What Does S Mean on a Car? (Automatic Transmission Guide)

Cars with manual transmission are very simple because manual cars don’t have driving modes. On the other hand, cars with automatic transmission have so many drive modes. S mode is also a driving mode of an automatic transmission. So, many people want to know, what does s mean on a car? Let’s talk about it!

What Does S Mean on a Car?

Most people think s stands for “speed” in a car. But it is not true, S means “Sport” in a car. All cars don’t have s mode, it usually comes only in high-end automatic cars or in a sports variant of a car. Most people say that they feel lag in an automatic car. So, car companies add this s mode for those people, who want quick acceleration in an automatic car.

Basically, car companies tune their car’s engine to perform better in s mode. we all know that automatic transmission has a specific algorithm that decides when to shift the gear of a car. It decides the shifting of car gear on the speed and rpm of the car. So, in s mode, car companies change the car gear shifting algorithm, which ultimately gives quick acceleration.

Just because of quick acceleration, most young people love to drive their automatic car in s mode. We suggest you avoid using s mode in traffic areas, use it on highways. Or you can use it when you are doing racing with your friend. But do it with proper precautions.

Also Read: What Does L Mean on a Car? (Automatic Gear Shifts)

Automatic Transmission Modes:

Now, let’s talk about some other modes that we get in automatic gear shifting. Below you guys can see the list of all common modes.

  • Neutral Mode (N)
  • Drive Mode (D)
  • Parking Mode (P)
  • Reverse Mode (R)
  • + Mode
  • – Mode

Now let’s about these driving modes one by one.

What Does N Mean on a Car?

N stands for “Neutral” in an automatic car. As its name itself tells its meaning. It is used to shift the car into no gear mode (0 gear). As we all know, automatic cars don’t have a clutch. So, whenever somebody wants to stop at a specific place then that person has to hold the brake paddle. But it is very annoying.

Car companies made this neutral mode specifically for this. So, whenever you want to stop your car at a specific place then don’t hold the brake paddle, just put your car in neutral mode. It is very useful in traffic signals.

What Does D Mean on a Car?

D stands for “driving” in an automatic car. It is the most important mode of automatic transmission. Basically, it is that mode that changes your car gears. It shifts your car into 1st gear, 1st to 2nd gear, 2nd to 3rd gear, so on. Car companies make specific algorithms for this driving mode.

Every car has its own algorithm for a shift of gear. It also depends on the technology of an automatic transmission. For example. Suzuki has an automatic gear shifting (AGS), which uses its own algorithm. Like that, Continuous variable transmission (CVT), and Dual-clutch Transmission (DCT) have different algorithms for a shift of gear.

What Does P Mean on a Car?

P stands for “Parking” in an automatic car. But it works the same as n mode, it shifts the car in no gear (0 gear). Now, you might be thinking, why do cars companies had made 2 modes for the same thing. The answer is, when you put your automatic car in P mode, it shifts the car in no gear but it also applies a brake on a car. If your car is in P mode, you can’t push your car, but if your car is in N mode, you can push your car. The fun fact is, you can’t switch off your car without putting it in P mode.

What Does R Mean on a Car?

Some people think R means racing in a car but R stands for “Reverse” in a car. It does the same that it does in a manual car. It uses to reverse the car. It is the only driving mode that comes in both manual and automatic cars.

What Does + Mean on a Car?

+ stands for “pulse” in a car. It uses to shift the car gear upward manually. Car companies make this driving mode for those people who want manual car feeling in an automatic car. This driving mode usually comes on expensive cars.

What Does – Mean on a Car?

– stands for “minus” in a car. It uses to shift the car gear downward manually. Many people use it during racing because using this driving mode they can shift their car in a lower gear, whenever they want. Like L mode, it is also not a common driving mode in an automatic car.


We hope, after reading our well-written and well-researched article, you don’t have any confusion in automatic transmission modes. We thoroughly told you What Does S Mean on a Car. If you think this article helped you to understand auto gear shifting modes, please share it with your friends!

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