How to drive an automatic car? What you need to know


Automatic cars are rapidly coming in the vogue and people are buying them in large numbers. Even in locally-assembled cars, the ratio of automatic to manual cars has been rising for quite some time. Driving an automatic car is relatively easier than driving a manual car. All you have to do is to put the transmission in drive mode and the car is good to go. Compared to a manual car, an automatic car has only two paddles instead of three paddles. There is no clutch paddle right next to the brake paddle in an automatic car. In an automatic car, do not use your left foot and make use of your right foot only. People shifting from manual to automatic transmission find it difficult to not use their left foot. This problem usually goes away with time. 

Different functions or modes of an automatic transmission

There are usually four main functions in an automatic transmission gear shifter. These functions are Parking(P), Drive(D), Neutral(N) and Reverse(R). Whenever you have to park your car, put the transmission in the P mode. When you have to move the car from the P mode, press the brake paddle with your ride foot, disengage the parking brake and then put the transmission in your desired mode. 

The major difference between the neutral and parking modes is that in the parking mode the drive wheels get locked while they are free to move in the neutral mode. If you want to tow your car, you need to put the transmission in the N or neutral mode. If you want to drive the car, put it in the D mode and control the speed of your car with the help of the accelerator and the brake. In some cars, the D mode has some extra positions. These are 3, 2 and L and these can also vary from vehicle to vehicle. L mode is akin to the first gear and 3 and 2 modes of the drive mode are usually used in the hilly areas. In some cars, you can also see an S mode which is the sport mode and it improves the handling of the car. Another mode is the B mode which increases the engine drag and braking. The M mode is the manual mode which allows you to change gears. 

See the video below:

Useful tips to drive an automatic car 

  • If your car is not in parking or neutral mode, a car with an automatic transmission will not start as the transmission presumes that it is in a gear.
  • So if your car is not picking up the ignition, this means that you do not have the transmission in neutral or parking mode.
  • Moreover, when you are putting the transmission in neutral or parking mode, do not press on the accelerator as this puts undue pressure on the transmission which can break component parts.
  • If due to some malfunction, the gear lever is not moving, you can use the car’s keys or a sharp object like a screwdriver to press on the shift lock.
  • This will help in unlocking the gear shifter. Put the car in neutral mode and you can tow the car to the nearest workshop. 
  • The major parts of an automatic transmission consist of a torque converter, oil pump, gear set, clutch pads, and output shaft.
  • Make sure that when you are shifting between the D and R modes, the car is in a stationary position.
  • Do not put the car in neutral mode when traveling down the mountain as it frees the car and you lose most of the control of your car.
  • Moreover, do not put the car in the parking mode unless you are at a complete halt. 

Stay tuned for more informative content like this one. Also, drop your thoughts in the comments section below.  

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