How to Drive Automatic Cars

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Driving automatic cars differs from manual transmission vehicles because there is no clutch or stick shift, but rather a gear selector that puts the car in drive. Drive an automatic vehicle, letting the car switch gears automatically, with instructions from an ASE-certified technician in this free video on driving.

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Video Transcript

All right, in this clip we're going to teach you the basics of driving an automatic transmission vehicle. It's important, the two major differences between an automatic transmission and the manual transmission, one, there is no clutch pedal. So there's really nothing for your left foot to do except just sit idle the entire time you're driving. Secondly, instead of a manual stick shift, you've got essentially a gear selector that allows you to pick different positions from 'park', 'reverse', 'neutral', or just 'drive'. Once you've put in the D position, essentially the vehicle does the rest as far as picking what gear it should be in under what circumstances. It's also important to note you can't take this gear selector out of park unless you've actually depressed your foot onto the brake. That's essentially just to keep you...make sure you know that you want to go into a gear. So once you get yourself ready, situated, buckled in, put your foot on the brake, shift it into drive, take your foot off the brake, and the car will build itself a little momentum. That's because there is no clutch, so there's no way for the vehicle to take full engine power away from the transmission. So you're always kind of putting some sort of power down to the transmission at all times. And the only way to bring yourself to a full stop, actually hold on to the brake. But otherwise, once you get going, it's either 'gas' for go, 'brake' for stop, and it's fairly simple. Now, in some of the modern automatic transmissions, you've got what's called the manual gear selector, or our triptronic, depending on who you're talking to. And that's a separate selection that you can go and adjust to the right or to the left, depending on the manufacturer. You can actually allow yourself to tell the computer what gear you would like to be in. So you shift it just to the 'over' position, and 'down' for down gears. Once again, no clutch, just a simple push down. And 'up' to go up gears. So if I wanted to hold first gear and not allow the vehicle to shift any further than that, I would just put it in this position, push all the way down, and notice the vehicle cannot shift from first until I tell it to with a simple click up. Otherwise, it's fairly simple. You just turn the key on, put your foot on the brake, put it in drive, put your foot on the gas, and off you go.

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