An automatic car should never be confused with a self-driving car, as they both are two completely different terms. Automatic car driving can be defined as that which doesn't have a clutch pedal, and the gear system of which works independently of the clutch pedal, with simply the brake and the accelerator. It can be a little difficult to get used to an automatic car when you have learnt driving a manual car, with 5 or 6 gears. However, once you get used to driving an automatic car, it can be one of the best things you've ever learnt.
An automatic car uses every feature that a normal car uses as well, with the exception that it doesn't have the clutch system. To shift the gear, one would simply have to hold the break and shift the gear, depending upon their necessity.
A manual car and an automatic car are quite different when it comes to how the gearbox operates. The automatic gearbox labels might be a little tricky to understand at first, which is why it is always important to get used to them before hitting the road.
The different types of automatic gearboxes include:
CVTs are popular in hybrid cars, as they have a belt which acts as a single gear ration. They are more efficient and more reliable, and result in a smoother drive as the car doesn't have to skip between gears. The only drawback is that the acceleration is slower when compared to other automatic gearboxes.
Conventional automatic gearboxes 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.
These are very similar to conventional automatic gearboxes, but two clutches (operated automatically) replace the torque converter.
These are much like a normal manual but select gears automatically and operate the clutch by a computer, rather than a pedal. These can be a little jerky.
The DSG system is a wet transmission system, which uses two clutches that disengage alternately in changing gears. Decades of service can be expected from this gearbox if the fluid is changed regularly.
The Traditional Automatic Transmission system is commonly known as torque converter automatic and is most widely used automatic transmission. With a hydraulic fluid coupling or a torque converter, this transmission changes gears instead of a clutch.
One usually hears a lot of cons that automatic gear boxes have. However, automatic gearboxes have several positive points that come in handy. Here are some of those advantages:
1. Highly reliable
2. Wearing out of parts is very less
3. Driving is easier, and more efficient in some cases
4. Faster than normal cars
While there's nothing much that's different in an automatic car driving, when compared to a normal car, there are a few differences still. The basic driving modes in an automatic car are:
P (Park) – This is used when you're parking your car and exiting, so that it locks the car. The handbrake still needs to be applied though.
R (Reverse) – This is the same as the reverse mechanism in mechanical cars.
N (Neutral) – Once again, this is the same as the neutral gear mechanism in mechanical cars. This is employed when you're in traffic signals or stopping somewhere.
D (Drive) – This is used to go forward, when you're about to drive.
Other settings that automatic cars might include:
1: Stay in first gear (useful when climbing hills)
2: Stay in second gear (again, good for hills)
L: Stay in low gear
S: Sport (provides greater acceleration)
The beginning of anything new can be a little daunting, as we're not used to it. The same can be the case with those trying out automatic cars for the first time. Sometimes, even seasoned drivers might be taken aback a little when about to drive an automatic car for the first time. However, everything gets better once you get a hang of it. Here are some tips to drive an automatic car, for beginners and others as well.
Before you can run, you always need to walk. Similarly, it is important that you at least know how to drive a manual car, even if you're not well versed with it, before you get started with driving an automatic car.
As stated earlier, the gearstick is a little different in automatic cars, when compared to the ones in manual cars. Take out some time to understand the gearstick and then hit the road. The Park gear helps you stay in position, without any movement from the car, while the Drive gear is used for when you're driving on roads without traffic. On roads with traffic, the Neutral gear should be used.
In case you're shifting from a mechanical car to an automatic car, the first thing you need to do is forget about the clutch pedal as it doesn't exist in automatic cars, as the gears can be shifted using the brake itself.
Once again, driving automatic cars across different conditions can be very different, as a lot of less mechanism is involved.
An automatic car will move slowly forwards if you're in Drive mode or any other forward gear. If you're in Reverse mode, it'll slowly go backwards. This is called ’creeping‘ (or ’idle speed’).
For any car, it is always important that you practise a lot, which is the only way to get a hang of driving any car, and the same is the case with automatic cars. Also, getting used to the car you're driving is key to being in complete control of it. Make sure you're familiar with every feature your car has to offer, and that you practise enough to know how to be completely in control of your car.
Also Read: Tips to Pass Driving Test
The main difference between a manual and an automatic car is that an automatic car doesn't have a clutch system, as the car handles the functions of the clutch on its own.
There are several automatic cars that are in circulation and running on the roads, in different parts of the world right now. Here are some of those types:
Continuously variable transmission automatic cars have a quieter transmission, making it an ideal choice if that's what you want.
Automated manual transmission cars are the most common automatic cars to exist. They combine high fuel efficiency with low cost of maintenance.
The dual clutch transmission uses a twin-clutch system that is responsible for smooth gear shifts.Based on the engine torque, automatic cars either use dry clutches (for DCT) or wet clutches (for DSG). DCT offers faster and most accurate gear shifts and is quite reliable and efficient.
Torque converters are almost silent and have a ”free from niggles“ gearbox. If you are looking for an automatic car for prolonged use and with a smooth gear shift, then this is for you.
Intelligent Manual Transmission uses automatic sensors and actuators to perceive a gear change and to engage your clutch automatically. IMT is ideal for users looking for the complete convenience and experience of an automatic car.
An automatic car and a manual car may not differ a lot, but the small differences they have are quite significant as they make a whole world of difference. The following are some of the things you can expect to be different from a manual car, in an automatic car:
In a manual car, we are used to slowly easing our car on to the road, with the help of the clutch pedal. Since the clutch pedal is missing in an automatic car, we need to make use of what is known as the Creep method. In this method, we need to move our foot off the brake pedal as we disengage the handbrake, which is when the car will start to move forward.
Brakes are less responsive in automatic cars, and have to be used more often, than in manual cars. Hence, your braking should be heavier. When heading towards a corner, bend or eventual stop, it's always important you use your brake, and simply don't just take your foot off the accelerator.
In automatic cars, going up a hill isn't as tricky as it is in manual cars. You would simply have to shift your gear to D (drive) mode, and hit the accelerator, to move up the hill.
Going downhill is a little complicated with automatic cars, hence maintaining low speed is always advised. In case you have lower gears available in your car, always make use of them in such a situation, as they make it easier.
Unlike in manual cars, where the clutch pedal is used a lot when it comes to overtaking, the entire burden falls on the brake and the accelerator in an automatic car, when overtaking another vehicle.
Just the way automatic cars have become the norm these days, so have electric cars. Most of the electric cars, the majority percentage, are all automatic cars. However, there are exceptions too, with a few electric cars being manual as well.
There is no limitation if you have a manual car's licence. However, if you have an automatic car licence, then it wouldn't work for a manual car, and you would have to get another licence for that.
Automatic cars are taking over the world, with almost everyone switching to automatic cars. They are also expected to take over the world completely, in the years to come, with everyone set to switch to automatic cars, which are not only easier to use, but also easier to maintain as well. The first step towards that is to take good care of your car, which is achieved through a warranty. Warranty Direct offers a policy that is inclusive of all the repair and damage costs for automatic cars.
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