Can you Drive your Car in 3rd Gear?

Driving a car in 3rd gear

Yes, you can drive your car in 3rd gear, especially when driving up or down steep hills. Whether your car is a manual or an automatic, you’re going to need to use the full range of your car’s transmission.


What is the 3rd gear in your car used for?

The 3rd gear in your car is used for increasing your car’s speed beyond what the 2nd gear can be used for. This applies whether your car is a car with a manual transmission or an automatic transmission.

  • 1st gear starts the car because it’s the most powerful gear.
  • 2nd gear is less powerful than the 1st gear and is usually used to increase your speed from what the 1st gear is capable of.
  • 3rd gear is used to increase your speed further than the 2nd gear.

In manual cars, you have to manually change gears yourself. In automatic cars, the car changes gears automatically at certain speeds.

However, in certain situations, you may need to be in 3rd gear specifically. In that case, D3 is used in cars with automatic transmissions. D3 locks your car into 3rd gear and below.


Is it bad to drive in 3rd gear?

No, it’s not bad to drive your car in 3rd gear. 3rd gear is used when driving at certain speeds and driving up hills.

You must know what the 3rd gear is used for in order to drive your car properly. This is especially true if you’re using a car with a manual transmission.

Memorize the speeds that your car needs to shift between gears in your transmission. It’s generally the same between cars but it DOES vary from car to car.

Using the wrong gear while driving will lead to literal gear grinding in your transmission. This will damage your car.

When should you drive in 3rd gear?

You should drive in D3 when your car is going up or down inclines such as hills and mountains.

The 3rd gear’s used when you’re turning at gentle curves and when you’re going on hills or mountains. This means both going uphill or downhill hills and mountains.

Also, the speed where 3rd gear is used is usually the sweet spot between speed and fuel efficiency in most cars. So you should use 3rd gear when you aren’t in a hurry and want to save gas.

Note: You can NOT use the 3rd gear to start your car because it doesn’t have enough power. Trying to do this won’t work and will damage your car.


Should I drive in D or D3?

You should drive your car in D3 while going up or down steep surfaces like hills and mountains.

D3 in a car with an automatic transmission makes your car only use the 1st, 2nd and 3rd gear. It does NOT put your car into overdrive and make your car go extremely fast. This is a common enough misconception.

Being on D3 limits your automatic car to only its 1st, 2nd and 3rd gears. D3 locks your car into its more powerful gears which increases your car’s revs which is necessary when going on inclines.

If you’re towing another car or any extra load with your car like a camper, you should use D3. This is because being locked into your car’s more powerful gears will help move the extra load being put on your car.

For normal driving on highways and regular roads, using D is better. This is because D lets you use the full range of gears in your car’s transmission. D helps with pickup and fuel consumption.

Note: D3 has slightly higher fuel consumption because of higher rates of engine revving. This applies even if your car isn’t carrying any extra load when using D3.


Can you shift from D3 to D while driving?

Yes, most cars allow the driver to shift from D3 to D while driving.

Consult your car’s official manual to check if your car can or not! If you don’t have your car’s official manual, a Google search or a trip to your mechanic for a question will usually clear up any confusion.

A common driving situation where you may need to switch from D3 to D is when you change from driving on a hill to driving on a regular road.


Does driving in 3rd gear save gas?

In cars with manual transmissions, driving in 3rd gear does save gas. This is because driving in 3rd gear means you’re going at a set speed at all times and you’re never driving too fast.

For most cars, 3rd gear speed (12mph to 31mph) is the most fuel efficient.

In cars with automatic transmissions, using D3 does not help save gas. This is because your car is locked into 3rd gear and below. Being locked out of your higher gears will increase your engines revving which leads to more fuel consumption.


Does D3 make your car faster?

No, D3 does not make your car faster. D3 just locks your car into 3rd gear and below.

In fact, using D3 and being locked into your lower gears will affect your car’s pickup which means your car will go faster at a slower pace than if you were using D. This means your car will go slower.

D3 doesn’t increase your speed but it’s useful for driving on hills and mountains. D3 is also useful when you use your car to tow other cars.

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