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Well, most of the time, you would simply put the car in Drive and go. However, you can put the car into 1st, 2nd or 3rd.

Say you put the shifter into 3rd, the car will start in 1st or 2nd like normal and then shift through 3rd Gear, but it will never go higher than third.

If you put the shifter into 1st, the car will not shift out of 1st.

This can be useful if you are travelling up steep inclines or pulling a trailer and do not wish to shift up until higher RPM's.

Some people will start in 1st off the line and then bump the shifter into 2nd and 3rd as appropriate. They even have special shifters for doing this quickly.
 
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