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P or N for automatic cars at traffic lights? We explain for AMT, DCT, CVT and Torque Converters

Demand for automatic cars have gone up in India in the last 5 years. heavily crowded city roads and highways and traffic jams are some of the reasons behind it. Although many have shifted to automatic cars, some of them are still getting used to the two-pedal driving style. We have often come across people who drive automatic cars in the wrong manner. Here we discuss something that many of you reading this article might find interesting. What should one choose on gear selector if you are waiting at the traffic signal in an automatic car.

Automated Manual Transmission (AMT)

AMT is the most affordable and probably the most simple automatic transmission available in the market. Most of the entry level cars that come with an automatic transmission offer an AMT gearbox. AMT is actually a manual transmission with an automatic clutch and gear shift operation. So when a car comes to a stop at a traffic signal, the gearbox automatically downshifts to first gear.

P or N for automatic cars at traffic lights? We explain for AMT, DCT, CVT and Torque Converters

This way the car can crawl smoothly when the driver lifts off his foot from brake pedal. If you have to wait for longer period of time, continuously pressing the brake pedal puts a lot of pressure and the brake will also reduce the life of the brake pads. It is recommended to shift to “N” and engage parking brake just like how you do in a manual transmission car.

Torque Converter

P or N for automatic cars at traffic lights? We explain for AMT, DCT, CVT and Torque Converters

This type of transmission is a little forgiving. If your car is stuck at a traffic signal for a short period of time, we won’t recommend you to shift to P or N as it won’t harm the transmission much. However, if you have to wait at the signal for over 30 seconds or more, shifting from Drive to Neutral or Park would be a better option.

CVT

P or N for automatic cars at traffic lights? We explain for AMT, DCT, CVT and Torque Converters

Cars that come with a CVT gearbox have a tendency to crawl ahead as soon as you release the brakes. This is because it comes with creep function. This means, when you are waiting at a traffic signal, there is unnecessary pressure being put on the brakes of the car. In many of the cars, when you shift to Park mode, the doors automatically unlock as the car thinks that the owner is preparing to get out. To avoid such confusion, it is better to shift to Neutral and engage the parking brake.

DCT

P or N for automatic cars at traffic lights? We explain for AMT, DCT, CVT and Torque Converters

It is one of the most advanced automatic transmissions. Dual-Clutch Transmissions has an overheating issue. The transmission tends to overheat when the car is moving through slow moving traffic or long traffic jams. Many people who have shifted to an automatic transmission (DCT specifically) has reported such issues and we have reported some of these on our website too. The transmission won’t overheat if you have to wait for couple of minutes. However, it is always recommended to shift to Neutral or Park to remove unwanted pressure from the transmission and brakes. If you find yourself in such a long traffic jam situation, shift the car to Park or Neutral and let the transmission cool down.

Ajeesh Kuttan

Ajeesh, started 6 years ago with Cartoq.com as an eager journalist passionate about bikes. His skills now encompass both bikes and cars, producing timely news reports spanning the auto sector. Beyond writing, Ajeesh excels in video production. Together with Shantonil, he participates in first drives and test drives for new car launches. (Full bio)