Driving an auto transmission vehicle tends to be the drivers’ preferred choice for the ease and convenience. Although it seems to be a straightforward process, there’re still hidden pitfalls that drivers should keep away from to have smooth driving experience. Been a frequent patron for car rental services in Singapore but always been charged extra on repair work for transmission problems upon returning your rental car? Your driving habits may be secretly damaging the gearbox. Here’s 5 habits drivers should avoid while driving an automatic transmission car!
1. Never shift the gear to park until the vehicle has come to a complete stop
Please do not shift the gear to park while the car is still moving. By doing so, it may damage or break the locking pins that are meant to lock the transmission in place. Unlike the parking brakes which are meant to bring the vehicle to a stop, the park gear prevents the vehicle from moving. Do rather be patient by applying the park brake and the lever to a complete stop than to spend more money for unnecessary repairs. With the advancement of modern automation, newer vehicles comes with speed sensors which prevent drivers from doing so.
2. Never put the vehicle in neutral mode while going downhill
One of the habits that some drivers have is to slide down slopes with neutral gear engaged (coasting). The misconception that they have is that it’s fuel economy in this way. In neutral mode, the gearbox will be disconnected with the transmission with more fuel used to keep the engine at idle and insufficient fluids to lubricate the transmission for a smooth operation, causing significant wear and tear to the transmission band.
Not only it damages the vehicle transmission, drivers also have limit control over the vehicle. In neutral mode, connection is cut off the engine and the wheels. Drivers will not be able to accelerate or react in time in the event of any emergency and becoming a major road hazard. Do you know that coasting in neutral gear is prohibited in some states in United States? After all, it’s not worth to risk the repair fee and your life.
3. Never put the vehicle in neutral mode at traffic lights
Image Source: Straits Times
Similarly when travelling down slopes, drivers have the misconception that it’s fuel economy to engage in neutral gear at traffic lights. However, it might end up revving the engine, consuming more fuel and more friction, damaging the transmission with more friction in the process. Apart from the fuel efficiency, drivers enjoy the fact that they will be able to rest their foot away from the brakes especially during traffic jams. Engaging in neutral gear is dangerous as drivers will have no control over the vehicle especially if any emergency movements is required.
For those who engage in the park gear during traffic lights, the damage involve will not be as minimal after all. Imagine having to switch from drive to park mode at every traffic light? In a long run, it’s a burden and will lead to critical damage to the transmission. Who knows if the gear might end up in reverse mode accidentally? Therefore, it’s always the best to step on the brakes and keep the gear in drive mode while waiting for the traffic lights to turn green! For newer vehicles which comes with the start/stop button, another option is to switch off the engines if the stop is lengthy.
4. Never try switching gears without stopping
Ever tried shifting gears without stopping in a manual transmission vehicle? You’ll probably get a very loud screeching sound. It’s a bad habit to switch gears while the vehicle is in motion. While automatic transmission vehicles will allow drivers to do so, the rapid movement of the gear shift could wear out the gearbox at an astounding pace. Use your brake to stop the vehicles before engaging in any gear shift.
5. Never launch the vehicle in neutral gear
Revving the car in neutral gear sounds cool in action movies. However, do you know that it’s actually very bad for the vehicle? Never rev the car engine in neutral gear and dip to drive suddenly to launch forward. Automatic transmission uses a torque convertor which serve the same purpose as the clutch in manual transmission vehicles, transmitting power from the engine to the wheels which are used to change and drive in different gears. By doing so, both the clutch and the transmission bands get wear out very fast and it’s costly to replace!
To prevent unexpected car rental charges, you may want to take note of the pointers above. For car owners, to lengthen the life and functionality of the vehicle components, do look out for your driving habits! Stay tuned for the next article on signs that drivers should look out for possible transmission problems.
As a full-fledged automotive solutions provider, ETHOZ provides car rental and leasing services in Singapore. Trusted by our clients, we are known for our reliability and high service standards. To optimize the best driving experience for our customers, we conduct stringent quality checks for every vehicles. These checks are performed by experienced mechanics in our own workshop facilities before every vehicles are released for use.
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