Tips for automatic driving
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.