Individuals associated with the automotive industry iterate that the automatic transmission is a great invention. Actually, an automatic car has opened up a whole new world for car owners.
Both professional and novice drivers love to drive a car fitted with automatic transmission. This is because it is straightforward and easy to drive an automatic vehicle than a car fitted with the manual-shift gearbox. Think about the bumper-to-bumper story we have in the cities! However, it is very important to drive a car with automatic transmission carefully because you could end up damaging your car. Some damages, if they happen, cannot be rectified even by expert mechanics. Therefore, it is best that you avoid the following mistakes when driving your automatic vehicle.
Credits: Team BHP
#1: Coasting downhill in neutral
You would save a little bit of fuel when you coast down a hill in neutral gear. However, it is very negligible. In modern automatic transmissions, fuel supply to the engine is automatically cut when you drive the vehicle down a hill. This is a design feature. So, you will not make additional savings by coasting downhill in neutral. Another reason as to why you should not coast downhill in the neutral gear is that it takes away some amount of control from you. Therefore, it is better to get rid of this habit as the fuel savings here is not significant.
#2: Revving engine prior to engaging gear
Never ever start the engine in the neutral gear position and then move the gear lever to the drive position to launch your vehicle. This can cause damages to the automatic transmission. The clutches and bands that work when changing modes may be worn out prematurely because of torque handling and slippage. The right way to shift to the drive mode is by applying the brake pedal after starting the engine and making sure that it is idling normally. Further, you should always use the button provided on the gear shift lever when changing the modes.
#3: Shifting gears mode before completely stopping vehicle
In an automatic transmission, bands and clutches are made use of to switch gears. They are all lined with friction material and they last a lifetime if they are used in the right way. Therefore, you should change gears only after completely stopping the car by applying the brake pedal. If you change the modes without stopping the car, the load will have to be taken by the linings on clutches and bands. Since they are not designed to handle such high loads, their life would be drastically reduced.
#4: Idling in neutral at red light
There is no need to shift to the neutral mode when waiting for the red signal to change to green. You can keep your car in drive mode. Contrary to your expectation, you will not be saving a significant amount of fuel. In fact, shifting gear back and forth causes more stress to the transmission. The gearbox of a stationary vehicle in Drive mode experiences less stress than a working transmission. This is because the impeller linked to the engine is constantly trying to turn the turbine for gaining speed. You may avoid some wear and tear when you shift to the neutral gear, but it is so low that it is not worth the trouble.
#5: Shifting gear lever to park mode while car is moving
The modern automatic systems will not allow you to do this because of the internal speed sensor mechanism provided. This may be possible in old designs, but you should avoid doing this. This is because it can break the park pawl. This, in turn, can damage the locking pin and the parking mechanism. If the pawl breaks, the metal pieces can cause serious damage to the automatic transmission system itself. Therefore, you must completely stop your car first by applying brakes and then shift the lever to the park mode.
Credits: WildCat Forums
#6: Using automatic transmission for slowing down
If you learned driving in a car fitted with a manual gearbox, you would have been told to come down to the lower gears when slowing down the vehicle to stop at the signal or going down a hill. You should not do this when driving a car with an automatic transmission because forcing downshifts at higher engine speed can cause excessive transmission wear, especially to the friction plates and bands. If you want to stop or reduce the speed of your automatic vehicle, just apply the brake. You don’t have to touch the gear shift lever at all.
#7: Forgetting to warm up car’s engine before driving off
You should warm up your car’s engine before driving off, especially during the winter season. This is because the oil thickens and moves very slowly in cold weather conditions. Taking some time to warm up the engine ensures that the lubricant reaches all parts of the transmission. If you shift the gear lever to the drive mode and start driving at a high speed right from start, it can result in severe internal damage.
You may find the tips to be simple and straightforward, but most of the drivers lack awareness on car mechanisms. Actually, it is easy to avoid these mistakes with a little bit of understanding. Now that you know and can put into practise, your automatic car will have an extended life. You will save a lot of money on unnecessary repairs and stay safe on the road. Happy motoring!
By Raisa Mathew