what is m on gear shift


What is M on Gear Shift?

Most cars don’t have a gear shift knob to choose the gear, rather they have a gear shifter. To select the right gear, you’re required to press the shifter in different directions. Symbols or letters like P, R, N, and D, or 1, 2, 3, and so on, are often embossed on the gear shifter. One such symbol is M.

What Does “M” Stand for in Car Shifting?

M stands for manual mode. It is an option where you can manually control the gear shifts in an automatic transmission car. This mode lets you choose exactly when a gear shift will occur within an acceptable range.

How Does Manual Mode Work?

In manual mode, the transmission will not automatically shift gears when the vehicle reaches maximum RPMs. Instead, you will be notified when the car is in the ideal RPMs range and you can choose to shift. You can also choose to skip to a higher gear if the engine requires it. This is useful for drivers who like to have more control over the gear shifting process.

Benefits of Manual Mode

Using M for manual mode offers the following benefits:

  • Smoother Gear Shifts: By choosing when to shift gears, you get smoother transitions between gears.
  • Greater Control: Manual mode provides you with greater control over how the car behaves, allowing you to shift when you choose.
  • Fuel Efficiency: This mode can allow you to downshift sooner, keeping your engine in the ideal RPM range and saving fuel.
  • Performance: The manual mode allows the driver to fine-tune their shifts for improved performance.

Drawbacks of Manual Mode

Using manual mode can be challenging at times, and it requires more skill to operate an automatic transmission with this mode. In addition, some modern cars may struggle to keep the engine in the right RPM range if it’s manually shifted too often.


So if you’re looking for more precise control over your automatic transmission’s gear shifts, then the manual mode (M) is a great option. It can provide smoother shifts, greater control, improved fuel efficiency, and enhanced performance. However, it is important to understand the drawbacks and use it with care.