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#1 23-02-08 17:16:20

jo
Member
Registered: 10-11-07
Posts: 27

Driving an automatic car

Just a couple of quick questions on learning in an automatic car.  Is there any website i can view to find out how to do certain manoeuvres in an automatic car, for example hill starts?  I've never actually tried that particular manoeuvre but wouldn't have a clue whether to have my foot on the footbrake or on the accelerator when i release the handbrake. Also in an automatic I only ever use Park, Reverse, Neutral and Drive, yet when I'm driving down a steep hill the only way to stay within the speed limit is to keep braking but I'm sure the motorist/s behind me must be wondering why i keep braking and i feel like I'm winding them up. Is it just me or has anybody else found this a problem?

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23-02-08 17:16:20

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Re: Driving an automatic car



#2 23-02-08 21:17:37

Super Mario
Member
Registered: 05-02-07
Posts: 80

Re: Driving an automatic car

In the automatic Ford Fiesta my instructor has the car stays still when on a hill.  He told me this is because the car keeps wanting to drive forward.  So when I do a hill start I just gently give it some gas and it goes.  With regards to going down a hill the only way to keep the car going at a suitable speed is to apply the brake gently or else the car will just keep going faster and faster.  Don't know if this is very helpful just my experience of driving an automatic.

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#3 23-02-08 23:33:21

ExAdiNigel
Member
From: Plymouth, Devon
Registered: 13-12-04
Posts: 4,739

Re: Driving an automatic car

To help keep the speed down when going down a hill you can simply drop the gear - very much the same as when you drive a manual.  Most fully automatic cars will have the following

P - Park
R - Reverse
N - Neutral
D - Drive - uses all 4 gears
3 - Like drive but only using gears 1, 2 & 3
2 - Like drive but only using gears 1 & 2
1 - Stays in 1st

Hope this helps

Nigel


National Standards Cycling Instructor, Ex Adi

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#4 24-02-08 05:28:37

Zipper
Verified Member
From: Darwin, Northern Territory Aus
Registered: 20-08-04
Posts: 2,690
Website

Re: Driving an automatic car

Hi jo,

...hill starts?  I've never actually tried that particular manoeuvre but wouldn't have a clue whether to have my foot on the footbrake or on the accelerator when i release the handbrake...

Automatic cars can roll backwards in "D" if the gradient is steep enough. Below is the technique used down here in the Northern Territory. Our safety checks differ markedly from yours so I'll stick to the car-control part of the technique only.

You need a sensitive right foot, especially if the engine+transmission has a strong residual pull (tendency to move when in a gear without accelerator applied).

* Make sure the handbrake is applied firmly.

* Apply the footbrake & select "D" or "R" as appropriate (yes you might have to do a hillstart in reverse one day).

* While resting your left hand on the handbrake, gently squeeze the accelerator until you can feel the car "move" on it's suspension. Some cars move more than others, sometimes you can detect the movement by glancing at the centre mirror and seeing the view in the rear window shift slightly. Don't apply too much power or the car will move off dragging the handbrake before you are ready!!  Hold the accelerator steady at this setting.

* After completing your safety checks, release the handbrake and off you go.

Even if the gradient isn't steep enough for the car to roll backwards in "D", the above technique is still used on a fairly steep slope to ensure that the car moves off into traffic at a reasonable speed.

I assume you are having lessons with an instructor? If so, check with him/her first or they might have different ideas.


If you have Adobe Reader on your computer, you might find this helpful.


Zipper ("G'Day Mate!")
I'm not 65! I'm only $59.95+tax
www.drivingnt.com

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#5 01-03-08 21:26:12

dog
Verified Member
Registered: 29-10-06
Posts: 813

Re: Driving an automatic car

I wanted to know this too - I've never driven an automatic car or even been in one, so I want to learn this in case I ever come to driving one.

To drive it you have it in P (park) then you start the engine. To change gear you press down on the foot brake and select R or D. Then does it start moving forwards even when you take your foot off the foot brake?

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#6 01-03-08 23:22:06

Zipper
Verified Member
From: Darwin, Northern Territory Aus
Registered: 20-08-04
Posts: 2,690
Website

Re: Driving an automatic car

...Then does it start moving forwards even when you take your foot off the foot brake?

