tire Rotation?

    What is a tire rotation? It is a basic vehicle maintenance task that ensures the tires on your car wear evenly, helping to maintain safety, improve traction, and improve fuel efficiency. Schedule Service What Does Rotating Tires Mean? A tire rotation is a pretty simple process, though it can be complicated to do without the…

  • Should I Buy or Lease?

    Are you wondering where buying or leasing is the best financial path to take to get a new vehicle for your commutes? The answer can vary depending on your needs, what you can afford, and what you want. While there are benefits to both, the decision on whether on leasing vs. buying doesn’t have…

Saved Vehicles ×


You don't have any saved vehicles!

Look for this link on your favorites:


Once you've saved some vehicles, you can view them here at any time.

Share This ×

Choose How To Share:

Contact Us ×

• Bloomington, Morton, Peoria, IL

Get Directions

Sam Leman Automotive Group

Bloomington, Morton, Peoria, IL


40.4607752 -88.9687249
Sam Leman Automotive Group 40.4607752, -88.9687249.