What Is the + And – On the Gear Shift

What Is the + And – On the Gear Shift: Understanding its Importance and Common Concerns

The + and – symbols on the gear shift of a vehicle play a significant role in determining the gear setting while driving. These symbols represent the manual shifting option available in automatic transmission cars, allowing drivers to take control of their vehicle’s gears. While it may seem simple at first glance, understanding the purpose and significance of these symbols is crucial for a smooth and safe driving experience. In this article, we will explore the importance of the + and – on the gear shift, and discuss five scenarios wherein it becomes a concern.

The + and – symbols on the gear shift enable drivers to manually shift gears in an automatic transmission vehicle. This feature is valuable in various driving situations, including:

1. Climbing steep hills: When ascending a steep incline, shifting to a lower gear using the – symbol allows the engine to produce more power and climb with ease.

2. Descending steep hills: Similarly, when going downhill, selecting a lower gear using the – symbol helps control the speed of the vehicle and avoid excessive braking.

3. Overtaking: In situations where quick acceleration is required, such as overtaking another vehicle, shifting to a lower gear using the – symbol provides a boost in power for a swift maneuver.

4. Towing heavy loads: When towing a heavy trailer or carrying a heavy load, using the – symbol to shift to a lower gear helps maintain control and stability.

5. Sporty driving: Some drivers enjoy the feeling of manual control even in automatic transmission cars. Using the + and – symbols, they can manually shift gears to enhance the driving experience.

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Despite the benefits and versatility of the + and – symbols on the gear shift, there are scenarios where they can become a concern. Here are five common concerns related to this feature:

1. Lack of understanding: Many drivers are unaware of the purpose and function of the + and – symbols, leading to confusion and potential misuse.

2. Incorrect shifting: Inexperienced drivers may mistakenly shift gears inappropriately, causing engine strain, poor fuel efficiency, or even damage to the transmission.

3. Neglecting automatic mode: Some drivers might exclusively rely on manual shifting, neglecting the automatic mode available in their vehicle. This can lead to unnecessary gear changes and decreased fuel efficiency.

4. Shifting at high speeds: Shifting to a lower gear at high speeds can cause the engine to rev excessively, potentially damaging the engine or transmission.

5. Failure to upshift: Failing to shift to a higher gear when necessary can result in the engine operating at high RPMs, leading to decreased fuel efficiency and increased wear and tear.

Here are thirteen common questions and answers related to the + and – symbols on the gear shift:

1. What do the + and – symbols on the gear shift mean?
The + symbol indicates shifting to a higher gear, while the – symbol represents shifting to a lower gear.

2. Can I use the + and – symbols in any driving situation?
Yes, you can use them in various situations, but it’s important to understand their purpose and utilize them appropriately.

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3. Can I manually shift gears in all automatic transmission cars?
Not all automatic transmission cars have this feature. Check your vehicle’s manual to confirm if it offers manual shifting.

4. Can I start the vehicle in any gear using the + and – symbols?
No, you should always start the vehicle in the designated “Park” or “Neutral” position.

5. Can I cause damage to my car by shifting gears incorrectly?
Shifting gears incorrectly can strain the engine or transmission, leading to potential damage if done consistently.

6. How can I learn to use the + and – symbols correctly?
Reading the vehicle’s manual, seeking guidance from an experienced driver, or taking a driving lesson can help you learn the correct usage.

7. Is manual shifting more fuel-efficient than automatic mode?
Manual shifting can be more fuel-efficient if used correctly, but relying solely on manual shifting may lead to decreased fuel efficiency.

8. Can I use the + and – symbols while driving in reverse?
No, the + and – symbols are typically only applicable for forward gear shifting.

9. Can I switch between manual and automatic mode while driving?
Yes, most vehicles allow you to switch between manual and automatic mode while driving.

10. Can I use the + and – symbols in all gears?
The use of + and – symbols is typically limited to the “Drive” mode, excluding “Park,” “Reverse,” and “Neutral.”

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11. Can I use the + and – symbols without pressing the brake pedal?
In most vehicles, you need to press the brake pedal to activate the manual shifting function.

12. Are there any speed limitations for using the + and – symbols?
It is generally recommended to avoid shifting gears at very high speeds to prevent engine damage.

13. Can I manually downshift to slow down the vehicle without using the brake pedal?
While it is possible to downshift using the – symbol to slow down the vehicle, it is essential to use the brake pedal simultaneously for safety reasons.

In conclusion, the + and – symbols on the gear shift of an automatic transmission vehicle allow drivers to manually control the gears. Understanding their purpose, correct usage, and potential concerns is vital for a safe and efficient driving experience. By utilizing this feature wisely, drivers can enhance their control over the vehicle and adapt to various driving conditions effectively.


  • Laura @ 262.run

    Laura, a fitness aficionado, authors influential health and fitness write ups that's a blend of wellness insights and celebrity fitness highlights. Armed with a sports science degree and certified personal training experience, she provides expertise in workouts, nutrition, and celebrity fitness routines. Her engaging content inspires readers to adopt healthier lifestyles while offering a glimpse into the fitness regimens of celebrities and athletes. Laura's dedication and knowledge make her a go-to source for fitness and entertainment enthusiasts.