5 things you should never do in an automatic car

June 17, 2020

Written by Stella Willis.

Automatics were designed to make driving easier, however sometimes we don’t realise that certain habits are actually really bad for our cars. So here is our helpful list of 5 things you should never do in your automatic car, are you guilty of any? I know I am!


#5 – Launching An Automatic Car

Are you looking for a quick and expensive way to wear out the bands in your transmission? Revving your engine in neutral and then dropping it into drive to launch your car forward may be the way to go.

However, if taking care of your vehicle is a priority, we recommend you never do this, like, ever.

#4 – Not Using The Parking Brake

This one seems like a bit of a given, but apparently some people think that putting the gear into park is enough. Think Again!

Placing the gear in “Park” engages the “Parking Pawl”, which is a small metal piece that locks the output shaft of the transmission. If your parked car is struck without the handbrake engaged the parking pawl could break. If your parking pawl breaks, you’ll end up with pieces of broken pawl in the transmission which can cause serious damage.


#3 – Changing Gear While The Car Is Moving

Have you ever reversed out of a car park and then thrown the car into drive before it has come to a full stop? If so, you need to stop that bad habit now. Shifting too quickly while your car is still moving can cause significant damage to the transmission. There is a spinning coupling mechanism that can prematurely fail if it becomes worn from the harsh gear change. Moral of the story? Always come to a complete stop before shifting into another gear.

automatic car

#2 – Changing Gears To Slow Down

If you were taught to drive a manual, you probably learned to downshift the transmission to slow the vehicle down when approaching a stop light or descending a hill.

Think you can do this in an auto? Nope! A forced downshift at high-engine RPMs can result in excessive transmission wear, specifically to the clutch friction plates and the transmission bands.

So, when in doubt, maybe use the brakes.

auto car man

#1 – Coasting Down Hill

Another deadly sin with auto driving is coasting down the hill while in neutral. It doesn’t save you any fuel and leaves you with less control if something were to happen.

Its also bad for your transmission, read #3 again as a reminder why.

never do in an auto

BONUS – Forgetting The Indicator

When doing a driving tips blog, you can’t forget the elusive indicator, don’t be that guy and please use your indicator!

Did we miss anything that you should never do in an auto?