Metro cities here in India are very much crowded. With so many people living in a confined place, it is very normal to have a lot of cars. Yes! this leads to traffic jams. But is driving in traffic fun? Certainly not with a manual transmission. That said, the automatic transmission is expensive to manufacture and maintain. Then comes a cheaper alternative, AMT or ‘Automated Manual Transmission’.
These transmissions are certainly not fun to drive but they get the job done. The job of commuting. Well, maintaining an AMT is indeed easy and fairly cheap. But with some extra care, you can surely extract even more running time from the AMT gearbox. So, without wasting any further time, let’s get started.
Never Switch Modes or Select Gears While on the Move
First things first, here modes refer to different gear selections on the shifter viz, reverse, neutral, drive and manual mode. Coming back to the topic, one should never switch or try to change the selection when the car is moving. Trying to engage reverse gear when driving forward can severely damage the gearbox (this is when the car allows you to do so). If not, try not to force the selection.
Driving Down the Hill in Neutral
The basic thumb rule of driving is staying in control all the time and driving the car downhill with neutral selected will surely take some of your control over the car. Secondly, engine braking is one of the key elements when driving in hilly areas and neutral does not allow that. With no engine braking, the braking system of the vehicle undergoes unnecessary loads and can lead to brake fade.
Driving with Both the Feet
Explaining this is get really funny and you’ll need to experience it by yourself to understand it. Here in India, more than 90% of people learn driving in a car with a stick shift. This is where things get wrong. That said, one driving an AMT or any automatic for that matter, out left foot unintentionally pushes the brake at its maximum actuation stopping the car suddenly. This leads to a dangerous situation out on public roads. So it is recommended to drive with one foot.
PS. Avoid resting your left foot on the brake pedal.
Do not Rev the Car and Shift Modes Simultaneously
This is something many of the people ignore and changing the gears when the revs are high can reduce the life of the clutch. This is because when we change the gears in an AMT the clutch is disengaged, meaning, the transmission is having no power hence it’ll be slowing down its rotation (Science). But when we change the gears, to reverse or drive, at high revs, the engine is rotating at a considerably high speed than the transmission. This results in the clutch to slip more hence reducing its life.
Don’t Keep the Engine on the Boil
One of the common problems with AMTs is that they are a bit slow to respond. Keeping the engine at drivable revs will extract more mileage from your ride. But revving the car’s engine to the heavens can lead the economy number tumble down quickly. Secondly, the transmission will have to work a little harder as they are not meant for aggressive driving, hence the huge jerk in between gearshifts.
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Do Not Launch the Vehicle
Launching the car is a really bad idea in an Automatic. Well, this is because the clutch takes slightly more time to engage. In the meantime, when launching, the revs climb high hence the transmission will have some delay, in turn, the clutch has to do more work. Again, reducing its average running hours.
Avoid Driving the Vehicle With Low Fuel
Driving any vehicle especially an AMT constantly on low fuel will tend to have a toll on the engine. Well, with low fuel, the fuel pump might suck in air instead of fuel and this can lead to irregular fuel delivery in the engine. That said, the engine not only required the fuel to combust but also to cool some of its components down.
Choose Gears Wisely when Shifting Manually
It is funny to see some cars with AMT have a manual override of the gear shifts. Keeping that side, if your car has the override, you should carefully choose the gears. This is because shifting the gears in an AMT takes some time and it requires rhythm to get used to it. That said, one should plan the overtakes, and every move beforehand in an AMT. This also applies when downshifting. You’ll see coming down the gears quickly will lead the revs to climb real quick putting the transmission and the gearbox under unnecessary load.
Go Easy on the Throttle
As said earlier, AMT takes time to react to sudden and quick inputs, expecting more than that can lead to nothing but disappointment. Keeping that in mind, one should not demand more than what this transmission is capable of. The best way to live with an AMT is planning the moves live overtakes beforehand.
Put the Car in Neutral when in Heavy Traffic or Traffic lights
Unlike an automatic transmission, AMT requires constant shifting from drive to neutral when the car is stationary. This is because the AMT as we shift to drive the clutch is already engaged allowing the car to creep forward. Holding the car in traffic jams and on traffic lights with the brakes can burden the brakes with excess load reducing its life.
Well, AMT is very different from the conventional automatic transmissions (DCT, CVT or Torque Converter). Treating an AMT as an automatic transmission is like treating your dog like a cat.4