what is the m on my gear shift


What is the M on My Gear Shift?

Ever find yourself asking the question “What is the ‘M’ on my gear shift?” if you’ve ever sat in the driver’s seat of an automatic transmission vehicle. There’s some helpful information about the ‘M’ that can help you understand why it’s there and what it means.

M is for Manual

The ‘M’ stands for ‘manual’. It gives you the option to manually shift the gears when you’re in an automatic transmission car. This means you can select the exact gear you want, when you want, rather than relying solely on the car’s computer. This feature allows you to customize your drive and take more control over your ride.

How to Use it:

If you’re new to driving a car with an ‘M’ option, here’s how to use it:

  • Start: You’ll need to start the car with the gear shift in park.
  • Select The Gear: Push the gear shift selector to the left until you reach the ‘M’ setting.
  • Shift To Gears: Use the gear shifts located on the side of the steering wheel to move the car into the gear you want.
  • Accelerate: You can now accelerate as you normally would.

Other Functionality

In addition to manual shifting, the ‘M’ on your gear shift can often be used as a toggle button to switch between different functions, such as the traction control system and cruise control. This can be very helpful in certain driving situations, such as snowy or icy roads.

When Not to Use the Manual Setting

The manual setting should not be used when driving on a highway. When driving on a highway, the car’s computer is better able to optimize gear changes for maximum fuel efficiency and speed. Additionally, the manual setting should not be used when driving in hilly or mountainous areas, as the higher gears can cause the car to overheat.


Knowing what the ‘M’ on your gear shift means is an important part of driving an automatic transmission car. By understanding how to use the ‘M’ and when it should be used, you’ll be able to optimize your driving experience and keep your car running smoothly.