5 BIGGEST mistakes people make while driving automatic cars

Automatic transmissions are becoming quite popular in India. With the arrival of AMT gearbox, buying an automatic car has become affordable in India. Even quite a few mass-segment vehicles have started offering dual-clutch transmissions, which has pushed up the sales of the automatic cars up in the recent past in the market. While the popularity of automatic transmission cars is rising, it should be noted that it still remains a new and unknown technology for many buyers. Making mistakes in such automatic vehicles can happen easily. So if you’re buying an automatic vehicle and want to avoid making mistakes that can damage the transmission or lower the life of the vehicle, these are a few things that you should know about. Here are the five biggest mistakes people make in automatic transmission cars and how to avoid them.

Driving in neutral down the slope

5 BIGGEST mistakes people make while driving automatic cars

This is a common mistake that many people make even in manual transmission vehicles. Putting the car in “N” while going down the slope is something that many people often do to save the fuel. However, when the automatic transmission goes into the Neutral, many transmission set-ups cut the oil supply in the transmission, which is an essential agent in keeping the transmission lubricated properly and even keeping it at an optimum temperature. This can overheat the transmission. Also, without the vehicle in gear, the driver loses out on control and cannot use the accelerator pedal when required. A vehicle going down in slope does not use as much fuel as many believe.

Not stopping completely before shifting from forward to reverse

Not allowing the vehicle to come to a stop completely before shifting from forward to reverse and vice-versa can literally kill the gearbox. The gearbox uses a transmission brand to change the drive of the car and it is essential to stop the vehicle completely before changing from forward to reverse and vice-versa.

Launch control

Many automatic transmissions come with the “Launch Control” feature that allows the vehicle to take a quick start off the mark. This is quite useful during the competition and once in a while driving enthusiastically. Launch control allows the engine rev to go up so that the vehicle can be launched at a quicker speed. The automatic cars that do not get the launch control system have to manually manipulate the transmission to get the same effect. Many people driving the car without launch control system try to mimic the same effect by building up the revs in neutral and then suddenly put in “Drive” or “D” mode. This causes the transmission to heat up and a lot of wear and tear happens too. The correct way of doing this is to keep the car in Drive mode, keep the brake engaged while building up the revs. After the revs build up, the brake has to be released to get the desired result. Launching the automatic car in this way will cause minimal damage to the vehicle but it is not a healthy practice and brings down the transmission life drastically.

Putting in “Park” mode while driving

5 BIGGEST mistakes people make while driving automatic cars

Suddenly putting the car in “P” or park mode while the vehicle is still in motion causes immense damage to the transmission. The transmission unit uses a parking pawl to stop the cog from rotating, which in turn disables the vehicle’s movement. When the car is in motion, this can cause greater wear and tear and damage the transmission.

Switching to “Neutral” often

5 BIGGEST mistakes people make while driving automatic cars

Switching to the neutral while waiting at traffic signals or otherwise is not as damaging but in a longer run, it can cause adverse affects to the transmission. Using the lever to shift the transmission often can cause the vehicle’s transmission to wear and tear even more. Also, vehicles with automatic start/stop system work only when the transmission is in D mode. This is why you should not change to neutral while waiting for short times at the signals

Shantonil Nag

Shantonil brings a refined blend of expertise and enthusiasm to motoring journalism at With a career spanning over 11 years, he anchors Cartoq's insightful car reviews and test drives. His journalistic journey began as a correspondent at, where he honed his skills in content writing and scripting car reviews. Later, as Senior Editor for, his expanded role included curating and structuring web content. At, his expanded role includes assisting the video team to create high-quality car reviews. (Full bio)