Re: What does P,N,R,D,I & L mean?
D is what you should be using 99.9% of the time while driving.
From the owners manual for a 4 speed Transmission. (Which is what is pictured above)
P (Park): This position locks the front wheels. It is the best position to use when you start the engine because the vehicle cannot move easily.
Warning: It is dangerous to get out of the vehicle if the shift lever is not fully in P (Park) with the parking brake firmly set. The vehicle can roll.
Do not leave the vehicle when the engine is running unless you have to. If you have left the engine running, the vehicle can move suddenly. You or others could be injured. To be sure the vehicle will not move, even when you are on fairly level ground, always set the parking brake and move the shift lever to P (Park). See Shifting Into Park. If you are pulling a trailer, see Towing a Trailer .
Make sure the shift lever is fully in P (Park) before starting the engine. The vehicle has an automatic transmission shift lock control system. You must fully apply the brake pedal and then press the shift lever button before you can shift from P (Park) when the ignition key is in ON/RUN. If you cannot shift out of P (Park), ease pressure on the shift lever, then push the shift lever all the way into P (Park) as you maintain brake application. Then press the shift lever button and move the shift lever into another gear. See Shifting Out of Park.
R (Reverse): Use this gear to back up.
Notice: Shifting to R (Reverse) while the vehicle is moving forward could damage the transmission. The repairs would not be covered by the vehicle warranty. Shift to R (Reverse) only after the vehicle is stopped.
To rock the vehicle back and forth to get out of snow, ice or sand without damaging the transmission, see If Your Vehicle is Stuck in Sand, Mud, Ice, or Snow.
N (Neutral): In this position, the engine does not connect with the wheels. To restart the engine when the vehicle is already moving, use N (Neutral) only. Also, use N (Neutral) when the vehicle is being towed.
Warning: Shifting into a drive gear while the engine is running at high speed is dangerous. Unless your foot is firmly on the brake pedal, the vehicle could move very rapidly. You could lose control and hit people or objects. Do not shift into a drive gear while the engine is running at high speed.
Notice: Shifting out of P (Park) or N (Neutral) with the engine running at high speed may damage the transmission. The repairs would not be covered by the vehicle warranty. Be sure the engine is not running at high speed when shifting the vehicle.
D (Drive): This position is for normal driving. It provides the best fuel economy. If you need more power for passing, and you are:
• Going less than 35 mph (56 km/h), push the accelerator pedal about halfway down.
• Going about 35 mph (56 km/h) or more, push the accelerator all the way down.
Notice: If the vehicle seems to start up rather slowly or not shift gears when you go faster, and you continue to drive the vehicle that way, you could damage the transmission. Have the vehicle serviced right away. You can drive in L2 (Low) when you are driving less than 35 mph (56 km/h) and D (Drive) for higher speeds until then.
I (Intermediate): This position is also used for normal driving. However, it reduces vehicle speed without using the brakes for slight downgrades where the vehicle would otherwise accelerate. If constant upshifting or downshifting occurs while driving up steep hills, this position can be used to prevent repetitive types of shifts. You might choose I (Intermediate) instead of D (Drive) when driving on hilly, winding roads and when towing a trailer, so that there is less shifting between gears.
L (Low): This position gives you access to 4 (Fourth), 3 (Third), 2 (Second) and 1 (First) gear ranges. This provides more engine braking but lower fuel economy than D (Drive). You can use it on very steep hills, or in deep snow or mud. If the electronic range select is put in L (Low), the transmission will not shift into lower gears until the vehicle is going slow enough.
1998 GMC Regular Cab Sierra (350)
2011 Equinox LTZ