Driving an automatic is more straightforward than driving a manual, but there are still ways to mess up parts of your vehicle. Here are five things you shouldn’t do if you drive a car with an automatic transmission.
1. Never coast downhill in neutral: Modern automatic transmissions cut fuel to the engine on their own, so putting your car in neutral won’t save you any gas. Also, it takes some control away from you.
2. Never switch directions without stopping: Make sure you come to a complete stop before going from drive to reverse or vice versa. Otherwise you’re using your transmission to stop the vehicle instead of letting your brakes do their job.
3. Never “launch” your vehicle: Don’t rev your car’s engine in neutral and drop into drive to launch yourself forward. It’s fast way to wear out the bands in your transmission (they’re expensive to replace).
4. Never put your car in neutral at a stop light: It won’s save you any fuel (fractions of a gallon if any), and it can wear on the transmission.
5. Never shift into park until you’ve come to a complete stop: Some cars won’t even let you do this, but you should never do it anyway. You can damage or break the locking pin that’s used to keep your transmission from running.
Some of these might seem like a no-brainer for a good driver, but not everyone that drives a car knows how it works or what kind of damage you can do with seemingly harmless habits. These tips and best practices can help anyone keep safe on the road and extend the life of their automatic vehicle.