Understanding When to Use Low Gear

Gear Shift

Wondering about low gear? It’s good to know when to use low gear — and what low gear is in a car — even if you drive an automatic transmission. Did you know that many automatics still offer a lower gear? Sam Leman Chevrolet Bloomington is here to help you find out when to use low gear around Central Illinois.

What is Low Gear in a Car?

If you’ve ever heard that you needed to downshift into a lower gear, you might have thought that didn’t apply to a car with an automatic transmission. And in most cases, it doesn’t. But many modern automatic transmissions allow a level of shifting beyond simply moving between park, reverse, neutral, and drive.

When a car runs in a lower gear, it’s somewhat less efficient but operates at a higher torque. It’s called “low gear” because there’s a low ratio between the speed of the wheels and the engine driving them.

When to Use Low Gear

While choosing to drive in low gear is pretty simple in a car with a manual transmission, there are specific times you would want to drive in low gear with an automatic transmission. These are also the times you would want to drive in a lower gear with a manual transmission, too:

  • Towing Heavy Cargo: If you’re towing a trailer, a boat, or another vehicle, it used to be common to tow in low gear for greater torque and improved control while towing.
  • Driving at an Incline: Some vehicles can have a tough time going up long, steep hills. If you shift into lower gear, your engine doesn’t have to work as hard and can better focus on getting up the hill.

That said, there’s one situation when you should never downshift in an automatic: to slow down. Downshifting to slow down can cause significant damage to an automatic transmission.

When to Tow in Low Gear

If you’re thinking about low gear and remembering someone told you to tow in low gear, you can probably forget most of that. In a modern truck, the computers often do the work for you, doing calculations based on pedal position, torque, engine load, and more. Basically, if your truck has a tow/haul mode, engage it.

Unlike the old days, most trucks now will do the thinking for you, and worries like an overheated transmission or burnt valves are things of the past. Drive an older truck? Reach out to our parts department to learn how to properly outfit it for your load.

2019 Chevy Silverado Towing Trailer

Visit Sam Leman Chevrolet Bloomington to Learn More

For deeper, technical questions on when to use low gear, advice on how to program your Chevy key fob, or even to learn how to rotate tires, contact the experts at our service department. If you’re not sure about driving in low gear, that’s okay; if you have an automatic transmission, you can trust your vehicle to do the work — it’s just a nice benefit of select automatic and dual-clutch transmissions.

More From Sam Leman Chevrolet Bloomington

  • Chevrolet 2020 Chicago Auto Show News

    It’s time for the Chicago Auto Show, and Sam Leman Chevrolet Bloomington is here to bring you all the latest Chevy news. From the most advanced towing and trailering of the Tahoe and Suburban to the all-new model release of the Trailblazer, there were plenty of exciting highlights for Chevy at this year’s Chicago Auto Show! Take a…

  • 2020 Chevy Equinox MPG

    No one likes to empty their bank account at the gas pump. So, it’s no wonder that our Bloomington and Normal drivers are so impressed with the Chevy Equinox fuel economy. The EPA-estimated 2020 Chevy Equinox mpg is higher than what you might expect from an SUV with such a powerful engine. Couple that with…

  • 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Towing Capacity

    What is the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 towing capacity? The 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 towing capacity reaches up to 13,400 pounds when properly equipped. This means that drivers can haul all of their tools, supplies, and anything else they might need on the job in and around Springfield. Learn more about the performance specs below…

Saved
Saved Vehicles ×

SAVED VEHICLES

You don't have any saved vehicles!

Look for this link on your favorites:

Save

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

Share
Share This ×

Choose How To Share:

Contact
Contact Us ×

(309) 271-1552

Call Now

1602 Morrissey Dr • Bloomington, IL 61704

Get Directions

Today's Hours:

Sales: Closed

Open Today! Service: 7am-4pm

Open Today! Parts: 7am-4pm

Sam Leman Chevrolet Bloomington

1602 Morrissey Dr Bloomington, IL

Phone: (309) 271-1552

http://maps.google.com/?q=1602%20Morrissey%20Dr%2C%20Bloomington%2C%20IL%2061704

Parts

Phone: (309) 271-0793

1602 Morrissey Dr Bloomington, IL

Sales

Phone: (309) 271-1552

1602 Morrissey Dr Bloomington, IL

Service

Phone: (309) 271-1592

1602 Morrissey Dr Bloomington, IL
40.4586647 -88.9684632
[schema type="organization" orgtype="LocalBusiness" url="www.lemanchevy.com" name="Sam Leman Chevrolet Bloomington" description="" street="1602 Morrissey Dr" city="Bloomington" state="IL" postalcode="61704" country="US" email="benji@samleman.com" phone="(309) 271-1552" logo="https://di-uploads-development.dealerinspire.com/lemanschevycity/uploads/2018/08/SamLemanChevyCityOGImage.png"]
Sam Leman Chevrolet Bloomington
Sam Leman Chevrolet Bloomington
benji@samleman.com
1602 Morrissey Dr
Bloomington, IL, 61704 US
(309) 271-1552
https://di-uploads-development.dealerinspire.com/lemanschevycity/uploads/2018/08/SamLemanChevyCityOGImage.png
Sam Leman Chevrolet Bloomington 40.4586647, -88.9684632.