The popularity of automatic transmission in mass-segment cars is increasing every other month. India is predominantly a market for manual cars but the new generation is changing its preference and with that, manufacturers have started launching almost all the models with an automatic transmission. Well, there are many out there who must be driving an automatic transmission for the first time and many remain confused on what to do at the traffic signals when the light turns to red. Here are a few answers.
Automated Manual Transmission (AMT)
Automated Manual Transmission or AMTs are the new favourites in the mass-segment cars in India. With the availability of the AMT in almost all budget-friendly cars, it has come out to be one of the popular choices in the market.
If you own a car with AMT, you should know that the mechanical of the transmission is similar to the manual transmission. However, the clutch and gear shifts are decided by the transmission itself. If you come to a long stop, the gear automatically shifts to the first and engage the creep mode that will move the car ahead when you release the brake in slow-moving traffic.
Keeping the AMT in drive mode during long stops puts extra pressure on the clutch plates and on the transmission too. It will also wear out the brakes quicker. So the better idea is to shift to the neutral whenever the car stops for long during the traffic signals.
Torque converters used to be widely used in automatic cars. They are a little easier to use too. If you come to a standstill at a traffic signal, you can simply keep the brake engaged. Yes, it puts pressure on the brakes but there is no unnecessary pressure on the transmission itself. So during short stops, you can keep the brake engaged and if the stop time is more than a minute, use the lever to shift to the neutral and it will save the brake pads too.
Continous Variable Torque (CVT)
CVTs are also quite popular and are available with many mass-segment as well as high-end vehicles. With the creep function in the modern CVT, keeping the vehicle in drive mode during the traffic signals will again put pressure on the plates of CVT and heat up the transmission. The best way to avoid this is to keep the vehicle in parking mode whenever there is a stop longer than 30 seconds.
Dual-Clutch Transmission (DCT)
Many manufacturers have made the CVT accessible to mass-segment car buyers. The Dual-Clutch Transmission is one of the most advanced automatic gearboxes. However, as we have seen in many cases, the DCT can heat up quickly, especially in the slow-moving Indian traffic condition. It is highly recommended to take off the pressure from the DCT as much as possible so the best is to keep it neutral. As the car moves, the transmission cools down rapidly.