Are You Ruining Your Transmission with These 5 Common Bad Habits?
Is it okay to coast down a hill in neutral? Should you put the car in neutral when you come to a stop? What is the safest way to launch an automatic car? Is it okay to switch from reverse to drive while the vehicle is moving? What happens when you put the vehicle in park?
This video from Engineering Explained gives you the answers to these questions about driving with an automatic transmission. Here are the highlights:
Never coast downhill in neutral. Most modern automatic transmissions cut fuel to the engine on their own, so putting your car in neutral won’t save you any gas. More importantly, it takes some control away from you and it’s illegal in 15 states.
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, which isn’t a good idea.
Never “launch” your vehicle. Don’t rev your car’s engine in neutral and drop into drive to propel yourself forward, because it’s a fast way to wear out the bands in your transmission (they’re expensive to replace).
Never put your car in neutral at a stop light – it won’t save you any measurable fuel (a tiny fraction of a gallon at most) and it can cause wear on the transmission.
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 attempt it in any case – you may damage or break the locking pin that’s used to keep your transmission from running.
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