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Automatic Cars

Community Veteran
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Registered: 02-08-2007

Automatic Cars

Both myself and swmbo have always had cars with a manual gear box and I certainly have no intention of changing but swmbo was wondering about getting a automatic car when the current one conks out, due for mot in in July but being 12 years old if expensive or extensive repairs are needed it might be better to consider another car.

So question is this has anyone on the forum gone from a manual to automatic car ?

Views appreciated, for or against.

I understand repairs to automatic gear boxes are expensive, or at least they were.

69 REPLIES
Community Veteran
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Re: Automatic Cars

I can't comment on repair costs, just through driving.

I assume @gleneagles you've not driven an auto before, I have an auto and manual.

First time I drove in Florida was the first time I drive an auto. It's not difficult but a bit strange.

Main things I would say are:

Creep - if the car isn't in N but D the car will slowly move forward. You can do the lazy approach of leaving it in D if you can't be bothered to change to N by keeping your foot on the brake so it doesn't move. It is quite cool though when going through slow moving traffic. Really when stationary change from D to N, then back the other way say when traffic lights change to green of course.

Kickdown - so when in D if you put your foot on the accelerator hard the floor it will drop a gear and speed up rapidly. That is pretty handy when say you're joining a motorway from a slip road and need to build up speed quickly.

My friend got an auto about 6 months ago, and I joked about Kickdown as he didn't know about it. He then tried it down a side road where I live with a sharp right turn. It worked, but I think I needed a change of underwear after that boost of accerelation. 

Minivanman
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Re: Automatic Cars

I used to have an automatic years ago, it was a mark three Zodiac for those with memory of such things. Because of the cost of repairs (something to do with a torque converter) I had to practically dump it when the reverse packed up, but it was a dream to drive otherwise.

Would I buy another one? Well perhaps, because my hearing is now so bad I don't always change gear when I should.  What I do hear is Mrs Minivanman shouting above the noise "you do have another gear y'know!" Cheesy

 

I know where I am, I've been lost here before.
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Re: Automatic Cars

I haven't driven a auto for over 30 years now, but I will have one for a few days on Thursday (the body shop is FINALLY repairing my car from the accident over 2 weeks ago), the loan car is an auto.
It is easier to drive as you don't have to worry about changing gear when slowing down or going up hill etc. It used to be a hit on fuel economy but I believe modern boxes are better. (more than 3 gears now)
PowerLee
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Re: Automatic Cars

Avoid anything with a dual clutch auto box - VW DSG & Ford Powershift etc, they are proven unreliable many complain they have poor / jerky control during trying to carry out low speed parking.

 

Avoid anything with an automated clutch system.

 

 

Avoid anything CVT - unless it has a Toyota / Lexus badge on it

 

 

 

A modern torque convertor auto box is what you really want. 

 

 

 

 

rongtw
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Re: Automatic Cars

Yes Ford Sad  just got rid of my focus 6 month ago , 3 years old 2x Auto box swaps .

Apart from the the problems its nice to drive a Auto box , stop and start two pedals is great Thumbs Up

I moved to a manual , as my Mitsubishi ASX the  auto version is top of the range only, deposit was too much for me

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Infinity
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Re: Automatic Cars

Best advice I was given when first driving an Automatic Gearbox car......

 

Tuck your Left leg under the drivers seat.

 

Otherwise, going from a manual car, when you "automatically" go to press the clutch pedal when you want to change gear, you will slam on the Brakes !!!

 

You will really slam on the brakes !!!

 

You will really, really  slam on the brakes !!!

 

Scary, especially to any following vehicles....

 

 

I would never go back to a Manual Gearbox car out of choice.

 

But it is amazing, how it all comes back to you when you do have to drive a manual, for example  a service loaner.

 

On all my cars, which are all automatic, on a slight hill, ie approaching a junction, in D (Drive), the engine/gearbox combination will hold the car static, on tickover, until you depress the accelerator.

 

A useful feature.

 

I also am in the habit of not holding the car stopped with the brakes, when in Drive, for example at traffic lights.

 

I will always select Park, for the duration, it is only a quick movement to again select Drive to move off, it is too easy to not properly depress the brake pedal when held for a while.

 

And on mine, there is no rollback after selecting drive.

 

And it means your brake lights are not dazzling following motorists.

 

And the best advantage, when in slow moving traffic, you are not constantly depressing the clutch pedal, which usually requires some force, giving left leg ache after a while.

 

On a flat road, there is sufficient "creep" to gently and slowly move the car forwards.

 

 

When you first use an automatic car, get some experience of how it feels and reacts on an empty car park, or other large space.

 

Don't drive straight out into traffic, if you can help it.