Yes, most automatics do. With the engine at idle, on level ground they will move forwards in "D" or backwards if in "R" - one of the reasons to have your foot on the brake when selecting "D" or "R". This is often called "residual pull". The effect will be stronger down hill of course.

Automatic gearboxes have clutches which slip constantly. This is why you can stop an automatic car by simply pressing the brake without fear of stalling, the slippery clutch allows the engine to keep spinning at idle.
As you press the accelerator and add engine power, the slip lessens and the engine has a stronger grip on the car, allowing it to be driven off.

On an upward slope, the pull decreases (working against gravity) to the point when the car will remain still at idle revs if the slope is steep enough. On a steeper slope the car will actually roll backwards as soon as a brake is released. Adding more power overcomes this, which is why pressing the accelerator pedal gently is required BEFORE removing the brake.

When you do a normal non-hill-start takeoff the same technique is used but there is no need to apply power before releasing the handbrake, as the car will begin to move as soon as the brake is released.

You are probably aware how weak the handbrake is when compared to the foot brake - most automatic cars can drive off dragging the handbrake when power is applied, so don't rely on the hand brake when shifting into gear, use the foot brake.


Zipper ("G'Day Mate!")
I'm not 65! I'm only $59.95+tax
www.drivingnt.com

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#7 05-03-08 01:02:22

dog
Verified Member
Registered: 29-10-06
Posts: 813

Re: Driving an automatic car

Ah I sort of understand now. The big question: if you're going fast and you jam the brakes on, will it stall or not?

Also the comment about the handbrake being weak - I used to think ages ago that the handbrake would be much stronger than the footbrake but how wrong was I!

I always thought that the foot brake applied even brake force to all wheels. Wrong again! It varies from car to car but I believe it's something like an 80:20 split to the front, since that's where the majority of the braking power is (explains why I have vented disc brakes on the front but drums on the rear). I think a lot of cars have a brake bias valve which can sense the load in the car and will apply more power to the rear brakes if the car has a lot of weight in it - well at least older versions of my car had one (EBD has since replaced this).

Just as a demonstration of how useless the rear brakes are on their own, a friend of mine did an emergency stop on his motorbike in a car park using on the rear brake (with ABS). On gravel, even from 30mph it took almost an eternity to stop! It didn't even look like he was slowing down, it was terrible. Even with the front brake alone he stopped hell of a lot quicker. I think bikers are taught to use a 90:10 front:rear split when emergency braking.

Oh just for a laugh, try using the brake pedal when the servo isn't running, I feel sorry for people who had cars before such technology was invented! I also feel sorry for people who had cars before synchromeshes were invented - although I've been learning recently how to make clutchless gear changes big_smile

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#8 05-03-08 11:23:45

Zipper
Verified Member
From: Darwin, Northern Territory Aus
Registered: 20-08-04
Posts: 2,690
Website

Re: Driving an automatic car

...The big question: if you're going fast and you jam the brakes on, will it stall or not?...

It's unlikely to stall, though some modern engines seem to be a bit touchy about being made to stop suddenly.
I have done emergency stops for real in the auto training cars I've used and the engine always kept running. This is why training in an auto is more risky - they can be harder to stop! Just jamming the brake on won't stall it like happens in a manual car.

I've owned 2 private automatic cars as well.
One was an old Coke-bottle shaped Cortina, the Australian version with a 4.1 litre six shoehorned into the front. I stopped so hard the battery came loose from its mountings but the engine kept running.


Zipper ("G'Day Mate!")
I'm not 65! I'm only $59.95+tax
www.drivingnt.com

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#9 05-03-08 16:27:57

dog
Verified Member
Registered: 29-10-06
Posts: 813

Re: Driving an automatic car

I stopped so hard the battery came loose from its mountings but the engine kept running.

LOL! If I did that in my car I bet I would be plagued by a number of problems lol

Someone I know took his 306 in to get the clutch replaced, he got it back, the left front indicator was jammed on constantly, horn didn't work, airbag light was flashing all the time, rear electric windows stopped working, the list goes on lol big_smile

Seems these cars are renowned for electrical failures!

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