Home > Tips & Tricks > FAQ What is P N R D meaning and S / C/ W mode

FAQ What is P N R D meaning and S / C/ W mode

P N R D Meaning

P or also referred to as the Park position, is used when the vehicle is parked. Only move the shifter to P when the vehicle is completely stopped. If you try to move the shifter to P while the car moves, you may hear loud noises from the transmission area. After placing the transmission in P, place the parking brakes.

N stands for Neutral. When in a Neutral position, no power is transmitted to the wheels. If you want to push the car or load it up on a tow truck, move the selector to N. Do not move the level to N if the vehicle is in motion.

R stands for Reverse. Place the gear on R to back up when the car is fully stopped.

D stands for Drive. Before you select the D position, always press the brake pedal first. When in the D position, the transmission is engaged, and you are ready to drive.

S / C / W Meaning

S stands for Sport. You should use S mode for regular driving.

C stands for Comfort. When the C mode is selected, the following happens:

  • Automatic transmission starts in second gear when you take off. This helps in icy or snowy conditions. Unless you manually select the 1st gear position by pressing the gas pedal and activating the kick switch, the car will always start on second gear when in C mode.
  • Transmission shifts to the higher gear earlier than in S mode. You will notice the car shift to the higher gear at lower RPM.
  • When placed in R (reverse/backup) and transmission is in C or W mode; the power transmission ratio is also affected.

These settings are designed to help in slippery road conditions. It would be best if you did not always drive with the selector on C or W mode.

W stands for Winter mode. It operated similarly to the C mode and was used instead of the letter C  in earlier Mercedes-Benz cars.

M stands for Manual mode. Set the shifter to M if you would like to change gears manually. You should see the letter M on the instrument cluster display when the transmission is placed on manual mode.

Downshift / Upshifting

If you want to force the automatic transmission to a lower gear, press the gear selector toward the D- and the transmission will downshift.

Upshift (D+)

If you want to shift to the next higher gear while driving, you can slightly tap the gear selector towards the D+ symbol, and the transmission will upshift.

Adaptive Automatic Transmission Shifting

The way you drive your Mercedes-Benz is monitored by the vehicle and is used to influence the transmission shifting points. You can also affect the transmission to make it shift earlier or later by either switching the transmission to manual mode or if in automatic mode; you can:

  • Applying less pressure on the gas pedal will cause the transmission to shift earlier ( at lower RPMs).
  • Applying more pressure to the gas pedal, flooring it, or pressing it all the way will activate the kick-down switch, and the car will stay longer in gear and upshift later.

How to activate the Kickdown Switch?

You can activate the kick-down switch by pressing the gas pedal all the way to the floor.

The kick-down switch can be used if you are trying to accelerate. It will force the transmission into a lower gear for higher torque output and faster acceleration.

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Common Problems

The selected gear is not shown in the cluster. No P N R D indicator

The most likely cause that the gear is not being displayed on the instrument cluster dashboard is a defective shifter module. If the indicator P N R D is hard to see or pixels are missing, it typically is a cluster issue.

What do W and S buttons mean, shifter?

W stands for Winter Mode, and S stands for Sport/Standard.

In Winter mode, the transmission starts in 2nd gear. Shift points are also lowered in Winter mode, so less torque goes to the wheel, making it less likely that the car will slip in icy conditions.

Transmission Emergency Operation / Limp Mode

When transmission goes into Emergency/Limp mode, it will get stuck in second gear and no longer upshift or downshift. It means there is a malfunction with the transmission; therefore, carefully drive the car home. Speed is limited to 30 mph. Read this DIY Transmission Troubleshooting Tips article if your car goes into Emergency Limp Mode.

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