 

Kickdown will scare the pants off you, until you learn to control it.

 

 

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Re: Automatic Cars

I've only driven an auromatic a few times when mine was being serviced/MOT. I hated it and really missed the control of using the gears.

 

I never had an issue of accidentally pressing the brake as the pedal was in the usual place so my left foot was well away from it.

 

As for creeping, no problems with a manual in first gear. I would never choose an automatic but SWMBO prefers them having tried it.

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beeceegee
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Re: Automatic Cars

I drove on manual gearboxes for many years after passing my test in 1981 (Audi, Peugeot, Mazda, BMW), then got a BMW330 on an auto box, which I ran for 7 years, After that I went back to a manual gearbox for 4 years - never again! I am a convert to automatics.

@PowerLee wrote:

Avoid anything with a dual clutch auto box - VW DSG & Ford Powershift etc, they are proven unreliable many complain they have poor / jerky control during trying to carry out low speed parking.


I am currently running a Seat Leon with the DSG box, effectively a manual gearbox with electro-mechanically controlled shift. I understand what you say about lack of finesse at low speed manoeuvering (certainly when compared to a manual gearbox), but I soon got used to it. I've had it nearly 3 years, done 45k miles and had no problems with it at all. My wife, who has always driven small conventional autos now runs a Seat Ibiza with the same 7 speed DSG; no complaints at all.
Infinity
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Re: Automatic Cars


@Alex wrote:

 

My friend got an auto about 6 months ago, and I joked about Kickdown as he didn't know about it. He then tried it down a side road where I live with a sharp right turn. It worked, but I think I needed a change of underwear after that boost of accerelation. 


 

After a scary experience, I never accelerate whilst on or coming out of a roundabout, until travelling in a straight line after exiting the roundabout.

Kickdown, especially on the 4.7l V8 Jeep GC is like accelerating in a rocket, and is scary enough in a straight line.

A gentle throttle increase is powerful enough, kickdown really does accelerate at a rate of knots, and does not give you time to manoeuvre at all.

 

Especially in a tall vehicle.

 

In the USA, I had a days experience trial in a Jeep GC SRT with Launch control !!

(0-60 in 3.5 seconds)

I don't think I will be buying one of those !!

(Google Jeep SRT Launch Control)

 

A previous car, if you pressed kickdown hard, depending on speed etc, would kickdown TWO gears !!

DaveyH
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Re: Automatic Cars

I drive both regularly and it's a non issue. 

 

For those that struggle with autos try driving an EV with regen braking, single pedal driving takes some getting used to. Wink Cool

Infinity
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Re: Automatic Cars


@HairyMcbiker wrote:
I haven't driven a auto for over 30 years now, but I will have one for a few days on Thursday (the body shop is FINALLY repairing my car from the accident over 2 weeks ago), the loan car is an auto.
It is easier to drive as you don't have to worry about changing gear when slowing down or going up hill etc. It used to be a hit on fuel economy but I believe modern boxes are better. (more than 3 gears now)

 

I am in the habit of selecting a lower gear on the Auto box when approaching a descending hill, to give some engine braking, and not having to keep the brakes on constantly.

Also, the auto box steering wheel manual gear selector paddles are a convenient way of doing this.

Infinity
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Re: Automatic Cars


@DaveyH wrote:

 

For those that struggle with autos try driving an EV with regen braking, single pedal driving takes some getting used to. Wink Cool


 

My Hybrid Jazz also uses regen braking IMA drive battery charging, I can't say I've noticed any change in performance whilst this is taking place.

It also charges the battery if I take my foot off the accelerator, whilst temporarily coasting, so no direct braking involved.

 

I only know it's happening because of the dashboard display graphic, and meter.

 

And the MPG meter shoots up from 55mpg to well over 100mpg !

 

 

Infinity
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Re: Automatic Cars


@Mav wrote:

 

I never had an issue of accidentally pressing the brake as the pedal was in the usual place so my left foot was well away from it.

 


On all my automatics over the years, the brake pedal has always been quite large & wide, so potentially quite easy to accidentally depress the pedal.

 

But having a foot rest helps, locating the left foot, well off to one side.

PowerLee
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Re: Automatic Cars


@DaveyH wrote:

 

 

For those that struggle with autos try driving an EV with regen braking, single pedal driving takes some getting used to. Wink Cool


 

 Easy, I do it everyday at work, electric forklifts have had regen braking for years - an engineer colleague i know had a new model of electric counter balance truck that he was setting up, he adjusted the regen braking setting a bit to high, accelerated away then took his foot of the pedal, it stopped so quickly the rear wheels lifted of the floor.