Tips for au­to­matic driv­ing

Lesotho Times - - Motoring -

JUST about ev­ery pas­sen­ger car sold nowa­days is fit­ted with an au­to­matic trans­mis­sion. Nine out of ten new-car buy­ers pre­fer au­to­matic, but many are un­aware of the dam­age in­cor­rect use of this ex­pen­sive com­po­nent can cause.

The au­to­matic trans­mis­sion might have come a long way in the past six decades, but it’s far from bul­let­proof, and can be ex­pen­sive to re­place or re­pair.to help pre­vent trans­mis­sion fail­ure, we look at six things to avoid when driv­ing a car fit­ted with an au­to­matic trans­mis­sion.

Never se­lect Park in tran­sit Noth­ing can be more dam­ag­ing to a trans­mis­sion than se­lect­ing Park be­fore the ve­hi­cle has come to a com­plete stop. That’s what your brakes are for! Us­ing the trans­mis­sion’s park­ing pawl to ar­rest the weight of a mov­ing ve­hi­cle can cause it to shear from the mech­a­nism, re­sult­ing in the bro­ken frag­ment cir­cu­lat­ing through-out and caus­ing un­told dam­age to your car’s trans­mis­sion.

In­stead it’s rec­om­mended stop­ping the car com­pletely by us­ing the (foot) brakes, firmly set­ting the park brake (also known as the hand brake), se­lect­ing Park on your trans­mis­sion and then re­leas­ing the (foot) brakes when park­ing the car.

Don’t use Park as a park­ing brake Your car is fit­ted with a park brake (also known as the hand brake) for a rea­son. The park brake will stop the wheels (most of­ten the rear wheels) from turn­ing to pre­vent the car from rolling away.

Re­ly­ing on the trans­mis­sion’s park­ing pawl to do the job for you is lu­di­crous. Imag­ine the en­tire weight of a car rest­ing on a part the size of half of your lit­tle fin­ger when you could use two pow­er­ful brakes and your tyres to do the same job. Again, it’s rec­om­mended stop­ping the car com­pletely us­ing the (foot) brakes, firmly set­ting the park brake, se­lect­ing Park on your trans­mis­sion and then re­leas­ing the (foot) brakes when park­ing the car.

Stop be­fore chang­ing di­rec­tion Shift­ing from Drive to Re­verse or vicev­ersa should only ever been done when the ve­hi­cle has come to a com­plete stop. Use your (foot) brakes and stop the car en­tirely be­fore se­lect­ing an op­pos­ing ra­tio.

Re­ly­ing on the trans­mis­sion to do this in­stead dam­ages the trans­mis­sion’s bands and clutches which are sud­denly forced to stop and change di­rec­tion.

Th­ese parts can be very ex­pen­sive to re­place and equate to hours of labour in the ser­vice de­part­ment. In a worst-case sce­nario, you could seize the trans­mis­sion com­pletely, wholly dis­abling the car.

Feed the throt­tle on in Drive When mov­ing away from a stand­still, it’s best to get the car rolling first with light throt­tle pres­sure be­fore ap­ply­ing max­i­mum power.

Ap­ply­ing sud­den pres­sure to sta­tion­ary parts can dam­age them, as we noted above. By the same to­ken you should never rev the car in Neu­tral be­fore se­lect­ing Drive.

This can also dam­age the parts listed above, as well as the spline at­tach­ing the torque con­verter to the in­put shaft. If you re­ally need to get away quickly use the throt­tle and brake si­mul­ta­ne­ously then re­lease the brake for a faster start, or buy a car with Launch Con­trol. Don’t se­lect Neu­tral at the lights There’s ab­so­lutely no rea­son to se­lect Neu­tral at the lights. The torque con­verter will halt the drive of the en­gine to the trans­mis- sion for you, mean­ing you’re re­ally just wast­ing your time do­ing it man­u­ally.

The other rea­son to leave the car in Drive is that the pres­sure on the mov­ing parts we men­tioned ear­lier — and the force re­quired to ac­ti­vate the torque con­verter — is ac­tu­ally greater when you sud­denly se­lect Drive from Neu­tral than it is when sim­ply ac­cel­er­at­ing from rest with the trans­mis­sion al­ready in Drive. — Mo­tor­ing

There is ab­so­lutely no rea­son to se­lect Neu­tral at the traf­fic lights.

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