Tips to remember when driving an automatic transmission

We all know that technology is always evolving and hence the features on phones, cars or do we say anything that is automated are always changing day in and day out. Newer cars come with safety measures that will ensure that your car runs smoothly and hence you are able to arrive at your destination safe and on time. These are features that block conflicting commands and at the same time warn the driver on any potential issues.

If you haven’t driven an automatic car before, however, it can be all too easy to get behind the wheel and be totally perplexed by the lack of a clutch pedal and the array of options provided by the shifter. Like any other things there are tips or rules that ensure their smooth running. So, before you start, let’s get to the basics

Most automatic gearboxes will let you select between ‘P’ (for park), ‘R’ (reverse), ‘N’ (neutral) and ‘D’ (drive).

Park should only be used when you’re stopped and getting out of the car. This ‘locks’ the transmission, preventing it from rolling away (but you still need to apply the handbrake when parked as well).

Reverse does as it says – acts the same as a reverse gear in a manual and should be selected when you want to drive backwards.

Neutral is the same as knocking a manual gearbox out of gear. It shouldn’t be selected when moving – this is known as coasting – but can be used (along with the handbrake) if you’re stopped for a short period of time.

Drive will select gears automatically and allow the car to move forwards.

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Although any car which changes gears itself without the driver having to use a clutch pedal is generally considered to be an automatic, there are in fact a number of different types of automatic gearboxes.

Conventional automatic gearboxes: These use a ‘torque-converter’ to do the job of the clutch, and are more refined than other automatic ’boxes, but will use more fuel than manuals.

Continuously variable transmissions (CVT): CVTs are popular in hybrid cars, as they do away with cogs in favour of a belt which acts as a single gear ratio. As well as being more efficient and more reliable, they also make for a smoother drive as the car doesn’t have to skip between gears.

Dual-clutch automatics: These types of gearboxes are similar to a conventional automatic gearbox, but two clutches (operated automatically) replace the torque converter. They line up alternating gears, meaning the next ratio is prepared and allowing rapid gear changes.

Automated manual gearboxes: These act like a normal manual but select gears automatically and operate the clutch by computer rather than using a pedal.

For more information, visit an authorized Renault dealer in Hyderabad, like the PPS Renault, Hyderabad.

And here are few tips to keep mind when driving an automatic car.

1) Forget the clutch

Automatics do have gears, but the car handles most gear changes itself. That’s why there’s no clutch pedal – just the brake and the accelerator.

2) Prepare for the ‘creep’

An automatic will move slowly forwards if you’re in Drive or any other forward gear. If you’re in Reverse, it’ll slowly go backwards. This is called ‘creeping’ (or ‘idle speed’) and it makes it easy to simply keep your right foot over or on the brake when you’re parking or in slow-moving traffic.

3) Know the difference in different conditions

On motorways, there’s no real difference at all: staying in Drive is exactly the same as staying in top gear.

In traffic jams, automatics are great. It’s nice not to have to shift between first and neutral over and over.

When you’re parking, you might find the ‘creep’ feature useful. Or you might think it’s annoying.

While overtaking, or going up/down hills or towing, some people find an automatic car doesn’t give them as much control as a manual. However, most older automatics have an ‘O/D’ (Overdrive) button* on the gearstick that gives the engine a bit more ‘oomph’. And most newer models are smart enough to know when the driver wants a bit more power, so they don’t need this button.

4) Practise

Finally, it’s best to practise a bit somewhere out of the way before you hit any busy roads. It shouldn’t take long to get used to keeping your hand off the gearstick and your left foot out of the way.

And if once you’re sure driving an automatic car is your best suit, check out the Renault’s newest MPV, Renault Triber ex-showroom price starting at 4.9 Lacs at your nearest Renault showroom in Hyderabad.