When to Use Low Gear

/how-to-use-paddle-shifters/Close up of a car gear shift. Stick shift.


For many drivers who have an automatic transmission in their car, it can be difficult to know when to shift into low gear. Even though an automatic transmission shifts gears for you, there are times when manually shifting to low gear can help with your vehicle’s performance, particularly when towing or driving on steep inclines. Learn more about when to use low gear from the service experts at your local Butler Auto Group dealership.

What is Low Gear?

In a manual transmission low gear is the first gear you’ll use when starting the vehicle when it is parked or stopped at an intersection. As you drive you then shift to second or third accordingly. With an automatic transmission, the gears automatically shift in concordance with the engine RPMs. However, when you manually shift your automatic to low gear, the engine stays in low gear even as the RPMs increase. Low gear causes less fuel to be taken by the engine, which both slows the car down and increases engine torque. Even though most drivers who own a car with an automatic transmission tend to never use the low gear, there are situations where it can be helpful to do so.

When is it Beneficial to Use Low Gear?

  • Towing: With both gas and diesel vehicles, low gear delivers more engine power, which is ideal when towing a trailer, boat, or another vehicle. You should always check your owner’s manual to find out what the speed limit is for low gear, as exceeding the limit can cause damage to both the engine and the transmission. Towing with the automatic transmission set in low will keep the engine torque even and consistent, providing the power you need.
  • Mountain Driving: Another reason to use low gear is when driving in hilly or mountainous terrain. Manually shifting to low gives you more power to climb steep inclines without putting extra stress on the engine. It can also be beneficial when descending a hill, as it will help to slow the vehicle and reduce the amount of braking you’ll have to do. Riding the brakes when going down a steep incline can cause them to overheat, which can lead to brake failure.
  • Ice and Snow: Shifting to low gear is also helpful when you need to drive slowly on icy, snowy, or slippery roads. The extra torque and lower speed will help you to keep the vehicle under control.

Visit Your Local Butler Auto Group Dealership to Learn More

Whether driving around town, or heading out to one of the great fishing sites around Macan, GA, using low gear can help performance and extend the life of your brakes. The certified auto techs at the Butler Auto Group service center near you can advise you when and how to properly use the low gear setting on your automatic transmission. We can also handle all your recommended car maintenance, including oil changes. Please contact us if you have any questions. We also have more information on vehicles with paddle shifters.

More From Butler Auto Group

  • Moonroof vs. Sunroof: What’s the Difference?

    At first glance, a sunroof and moonroof look nearly identical, but there is a difference between the two. A sunroof is a glass or metal panel in the roof of a car, truck, or SUV that can slide fully open or pop up to let in light and air. A moonroof is most often a clear…

  • What Is a Lease Buyout?

    A lease buyout is when you purchase your leased vehicle out-right before the end of the lease agreement. You have two different types of buyout options to choose from, so it’s important to know the details in order to make the right decision. Learn more in this guide from Butler Auto Group. Visit Our Finance Center Lease-End…

  • How to Get a Car Loan With No Credit

    Getting a car loan makes it easier for many Georgia drivers to afford a vehicle, but you may be asking yourself, “Can I get a car loan with no credit?” If you have yet to establish a credit history, don’t panic. There are many no credit car loans out there available for you as well…

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.

Contact Us

Acura of Columbus

(706) 576 – 6700
6549 Whittlesey Boulevard, Columbus, GA 31909
View Inventory

BMW of Columbus

(706) 596-2888
6549 Whittlesey Blvd, Columbus, GA 31909
View Inventory

BMW of Macon

(877) 739-3755
4785 Riverside Dr, Macon, GA 31210
View Inventory

Butler Ford

2631 N Columbia St, Milledgeville, GA 31061
View Inventory

Butler Honda

2631 N Columbia St, Milledgeville, GA 31061
View Inventory

Butler Lexus

(478) 477-0700
4550 Riverside Dr, Macon, GA 31210
View Inventory

Butler Toyota

4580 Riverside Dr, Macon, GA 31210
View Inventory


188 Robert Smalls Pkwy, Beaufort, SC 29906
View Inventory

Valdosta Toyota

2980 James Rd, Valdosta, GA 31601
View Inventory

Butler Nissan of Macon

(478) 781-8440
4500 Riverside Dr, Macon, GA 31210
View Inventory

Butler Toyota Jacksonville

(904) 240-4037
1290 Cassat Ave Jacksonville, FL 32205
View Inventory

Audi South Atlanta

View Inventory

Butler Chevrolet

2020 Riverside Drive, Macon, GA 31204, USA
View Inventory

Butler Lexus of South Atlanta

4025 Jonesboro Rd, Union City, GA 30291, United States
View Inventory
Butler Auto Group , .