If you prefer or own an automatic, here are 5 tips that you should be aware of while driving on the road.
Engage P only when you’ve come to a complete stop
When driving an automatic, always remember that you should engage the gear stick to P (Park) only when your vehicle comes to a complete stop. The reason for this is that, when you engage the gear stick to P while the vehicle is still in motion, the locking pin could be damaged. The locking pin is a component that locks up the automatic transmission. It essentially stops the transmission from rotating which prevents the vehicle from moving forward or backward.
Moreover, it’s not advisable to place the gear stick to P at a stop light for safety reasons. Look at it this way, if the light turns green, shifting the lever from P to D (Drive) requires effort. You have to go through R (reverse) and N (Neutral) before you can place the gear stick to D. You might also accidentally engage the gear lever to either R or N when shifting from P to D.
Neutral at stop lights
Some experts say that you should never put your car in neutral at a stop light because this can wear out the transmission. They may have a point but, the way we see it, it’s best if you keep the gear in D while your at a stop light. Why? Because you might forget that the gear is in N when the light turns green. As a result, you’ll end up revving the engine to no avail, costing you more fuel.
Do not change gears while the vehicle is moving
Some drivers who are parking their vehicle tend to change gears even while the vehicle is still in motion. Switching gears while the vehicle is moving is a habit that you should break because this can damage the vehicle’s transmission. If you want to shift from D to R or vice versa, you should wait for the vehicle to stop moving before doing so.
Never coast in neutral
They say that coasting in neutral can help you save fuel. While that may be correct, coasting in neutral is something that you should not do. The reason for this is that you’re not in full control of the vehicle. Same with driving a manual, you can react faster and safer if your gear stick is in D. On the other hand, modern automatic engines are designed to be fuel efficient even if the gear is in D.
Stop doing launches
In a nutshell, ‘launching’ is accelerating a vehicle from standstill, similar to drag racing. This works by revving your engine while the gear is in N and dropping it into D to launch the vehicle forward. While this may amuse your friends, launching an automatic car is not a good thing because this will wear out the bands in your transmission.
Driving an automatic may be straightforward but you should also be aware of how you drive. We hope that the points mentioned in this article would help you become a better and safer driver.