How to Put an Automatic Car in Neutral

How to Put an Automatic Car in Neutral? A Step by Step Guide for 2024

If you have driven cars before or you know a car even in its simplest form, you would know there is a significant difference between an automatic gear and a manual shift gear.

A manual is a lot harder to drive and is universally believed to be harder to control. So, due to this, many people turn to automatic gears instead. Also, factor in that most private cars (Sedans, SUVs, etc.) are often made automatic due to their popularity and demand.

Maybe because of this, you are trying to learn how to put an automatic car in neutral. Whatever it may be, just know that it looks a lot harder than it actually is, fortunately!

Before we get there, let us briefly discuss the difference between an automatic and a manual transmission.

The Difference Between an Automatic Transmission and A Manual Transmission

The Difference Between an Automatic Transmission and A Manual Transmission

Besides the visual differences, you may notice if you have seen someone driving a manual and you have also seen someone driving an automatic, and the transmissions vary in function and mechanics as well.

A manual transmission requires shifting the gears with a clutch while driving. The transmission is located on the bottom of the car and is attached to the clutch that protrudes out. The protrusion is what the driver switches around in order to change the gears when driving.

An automatic transmission simply requires the driver to adjust the position of the gears according to the speed of the car and is often located in the steering wheels.

But why choose one over the other? Well, let us discuss that right now

Which to Choose: Manual or Automatic?

While a manual transmission is often harder to drive and will require some driving experience in order to do it smoothly, it does have long-term benefits.

To start off, manual transmission burns less fuel. Because of this, the price does not add up over time. Also, a manual transmission car is often cheaper, to begin with. So, for students working part-time or people who simply do not want to splurge on a car, the manual transmission may be the better option.

If price is not your concern, you can turn to automatics. An automatic transmission is far more comfortable as you only require your right feet to drive it. It is also much more comfortable for longer rides as you do not need to control everything about the car.

Manual transmission cars are better long-term but harder to drive. Automatic transmissions are easier to drive but expensive long term.

Why do we need to know this? Before investing in anything, knowing the full story is much more important as you need to factor in the expense and time it might take.

Now that you know the difference between a manual transmission and an automatic transmission and hopefully have a better understanding of what you should choose, let us discuss the parts of an automatic transmission that are important for driving.

Parts of an Automatic Transmission Gear

Parts of an Automatic Transmission Gear

Oftentimes the automatic gears are labeled conveniently. Once you get in the car, you will realize what I mean by this.

You may see a whole alphabet soup once you look down, but as we break down what those alphabetical symbols mean, you will begin to realize it is not so complicated at all.

You will notice ‘D’, ’R’, ‘P’, ‘N’ ‘2’, and possibly ‘1’ or ‘L’. Let us explain these:

D- ‘Drive’. This is what your car should rest on as you maneuver it down the road.

R- ‘Reverse’. As you learn to drive, you will also learn how to reverse a car. Whether it be out of a parking lot or simply to take a U-turn, you will need to reverse. In order to do so, you must select the R option.

P-’Parking/Parking’. This simply stops the car before you shut off the engine. In some cars, the ‘P’ releases the brakes of your back wheels, stopping the car in its place properly (although most cars have a hand brake or a foot brake-This is true for the Toyota Premio F-EX 2018).

‘2’- This option is often selected for when the car needs to ascend up a road. So, for driving up hills or driving out a ditch, you must select ‘2’.

‘1’ or ‘L’- These are when the automatic is being shifted to the low gear. This allows the car to move at a steady pace. As opposed to ‘2’, this is often used for both uphill and downhill drives, whereas ‘2’ is exclusively used for steep uphill drives.

Now that you are caught up on the gear choices, let us discuss the best way to put an automatic car in neutral.

Know-How to Put an Automatic Car in Neutral

Know-How to Put an Automatic Car in Neutral

Once you get in the care, you must follow the instructions below

Step 1- Fasten your seatbelts and start the engine. You must place your feet on the accelerator and undo the back brakes (either with the handbrake on your right or the lever by the brake pedals).

Step 2- Now test the mobility of your stick. It should be moving smoothly over the gears. Now you may begin your drive by selecting ‘D’. As you continue to drive, you notice that you are about to enter heavy, slow-moving traffic, this is when you will need to shift to neutral.

Step 3- The gears are labeled properly, so you do not need to worry about this. You will see an ‘N’. The ‘N’ stands for ‘neutral,’ and that is where you will need to move the gear. Once you have done so, you may feel the engine come back a little. That is indicative of it working.


Whenever you drive, you must follow the instructions below

  • ALWAYS fasten your seatbelts. Not too loose and not too tight, just enough to hug your stomach and chest
  • ALWAYS maintain the speed limit
  • If it is your first time driving, have someone experience you at all times

Final Words

How to Put an Automatic Car in Neutral

Driving may seem a little overwhelming, but it is simply about understanding and control. Once you understand that, learning how to put an automatic car in neutral will come to you naturally.

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