For some people, driving is challenging at first, but it becomes easy once they get the hang of it. The problem, though, is that many drivers develop harmful habits that last for the rest of their lives, and those habits can cause a lot of damage to a vehicle. When it comes to car and truck repairs, the transmission is one of the most expensive, so you will want to do your best to protect it. If you don’t want to get stuck with expensive fees, watch out for the habits that will slowly damage automatic transmission without your knowledge.
Engineering Explained has explained these habits in a simple, yet interesting manner.
By doing the wrong thing at the wrong time, you can decrease the life of your vehicle more than most drivers would suspect. After you learn to recognize and stop the destructive driving behavior, you will be able to get the most from your car or truck. No matter how tempting, never overlook this advice unless you are prepared to face the outcome.
Coasting Down Hill in Neutral
Depending on your location, you have likely put your car in neutral to coast downhill at some point, and a lot of people have fallen into this trap. With reduced fuel costs in mind, drivers switch their cars out of drive as they approach a decline. Not only does this action take control away from the driver, but it will take a toll on your vehicle’s transmission.
If protecting the condition of your car is not enough to grab your attention, consider that coasting downhill is illegal in several states. By looking at the big picture, it’s easy to see that the amount of gas that you save is not worth the danger to yourself or the damage to your vehicle. Even though it might seem like a good idea, this driving behavior will cost you much more in the long run.
Not Stopping Before Switching Gears
To save a little time, you might feel compelled to switch your car from reverse to drive without coming to a complete stop. Some individuals engage in this behavior every day, and if you follow in their footsteps, it won’t be long until you find yourself sitting in the lobby of a repair garage. Each time you change gears, the transmission band clamps down on the gears, but when you do not come to a complete stop, the transmission band is what stops the vehicle.
Because it was not designed to act as a braking system, you are putting unneeded stress on the transmission. Replacing the band is not one of the most expensive repairs that you could make, but diagnosing the problem can take some time and effort. If you would like to avoid throwing money away, always use your break to completely stop your car or truck before trying to move from drive to reverse.
Launching the Car from Neutral
For various reasons, people often take steps to increase the speed at which their car accelerates from a stopped position. Putting a vehicle in neutral while revving the engine is one of the most common tactics that drivers use to reach their goal. Once the engine is revved up, they will then promptly put the vehicle in drive, giving it a powerful boost.
When you switch gears after revving the motor, you are putting pressure on the transmission band, and if you launch your car with this method on a consistent basis, you will soon face costly maintenance bills.
Boosting the speed of your vehicle from a stopped position is possible without putting such a strain on the transmission and damaging it. Leave the car in drive. Keep one foot on the break while applying the other to the gas pedal. IMPORTANT: This should be very brief, because it builds up heat quickly. If you do this for too long, you risk damaging your transmission. Lift your foot off the break to enjoy a nice jolt of speed.
Jason Fenske from Engineering Explained also mentions that this puts a lot of pressure on the transmission too, but it’s definitely a better alternative to launching the car from neutral, so do this at your own risk.
Putting the Car in Neutral at Stoplights
With fuel prices on the rise, the search for ways to save gas never ends, but a lot of the things that you might try when your goal is to save money can cause more harm than good. It’s not uncommon for drivers to put their cars in neutral while they are sitting at stoplights. In addition to saving money, some people even believe that putting a car in neutral reduces the stress on the transmission, which is untrue.
Although your foot is on the break, the engine is still powering the wheels, and you can confirm this fact by taking your foot off the brake. The amount of damage that you cause by repeatedly switching gears will cost more in repairs than you save in gas, but when saving money is what you hope to achieve, you can turn your car off at stoplights.
Putting the Car in Park Before Coming to a Complete Stop
If you are like other drivers, then you could be putting your car in park before you stop completely. When you switch your car to park, a parking claw is engaged to prevent the vehicle from moving. Putting your car in park before stopping causes the parking claw to act as the brake, and it can be destroyed in the process.
Making an effort to break this bad habit can work wonders for your budget, so pay attention to how soon you switch gears. If you place your car in park because your gas pedal is stuck, there is a better way. Turning your vehicle off and firmly applying pressure to the brake will give you the same result without damaging your transmission.
If you notice that there’s always issues with your automatic transmission, you could be a slave to one of these bad habits without even knowing it. When you drive your vehicle, always ask yourself if you are doing so in a way that will not cause avoidable damage to your transmission or the other parts of your car.
No matter the situation, always completely stop before changing gears, and never switch your car to neutral to save on gas. Some people who have trouble breaking those habits have found success by leaving small notes on the dashboard.