There are some things that we find ourselves doing while driving which we think are beneficial in, for example, saving on fuel. However, the fact is that they can end up costing you a lot of money in repairs and replacing worn out parts. Check out the following pointers on the don’ts of driving an automatic car.
1. Engaging the neutral gear while going downhill
The reason why most people do this is to reduce on fuel consumption. However, the truth of the matter is that with modern transmission when coasting downhill with the vehicle in gear, the transmission cuts fuel to the engine. This means that you are only using the wheels to power the engine as the fuel injectors are automatically shut off.
As such you do not need to put the car in neutral to save on fuel. The danger in putting the car on neutral is that you reduce the ability of controlling the vehicle, which can prove to be disastrous in case of am emergency due to the fact that you can only slow down the vehicle.
2. Putting the car in neutral while in traffic
This is a habit that a good number of drivers engage in, the thinking behind is that when the vehicle is in neutral gear it will consume less fuel. However, for automatic cars putting the car on neutral saves little or no fuel at all hence it is very unnecessary. If you really want to save fuel while stuck in traffic, just pull the hand brake and switch off the engine. This is the sure most way of saving on fuel while stuck in traffic.
3. When changing driving direction ensure that the car comes to a stop before changing gears
It could be one of those days that you are in a hurry such that when changing direction for example while reversing, you change gears while the car is still in motion. When you shift gears while in motion, for example, from reverse to drive, or vice versa, you use your transmission rather than brakes to stop the car.
The car will actually stop but you will end up wearing out your automatic transmission band. The transmission band is hard to access making its repair and replacement expensive and time consuming as opposed to brakes which are easy to access and service.
4. Do not put your car in park till you have come to a complete stop
Again you might be in a hurry and fail to completely stop your car before engaging park. When you engage park, a locking pin is inserted into a gear that is connected to your transmission output shaft. The wheels of your car are connected to your transmission output shaft such that when the shaft is locked your wheels cannot move.
If you happen to engage park when the car is still moving, you can easily shear the locking pin and even break it, which would call for costly repairs. In a situation where you need to stop car and brakes are not working, rather than engaging park just downshift to gear 2 and lower/first gear to slow down the car.
5. Launching your car
This is whereby a driver revs the car while in neutral and shifts to drive to enable one to zoom off at a high speed. However, by doing this you are wearing out the automatic transmission band which, as it were, is expensive to repair. If you have to launch, just press the accelerator and the brakes at the same time and release the brakes while the other foot is still on the accelerator. This will enable you to launch with minimal wear and tear.
NEXT READ: 11 fuel-saving tips every driver should know
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