Have you been driving an automatic car and recognized the D3 gear and wondered what it was? In this article, we are going to look into what this gear is all about and when you can use it.
So, what exactly is this gear? In short, the D3 gear is used to keep your car in the 3rd gear and below. It will not go to higher gears allowing your vehicle to have more power.
Most automatic transmission vehicles have at least 4 gears. Others have as many as 8 gears. The lower gears give you more power and torque from the engine while the higher gears give you greater speeds once you start moving.
Can You Shift to D3 While Moving?
There has been a lot of debate on whether or not you can change from Drive to D3 while in motion. The argument is that it can hurt your transmission while others argue that it doesn’t affect the transmission in any way. Well, the recommendation is that you slow down your vehicle to around 18Mph before changing between the two. This allows the gears to engage smoothly while also helping to keep your transmission in top condition.
Common Uses of D3 Gear
As you know by now, lower gears give your vehicle greater power. This is great in those times when you are navigating inclines and descending.
Lower gears are also great for when you are in difficult terrain and for driving in snow. Lower gears will allow you to better control your car.
Do all Automatic Transmission Vehicles have a D3 Gear?
Not all automatic transmission vehicles have the D3 option. In fact, most only have the D option. Other gear options you can find on automatic vehicles include the following:
D2 – Same as D3 but only goes up to the second gear S – This is the sport option that gives the car sports performance. It’s a lower gear that allows you to navigate curves better.
L – This stands for low gears. It can be used in much the same way that you use D2 and D3 options S with +/- sign – If your vehicle has the S gear option plus a + and – sign on the stick shift, this means that your vehicle has the ability to operate in both automatic and manual.
To engage manual, move your stick to S which, in this case, stands for Standard. Once in that gear, you then use the + button to shift up and the – to shift down. This allows you to have greater control of your vehicle, especially in wet conditions.
Does D3 make your car faster?
No, D3 doesn’t make your car faster but generally feels like it because you just shifted from the 2nd gear to the 3rd which gives you a much high RPM when you compare it to the 4th gear which will give you a lower RPM as you drive.
When to Use D3 in your Car?
There are different circumstances that call for different gears to be engaged. If you are driving up or down a hill, for example, you will need to engage lower gears which gives you a lot more power and control.
It slows down the car while going up or coming down a hill. If you are on the highway though, you will use the higher gears which give you greater speeds as well as better fuel economy as they place less strain on the engine. As a matter of fact, moving at highway speeds as often as possible keeps your engine performing at peak levels.
This is because higher gears and speeds put less strain on the engine. The fuel pumping through faster also helps to lubricate and clean the fuel lines and engine. So, the D3 gear option can be used under different circumstances. These include the above-mentioned scenarios when you are going up or down a hill.
The other situation is when you are towing something. It allows your vehicle to produce more power which translates to greater towing ability.
If you are driving along winding roads, the D3 option also allows you to more easily navigate the curves. The Sport or S gear in some automatic transmission vehicles is arguably better for this particular situation. In other automatic vehicles, you will also find the L, as well as the above-mentioned S gear.
L stands for low gears meaning that when you engage it, your vehicle will only shift within the low gears. A great advantage of the lower gears when going downhill is that it protects the brake pads. When you use your breaks to control your car when going downhill, they can overhead lead to damage. Lower gears apply what is known as engine braking where you use the power of the engine to slow it down.
Conclusion on D3 meaning on a Car
I hope this article has given you a better understanding of what the D3 option is and how it relates to all the other gear options.
Robert Anderson is a world class motorhead who rebuilt his first carb at age 10, his first engine at age 15, and completed his first full hotrod build when he was just 18! Previously, he has ran a part warehouse, delivered pizzas, and managed the service department for a $20 million/year revenue dealership. Robert knows cars like few others and he is passionate about sharing his knowledge.