Automatic transmission – how to drive an automatic car

How to avoid the usual mistakes made in a car with automatic transmission, to prolong its lifespan and be fuel efficient.

Cars equipped with automatic transmission are increasingly common on the Czech market, and the word ‘automatic’ used in connection with cars is now well recognised. We would like to provide you with a couple of tips on how to correctly and efficiently use the automatic transmission and how to avoid typical mistakes that may lead to its having a reduced lifespan.

Do not put your car in neutral when at a red light

Let’s start with the basic errors that male drivers tend not to make, but which are very common with women. If you’re driving an automatic, you should never shift to neutral (N) when waiting at the lights. Just leave the lever in the (D) position, even when the lights have just turned red. Of course, you keep your foot on the brake so the vehicle doesn’t move, but there’s no reason to put the car into neutral. Shifting to (N) or (P) is good when you know that your stop is going to take a short while, for instance at a level crossing. The best option here would be to shift the transmission into the parking position (P) and turn the engine off.

Use the parking brake before shifting into the P position

Another very important rule for ensuring a long transmission lifespan is to know how to use your parking brake. Wherever you stop, it doesn’t matter if you are on a flat road or a hill, use your parking brake first and only then shift your transmission into the (P) position and turn your engine off. The reason is to avoid the weight of the not-fully-stopped car being transferred onto the automatic transmission. You can try this yourself. Without using the parking brake, when shifting from (P) to (D) or (R) you can feel that the lever is little “heavy”. The reason for this is that you have left the full weight of the car resting only on the transmission. This leads to faster wear and tear, and eventual damage to the transmission.

Last but not least, a little help with your fuel efficiency.

When outside the city at a speed of 90 km/h, accelerate a little bit above the needed speed (approx. 95–97 km/h). Subsequently, release the accelerator and use only your momentum to decelerate down to required speed. Many drivers keep their foot on the accelerator. This driving style increases fuel consumption by up to 35%. So, to drive more efficiently with an automatic transmission, try to reach (without a kick-down) a little higher speed than required. Then, take your foot off the pedal and maintain your speed using only light corrections with the accelerator.

Lifespan of the automatic transmission fluid

Another hot topic when talking about automatic transmission is its fluid lifespan. Should it be changed regularly or will it last as long as the car itself? Not even manufacturers can agree on an answer to this question.




An article on the topic “Automatic transmission fluid change – yes/no” is coming soon.

Quantum Tuning provides professional chip tuning for vehicles fitted with automatic transmission. When tuning the software in the ECU, we need to consider the type of transmission fitted in the car. That’s because different approaches are required to engine map adjustments. Every company providing chip tuning should always ask what type of transmission your car has.

Have you got any technical queries about automatic transmissions? Contact us on and we will respond as soon as possible.