What Does S Mean On A Car (Detailed Explanation)

If you have an automatic car, you may have seen the “S” symbol on your gear transmission and might have wondered “what does S mean on a car?”

Automatic cars mostly have only 4 gears. These are:

  • N means “natural”.
  • D stands for “drive”.
  • R stands for “reverse”.
  • P on the gear shifter means park”.

Nowadays, automatic cars are being manufactured with an additional gear called the “S” gear. It is meant to use when you want to drive in a sporty fashion and speed.

Let’s look at these in detail so you don’t have any confusion regarding the letters and their meaning on the gear transmission box.

What Does S Mean On A Car

What Does S Mean On Car Gear

Most Automatic cars have only one driving gear and that is denoted by the letter “D” on the gear shifter. In some cars, there is also the letter “S”, which means that you’ll drive in a sporty mode.

When you are driving in “D” mode, the car changes gear quickly to keep your fuel usage economical and low, saving you fuel in the long term.

When you drive in “S” mode, however, your car will give you more acceleration and speed by increasing the RPM.

What it means is that the car will not change gears quickly, it’ll instead let you push the car to its’ limits and once the best point to shift gears is reached, the car will change gear to give you more speed and boost.

You can use the “S” driving mode on the car when you feel like speeding a bit and want to drive in a fun manner. Keep in mind the speed limit of your area so you don’t cross it while distracted by the awesome revving of your engine.

To explain even further, here’s a simple example. On manual cars, if you want to pick speed quickly and gain maximum speed, you’ll not shift gears earlier. 

You’ll drive in the first gear, let the car rev and struggle a bit, and once you feel it can’t go any further, you’ll then change the gears.

In automatic cars, however, there is only the “D” mode which changes gears as soon as possible to avoid more fuel consumption.

The “S” gear gives you the feel of speeding and maximizes the performance of your car so you don’t feel bad about automatic cars.

Note that “S” mode might not be available on all automatic cars.

What Does D Mean On Car Gear?

What Does D Mean On Car Gear

In contrast to the S gear transmission, there is also a “D” gear on a car. This is the first gear that automatic cars first rolled out with.

The D gears simply mean “drive”. All you have to do is start the ignition and put your car in “D” gear and your car will simply move and drive.

You don’t have to worry about using the clutch and can put all of your attention on driving. This is one of the main reasons new drivers find automatic cars easier to drive.

Driving a car in D mode doesn’t give you much speed. It doesn’t mean that the car will not drive fast, it simply means that while you will reach top speed, it’ll take you time as the car will shift gears internally in an economic fashion to save you fuel.

The “D” driving gear on a car is best for normal day usage and you’ll save a lot of fuel in the process, there is no doubt about that but what about if you want to change gears to maximize acceleration and speed?

If you were using manual transmission, you’ll simply have to keep the car in each gear for longer before shifting up a gear to maximize speed but you can’t do this in automatic cars’ “D” gear. An automatic car has automatic transmission, giving you less control over the shifting of gears.

In such a scenario, you can use the “S” driving mode. While the car still remains in an automatic transmission, it’ll intelligently shift gears in a manner to give you more speed and acceleration.

So just keep your hands on the steering wheel without worrying about the clutch and enjoy the ride.

What Does P Mean On Car Gear?

What Does P Mean On Car Gear

If you have an automatic car, you might have also noticed the letter “P” on the gear transmission. The “P” gear simply means that the car is in a parking state. The engine will lock itself so your car doesn’t move forward or backward.

Just imagine being on a vacation on some hill and you get out of your car to take an amazing picture. If you’re on a hill or something with a downward slope, your car will go down the road racing.

That’s why to avoid any such funny accidents, the “P” gear in automatic transmission puts your car in place and doesn’t let it move forward or backward.

Please make sure you always put your automatic car in P gear when parking it.

What Does N Mean On Car Gear?

Automatic cars also have a gear mode called “N”. The “N” stands for “neutral”, meaning that your car is in a neutral state and that it is not driving.

Cars don’t give proper fuel and other readings without the ignition being turned on, therefore the neutral mode is used for this purpose.

“N” gear is also useful if you’re having your car moved by something else, for example, a tow truck. If a tow truck is moving, simply put the car in N gear and it’ll be able to move freely.

What Does B Mean On Car Gear?

Not all automatic cars have the “B” gear. In automatic cars, “B” gear stands for engine brake or brake mode. This driving mode in automatic cars is very useful and must be used when you are driving in hilly areas.

This mode keeps your car’s road tires in around the 2nd gear so you have power in the engine and it avoids your car from going backward when driving up a hill. It enables engine braking to keep you falling down.

Have you ever driven uphill in a manual car and have had to stop the car because of traffic or some other reason. In these cases, We guarantee that you kept the car in first or second gear settings and kept your foot on the pedal along with the clutch so your car doesn’t start sliding back down.

The “B” driving mode was made for scenarios exactly like the one we just described. If you are in “B” mode and going up a hill, try pausing for a second and you’ll notice that your car will stay in place.

The same is true for going down a hill. If you want to increase engine drag or engine power, use this mode gear selector lever.

What Does R Mean On Car Gear?

What Does R Mean On Car Gear

You will find this in every automatic car ad manual car. “R” stands for reverse in cars. It doesn’t matter if you’re driving an automatic car or manual car, you have to reverse it sometimes when making your way out of the street.

