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Some common types of gear selection levers. On the left is a typical gear lever for a four-speed manually operated gearbox. On the right is its five-speed counterpart. The central stick is typical of any automatics, and the letters indicate parking lock (P), which locks the transmission when the car is stationary (a useful adjunct to the handbrake); reverse (R); neutral (N) - note that you must usually select P or N in order to allow the engine to be started; forward drive (D) - this can be selected and left alone for most purposes; and low gears (1 or 2), which are for holding the car in that particular gear.

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