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A Quick Guide To Low Range Gear

6 October 2022 AutoMarket, Tips & Advice

We are all familiar with common automobile gear modes like “Drive” and “Park” on your gear shift controls, but do you know what the L on a gear shift means?

Several drivers who have owned a car for many years are unaware of what a low-range gear is or how to utilise it.

In this article, we will discuss it so you won't be missing out on it.

What is a low range gear?

Low gear (or in some circumstances, first gear) is a driving mode available on both manual and automatic transmissions.

In an automobile with a manual gearbox, the first gear is usually the lowest, followed by the second gear. The lower gears in an automatic car are labelled variously depending on the vehicle, but they are typically:

  • The number "1" is for the first gear and the number "2" is for the second gear.
  • Low gear is represented by the letter "L."
  • A '+' and '-' symbol. The plus symbol lets the driver change to a higher gear, and the minus symbol lets them change to a lower gear.

Keep in mind that the lower gear, the harder the engine works, and thus the more power you have. The higher the gear, the faster your engine will be. As you accelerate, manual and automatic transmissions will shift from lower to higher rations. Knowing when to do the inverse can help you maintain control in any type of situation.

When to use a low range gear?

Many automatic car drivers never engage in low gear function because they are simply unaware of it. As previously said people who intend to tow, off-road or go exploring should not make the same mistake.

  • When you take your car out of park start in low gear. Even if you're pulling a trailer or a lot of heavy cargo, this helps you get up to speed.
  • If you stay in low gear while towing, you can control what you're pulling more. Getting up to speed more slowly is a small price to pay for a safer trip.
  • When going up a steep hill, low gear makes the ride smoother and causes less rolling back.
  • When you drive down a hill in low gear, you put less stress on your transmission. Since you'll slow down on your own, your brakes won't have to work as hard.
  • It is also helpful while driving in slippery situations. When ice and mud cover the roads, a low gear gives you more control and better traction and handling.

Remember that your car’s transmission will only function properly if there is enough transmission fluid in it.

Using low range gear in both manual and automatic transmission

Still, confused about how low gear works? Automatic transmissions shift into lower gears when you slow down, but many include a “low” setting that prevents the transmission from shifting when you don’t want it to. Of course, manual transmissions are operated by hand. If you’re shifting up simply maintain a low pace.

Test it out!

Now that you know when to use low gear, why not try it?

Don't have a car to try it in? Do not worry! The Motor Matcher is here.

At Motor Matcher, we'll have options for you no matter what you need. If you live in the Melbourne area, it's the best place to buy used cars. You can broaden your horizons by buying one of our new or used cars.

Visit to get started with your search.