Automatic transmission knob and settings
Tech & Auto
Manual Mode: How It Really Works In An Automatic Car
Although manual transmissions have become rarer, some automatics allow you to turn your car into a stick shift by switching to Manual or Sport mode.
Many automatic shifters feature a pair of plus and minus signs, usually near the D or N settings and perhaps accompanied by an M or S symbol.
The M stands for Manual, while the S stands for Sport mode, but their function is similar. When switching into either mode, the car becomes a full manual transmission.
Once you’re in the Manual or Sport mode, rather than manually selecting which gear to shift into, tilting the stick toward the plus or minus symbols will change your car’s gear.
However, these modes aren’t the same as a traditional manual setup. Unlike a manual, shifting into a higher gear in these modes doesn’t force the car to use that gear exclusively.
Using Manual or Sport mode can also mess with your car’s established parameters, such as using more gas while in higher gears compared to automatic drive.