Where is Neutral Gear in a Car?

Where is Neutral Gear in a Car?

On a car’s manual gear stick, neutral is the centre-horizontal line that extends between the lowest gear (1st) and highest gears. While in neutral, if a gear stick is left untouched, it will naturally sit between 3rd and 4th gear.

What is Neutral Gear in a Car?

Neutral means that no gear has been engaged (out of gear). In simple terms, if a car is in gear, a complete connection is made between the engine, gearbox and wheels allowing the engine to drive the road wheels.

If neutral is selected, it means that no gear is in use essentially creating a break between the engine and drive wheels. In neutral, the engine will rev, but no power will be sent to the drive wheels.

What is Neutral Gear Used For?

  • You would select neutral in a manual car when you park up and switch off the engine. Leaving it in gear and forgetting to depress the clutch down when starting causes issues. It can however be safer to leave a manual car in gear when parked on a slope.
  • If you’re in a manual car and stuck in a queue of traffic that isn’t moving much, selecting neutral and applying the parking brake means you can take your feet off the pedals – ideal if you have aching legs.
  • If your car has broken down and needs to be towed, you will need to ensure no gear is selected, else the wheels wont move. For both manual and automatics, you will need to select neutral.
  • If your car needs to be physically pushed, you will need to select neutral.

How to Find Neutral Gear

When practicing gear changes, always ensure the car engine is off and the vehicle is secured by the parking brake. To find neutral, fully depress the clutch pedal and on the gear stick, find the gap halfway between 3rd and 4th gear.

When in neutral, the gear stick will sweep all the way to the left (over to 1st gear) and all the way to the right (over to 5th, or on some cars, 6th gear). Compare this to when a gear has been selected and there will be very little left and right movement in the gear stick. When you’ve finished practicing, leave the gear stick in neutral.


When the gear stick is in neutral it has a spring type action and when left untouched, the gear stick always sits in the middle, directly between 3rd and 4th gear. This is important to remember for later as it makes changing into 3rd and 4th gear easy.

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