Technological advancement has blessed this generation with automatic transmission engines, which have extensively revolutionized everything motor. The controls are more straightforward to navigate, so you only need basic driving skills to avoid mistakes when driving an automatic transmission car, and you are good to go.
That is why many beginners or new drivers confused by the manual car clutch system are eager to drive an automatic car. But — not so fast. With the ease of driving an auto car comes a new set of bad habits you must avoid. As a car owner, you would want to extend your car’s life by practising as many good habits as possible.
While it is easy to drive automatic transmission cars, it is more expensive to repair them than their manual counterparts. Hence apply proven good habits and a generous dose of common sense.
Below are the seven habits to avoid if you want to prevent frequent mistakes when driving an automatic transmission car:
1. Neutral Position When Sliding Down a Slope
An average New York driver would tell you that he saves much gas when he puts his car in a neutral position when sliding downhill or down a slope. The car is partly on its own; this is when some undisciplined driver might want to check new notifications on his Smartphone.
First, putting your car in a neutral position while sliding downhill is dangerous. The fact that you are not in full control means that you cannot save the situation fast enough should a potential hazard show up. You cannot speed up your car when it is in a neutral position; you can only slow it, so you won’t save an emergency that requires accelerating.
Secondly, the neutral position harms your car transmission because a neutral position blocks the oil supply, and slows the smooth transmission process due to a lack of proper lubrication.
The wear and tear that follows would damage your car. The repair cost is worth more than the fuel you aim to save.
2. Engaging the Neutral Gear While Waiting for the Green Light
This is yet another habit meant to save fuel. It is a downright misconception when it comes to automatic cars. But even if it helps save energy, what is saved is nothing compared to the damage to the car.
Keeping your car in neutral gear while stuck in the traffic only wears out its transmission. The damage happens when you keep switching into and out of the neutral gear.
Instead, you should keep the engine on (Drive-mode), with a foot on the brake as you wait for the green light. Again, you are not in full control of the car when you engage the neutral gear, so you may be unable to maneuver fast enough.
3. Shifting to Parking Mode While the Car is Moving
The parking mode is not for stopping your car; it is meant to prevent your vehicle from rolling away after parking. Fortunately, some auto cars won’t let you use parking mode to stop them.
Shifting to parking mode with the car still moving can break the locking pin that prevents your car from rolling once you have parked. The locking pin keeps the transmission from running only after the car stops.
With the car still on the move and the locking pin attempting to stop the wheels, the locking pin can break.
So next time you finally sight a parking lot in the congested New York City, do not dash to it while shifting to parking mode.
4. Revving Your Car
This goes to those who just bought a brand-new auto car and are excited about it. Each time they take the seat and are about to hit the road, they rev the car engine in neutral and then shift to drive.
This puts too much strain on the car, wearing out the transmission bands. Soon, the automatic gearbox is broken. Replacing it is costly, mind you. Instead of revving your engine, put the gearbox in drive mode, then drive away — no need to complicate simple things.
5. Starving the Fuel Tank
An auto car relies much on fluid pressure to operate correctly. The fuel also lubricates and cools the car’s engine. If you always keep your fuel tank low, car parts will wear out much faster.
Thus, it is best to keep your fuel tank at least ¼ full most of the time if you drive an automatic transmission car.
6. Shifting From Drive To Reverse Before The Car Stops
Firstly, this is dangerous; you endanger the lives of other road users and even yours. Consider what your carelessness may lead to, whether in a hurry or just excited.
Secondly, shifting gears as you drive means using transmissions instead of brakes to stop your car. You turn it into a habit; your automatic vehicle’s transmission band soon wears out. Replacing the transmission band is difficult and is understandably costly and time-consuming. Therefore you should always stop the car completely before changing the gear.
7. Letting Water into the Transmission
Did you know that as little as a drop of water can make you replace the transmission system? It would help if you were very careful with any form of liquid.
What wears out an automatic transmission?
The primary culprit behind the wear and tear of automatic transmissions is friction, the same force that causes brake deterioration. Various components within the automatic transmission system, such as clutch plates, bands, bushings, bearings, sealing rings, thrust washers, and other metallic parts, are subjected to friction, leading to their gradual deterioration.
What usually fails in an automatic transmission?
Common failures in automatic transmissions can vary depending on the vehicle’s specific circumstances and maintenance history. However, some typical issues that can occur in automatic transmissions include:
Transmission Fluid Leaks: Sometimes, the seals and gaskets in the transmission can wear out over time, leading to fluid leaks. If the fluid level drops too low, it can cause problems with the transmission’s performance and even damage it.
Transmission Slippage: This happens when the transmission fails to deliver consistent power to the wheels, resulting in a loss of acceleration or jerky gear shifts. It can occur due to issues like worn-out clutches or other internal components.
Overheating: Automatic transmissions can overheat due to towing heavy loads, a lack of proper cooling, or low fluid levels. High temperatures can cause damage to the transmission and its components.
Torque Converter Problems: The torque converter transfers power from the engine to the transmission. Issues like worn-out clutches or problems with the lock-up mechanism can affect the converter’s performance.
Solenoid Failures: Solenoids are small electrical components that control the flow of transmission fluid, allowing the gears to shift smoothly. When solenoids malfunction, it can result in gear-shifting problems or even complete transmission failure.
What is the most common failure in automatic transmission?
To wrap it up, we urge you to completely stop these habits, whether you have been practicing them out of ignorance or with full knowledge of their repercussions. An automatic transmission car is expensive, so common sense dictates that it should be handled well.
We have to point out that as a driver, you may not be an expert in car mechanisms. No average driver is. That is why some of these bad habits may have taken you aback.
There is still much to learn. Keep a tab on Pierre Paul Driving School for more surprises.