The car driver is able to its car drive backward. As you shift your gear from N to R, the automatic transmission reverse gear is enabled. It spins your drive shaft in backward motion allowing the driver to drive backward.

What Are The Difference Between S And D On Car?

Now that we’ve discussed the meaning and usage of each of the car gears on automatic cars, let’s find out what is the difference between the “S” and “D” gears on a car.

The “D” gear is used to get your car moving. In most automatic cars, this is the only driving gear you will find. “D” gear of automatic cars shifts into new gears internally in a fuel-economical manner.

Therefore, the “D” gear mode is great for daily use and saving fuel in the long run.

However, some people who shift to automatic cars from manual cars miss the control over the gear shifting process they once had. Some people want to drive in a fast manner and rev their engine more but this is not possible in the “D” gear of automatic cars.

Enter “S” gear of automatic cars. The “S” gear is made specifically to drive your car in a sporty and fast fashion. When you are in “S” mode, your car will not change gears quickly, instead, it’ll let your engine burn a little bit to get the maximum acceleration which results in reaching top speed a lot quicker if you were to do the same in the “D” driving mode.

Don’t worry as “S” gear mode doesn’t do any internal or non-structural damage to your car. It has been tested and is safe to drive in. Please keep in mind the speed limits of your area because we know that driving in the “S” mode can be so fun.

FAQs – What Does S Mean On A Car?

Following are some of the questions that most people ask regarding automatic cars and their gear shifters.

What Is The Difference Between Automatic And Manual Cars?

Automatic cars have two pedals, one is used for acceleration while the second is used for the brake. Automatic cars have torque convertors to change gears while driving. In short, it has automatic gear. You just have to keep hitting the gas pedal.

Manual cars use the clutch to change the gears while driving. You have to keep everything in mind like engine torque, gear selector button, etc. 

You also have to know on which gear you are right now like 1st gear, 2nd gear, 3rd gear, 4th gear, etc.

When To Use S Gear On The Car?

If you need to experience sporty driving and want to surpass everyone on road by focusing on speed and acceleration only, then you should use S gear on the car.

Keep in mind that while driving in S gear, your car gear transmission won’t use fuel economically because you are passing signals to your cars to drive as fast you can. Some of the automatic cars do not have S gear mode in them.

When To Use B Gear On The Car?

B gear on the car is used for the engine brake. It is installed in automatic cars but not in every automatic car. The purpose of this gear is to use engine brakes while driving.

You will find the B gear experience if you are driving in hills because it will make you stick on the road without moving backward. It gives you additional engine torque.

How Many Drive Mode Car Usually Have?

Cars usually have only one drive mode which is ‘D’. D is also known as drive mode is used to drive your car. You don’t have to shift the gears, you don’t have to worry about your fuel consumption. Drive mode is observing all the matters for you. 

Do Car Runs Slow In “D” Mode?

No, while driving in D mode, which is drive mode, it doesn’t mean that you can run faster. The gear transmission system will know its limit and changes the gear when you hit that speed limit. For example, you are driving your car from 80 KM/H to 120 or 140 KM/H, it will go at that speed.

When To Use P Gear On Car?

The P gear on the car is used for parking. P Gear locks your engine and your car cannot move backward or forward. You don’t have to stick something between the brake pedal. Always put your car in P gear while parking.

Do Sports Modes Exist In Every Automatic Car?

No, it is not necessary that every automatic transmission cars have sports mode. The automatic gearbox of every car doe does not have this feature. There are many factors in it like the difference in the body of cars or difference in the wear of cars etc.

What Are Written Mostly On Gearbox?

The most common letters written on the gearbox are P, N, D, R. The combination of letters of L and B are not common letters.

Can You Manually Shift The Gears In An Automatic Transmission?

A paddle shifter is used to allow the driver to manually “gear shift” an automatic car. It is installed in the steering wheel and you don’t have to put your hand in the gear lever.

What is Engine Control Unit?

The engine control unit is used to optimize your car’s engine. It’s trim levels, throttle response, conventional transmission, maximum speed rating, etc. You can check your performance options through ECM.

Conclusion – What Does S Mean On A Car

We have seen what does S means on car gear. S means a sporty mode in your car. If you want to drive your car fast then you use this mode.

What does your car do in S gear mode, it will reach its every gear limit by generating more torque, acceleration, and RPM. The car’s gear will change when it reaches the highest speed. This practice is not suitable if you want to drive your car at an economical speed.

If you want to experience fast driving, then you can use this mode. We have seen other modes in cars. P mode is used for parking purposes. If you want to park your car somewhere, you use P mode on a car gear. It will lock your engine to move forward or backward.

You can use B mode on a car gear for driving uphill. It limits your car from moving backward because it drives your car only on 1st and 2nd gear generating more control and power. You can increase engine power.

R mode on car gear is used to drive your car backward. R gear turned your driver’s shaft backward.

If you want to drive your car at normal speed consume fuel economically, use D gear mode in a car. If you want to drive your car at a higher RPM without taking care of fuel consumption, use S gear mode.

It is recommended to use D gear mode while driving in a town or city and keep in mind the speed limitation. If you are driving on a highway or motorway, you can use S gear mode for experiencing it. But always drive at a speed limitation to keep yourself safe from accidents.

Tell us how well you find this article in a comment section. Check out our other articles “How Do You Know When Boiled Eggs Are Done?“, “Is Yoplait Yogurt Healthy?“, and “Is Smartwater Good For You?“. 

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