Driving can be enjoyable and simple, especially if you have an automatic car. This article is for you if you’re new to driving or want to learn how to drive an automatic car.
We’ll walk you through the simple stages of getting started and keeping it smooth. We have you covered whether you are a novice or want to improve. Let’s get started and make driving an automated car easy and pleasurable!
Understanding Automatic Gearbox
Automatic cars employ a different approach to gearboxes, as they handle gear selection automatically without requiring manual input.
Automatic gearboxes operate using various fundamental modes that are:
- Park (P): Activating this mode locks the transmission, ensuring the car remains stationary even on an incline, preventing any unintentional rolling.
- Drive (D): Engaging this mode sets the car in motion, allowing it to move forward.
- Neutral (N): In this mode, the transmission is disengaged from the drive, but the car can still roll freely. It proves useful, especially in traffic situations, when combined with the handbrake.
- Reverse (R): When you shift into this mode, the car’s reverse gear is engaged, facilitating backward movement.
Starting an Automatic Car: Step-by-Step Guide
Let’s delve into the process of getting your automatic car in motion. Here’s a detailed instruction:
- Begin by placing your right foot on the left-hand pedal, which is the brake pedal, and gently apply pressure to engage it.
- Initiate the car’s ignition by either pressing the start button or turning the key, depending on your vehicle’s design.
- While keeping your foot on the brake pedal, shift the gear selector to either reverse or Drive, depending on your intended direction of travel.
- Gradually release the brake pedal. This action will lead to the gradual forward movement of the vehicle, a phenomenon known as “creeping.”
- Once the car is in motion, the automatic transmission will autonomously select the appropriate gear corresponding to your speed.
Stopping an Automatic Car: Step-by-Step Procedure
Stopping an automatic car involves the following steps:
- As you decelerate, the automatic transmission will sequentially downshift gears to adapt to the decreasing speed.
- When you’ve completed your ride and intend to come to a stop, firmly press the brake pedal until the car halts.
- Once the vehicle has stopped, maintain your foot on the brake pedal and shift the gear lever into the park position.
- Apply the handbrake to secure the car in place.
- Lastly, turn off the ignition to complete the stopping procedure.
Driving Uphill in an Automatic Car
Moving uphill in an automatic vehicle can be a bit challenging, though it’s generally simpler compared to manual transmissions, as there’s no clutch involved.
Here’s how you drive uphill in an automatic car:
- Engage the handbrake and set your gearbox to Drive (D).
- Gently press the accelerator pedal until you sense the car exerting force against the handbrake.
- When this resistance is noticeable, release the handbrake. The car should now begin its ascent up the hill.
Various Types of Automatic Gearboxes
While any car that shifts gears without requiring the driver to use a clutch pedal falls under the category of automatic transmissions, there exist several distinct types of automatic gearboxes:
Conventional Automatic Gearboxes
- Conventional automatic transmissions employ a ‘torque-converter’ in place of a clutch, providing a more sophisticated driving experience compared to other automatic variants. However, they tend to consume more fuel than manual transmissions.
- Luxury vehicles like the Volvo XC90 and Range Rover often utilise conventional automatic transmissions, some having as many as nine gears in their setups.
- Continuously Variable Transmissions (CVT)
- CVTs are commonly found in hybrid vehicles like the Toyota Prius, replacing traditional gears with a belt that functions as a single-gear ratio.
- Notable for their efficiency and reliability, CVTs also deliver a smoother ride, as they eliminate the need to shift between gears.
- On the downside, CVTs may exhibit slower acceleration than other automatic gearbox types, and under rapid acceleration, they can produce a loud and strained engine sound.
- Dual-clutch automatic transmissions bear similarities to conventional automatic gearboxes but incorporate two clutches, both operated automatically, in place of the torque converter.
- These gearboxes prepare alternating gears in advance, facilitating swift gear changes.
Automated Manual Gearboxes
- Although less prevalent than in the past, automated manual transmissions can still be found in budget-friendly vehicles such as the Skoda Citigo.
- These gearboxes mimic the operation of a standard manual transmission but feature automated gear selection and clutch control through computerised systems instead of a traditional pedal.
- One drawback is that they may exhibit slight jerks during gear changes, similar to traditional manual transmissions, with a brief pause as the system shifts between gears.
Advantages of Automatic Gearboxes
Automatic vehicles have multiple advantages; some common ones are discussed below:
Ease to Operate
Automatic vehicles are relatively simple to operate. You only need to put the car in drive, and the car will be on its way. It will automatically swap gears, so you won’t have to continuously navigate the road conditions to shift gears.
Safer to Use
Automatic gearbox vehicles are slightly safer to drive than manual gearbox vehicles since they allow you to drive with both hands on the wheel without any distractions. With automatic cars, you can keep your eyes on the road, constantly concentrate on important signals and assess the road’s condition, lowering your chances of any accident.
There is no need to constantly move your legs and hands to swap gears, allowing you to maintain full control and stay comfortable.
Vehicles with automatic transmissions are more powerful than manual ones. They have a complete gear set that the vehicle uses in various ways. The whole gear set of an automatic vehicle is made up of several gears controlled by a single gear. As a result, the vehicle’s torque is distributed across a broader area, enhancing its power.
When you start your car engine from a stop, an automatic vehicle starts quite rapidly. You do not need to take off the gas while starting the vehicle to allow the gears to shift. An automatic transmitter brings the engine closer to its torque peak, allowing for faster acceleration.
Can You Drive a Manual Vehicle with an Automatic Driving License?
No, you can only drive an automatic car if you have an automatic license. However, if you have a manual license, you can drive both manual and automatic vehicles.