An Automatic transmission is a torque multiplication device that is attached to your vehicle’s engine, which enables your vehicle to shift gears automatically with little or no driver input.
It is different from manual transmission because there is no need for a pedal operated clutch. This makes your vehicle to be very easy to drive (even for a disabled person) especially in traffic jams. The ease it provides makes it very complex in its design and operation and if used incorrectly, can be easily damaged and can cost a lot of money( in some cases hundreds of thousands of Naira) to repair or replace.
The following are some key driving tips that will help keep your automatic transmission in good condition:
1. Only change from Drive to Reverse and vice versa at a complete standstill: Always ensure your vehicle comes to a complete stop before going from drive to reverse or vice versa. Shifting from reverse to drive, or vice-versa, while the car is still moving can cause increased stresses to the drive-train constant velocity joints which can lead to breakage/damage. This can also cause damage to the transmission wet clutches/ brake bands which can be a very expensive repair You have to be patient and learn to use your brakes properly to stop your car.
2. Only shift to Park when you’ve come to a complete stop: You can damage or break the locking pin and the pawl mechanism that’s used to ensure your transmission is properly engaged in park. repairing this may be very costly.
3. Don’t put your gear in neutral in a holdup/ stoplight : Yes i know, you will say i need to save fuel, right? No it doesn’t. Your RPM actually fluctuates and, in some cases, rises when you shift from Drive to Neutral. Not only does this not help you save fuel, but the fluctuation in RPM also stresses the bands and clutch plates in your transmission, which, over time, will wear them out.
4. Putting your car gear in ‘L’ when stuck in a muddy place: This is bad practice, as L means your car starts from gear 1, and gear 1 gives a high torque condition which will cause spinning of your driving wheels and in severe cases overheat your transmission (Heat is a major killer of automatic transmission!)In such situation , engage your transmission in ‘2’ so that your car can start in(or immediately shift into)2nd gear and remain in that gear until you are out of the situation.
5. Launching your automatic car by revving in Neutral and shifting to Drive: Except you are a stunt driver or drag racer, that will put their transmission in Neutral, hold down the accelerator, then shift to Drive. This is very bad practice as this subjects the clutches and bands in these cars’ transmissions are placed under huge amounts of mechanical stress due to the abrupt mashing of a stationary clutch plate with an engine that has been revved too high. this over time will wear your transmission and may call for a rebuild/ replacement sooner than expected.