No matter for how many years you have been driving a car, if you are used to the manual transmission, switching to an automatic and letting the car take care of the gear changes is something that will take some getting used to. The transition is gradual and the convenience that comes along, perceptible.
Even if you have never driven an automatic before, here are a few tips that should help you feel at home in no time: -
⦁ Getting Used to 2-Pedal Driving
In automatic cars, the transmission takes care of the gear shifts. That means no clutch pedal in the driver-side footwell. In a manual car, your left foot operates the clutch while your right one keeps alternating between the brake and the accelerator. However, in an automatic car, your left foot can take rest.
A common practice manual car drivers follow when they switch to an automatic is tucking their left foot behind the right while they get used to driving with one foot.
⦁ Getting Used to the Automatic Gear Shift Lever
Before you take your car out for a spin, make sure you take some time to get used to the automatic gear shift lever. Unlike a manual transmission car where you have 5 forward gears and 1 reverse gear, an automatic car has: -
⦁ P (Park): This is a neutral gear where the gears are locked, and the wheels don’t turn. It is always a good practice to ensure you are in Park before starting the car and before turning the engine off.
⦁ R (Reverse): This is the gear for when you wish to reverse the car.
⦁ N (Neutral): This is generally used when you have to stop for a small while, like at traffic lights that are more than a few seconds long. Just as you would with a manual car, it is a good idea to use the handbrake to ensure the car doesn’t roll.
⦁ D (Drive): This is, of course, the gear you use throughout the drive. Once you are moving at the right speed, the car will automatically shift from first to second to third and so on.
Other than these, there are some gears which are model-specific. For instance, the Baleno which comes with CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) has an L gear which is basically a low-gear mode ideal for driving on slopes and in hilly regions.
What’s more, Maruti Suzuki cars in India with Auto Gear Shift (AGS) give you the option of taking control of gear shifts with the ‘Manual’ mode. As soon as the gear lever is slotted in this mode, you can upshift (+) and downshift (-) as you normally would in a manual transmission car.
⦁ Make Use of the ‘Creep’ function
Keeping the traffic conditions in mind, Maruti Suzuki offers the ‘Creep’ function in its AGS cars in India. If you are in Drive or any other forward gear or even in Reverse, the car will keep on moving slowly forward respectively. This is also called ‘idle speed’. This function makes it very easy to drive in slow-moving traffic or when you’re parking the car. You can simply keep your foot on the brake and use it as needed. If you want to make sure that you don’t move when you don’t want to, you can use the handbrake or select Neutral.
⦁ Dealing with Various Driving Conditions
It is easier to learn how to drive an automatic car. However, if you are used to a manual transmission, there will be some differences.
⦁ Highways: Not very different. Staying in Drive similar to driving in the top gear.
⦁ Peak Traffic: Automatics are in their element here, eliminating the need for frequent shifts between the first and neutral.
⦁ Going Uphill or Towing: Automatic cars these days are equipped with smart technologies that enable the engine and transmission to seamlessly communicate and provide more power to the wheels when required.
⦁ Practice Makes Perfect
The last thing to remember is that the more you practice, the easier it will become for you.. It shouldn’t take you too long, mind!
With these simple tips in mind, it won’t be long before you’re as used to an automatic car as you were to a manual one. Keeping your driving convenience in mind, Maruti Suzuki offers revolutionary automatic transmission technologies that have been optimized for Indian driving conditions, and deliver immense comfort and driving pleasure.