The unpopularity of automatic cars is a thing of past. Today, automatic transmissions are as popular as the manual ones. In India the revolution was brought about by automated manual transmission (AMT) cars. What made the AMT popular is its maintenance costs that are similar to the manual transmissions and high fuel efficiency. Most car manufacturers these days use AMT gearboxes. Here are a few details that you need to take care if you are using AMT cars:
What is AMT?
The AMT is not the conventional automatic gearbox; it doesn't work like a CVT or a DSG gearbox. Though technically they are automatic, the AMT system uses the same mechanism of a manual transmission gearbox. Here, only the functioning of the clutch and the gear is automatic. Usually, when the clutch is depressed, the engine is disconnected from the gearbox, thus enabling gear shift. However, in the AMT, the gear is changed according to the RPM; when the RPM climbs to a certain level, the ECU automatically controls the actuators to operate both the clutch and gearbox in synchronisation. So, AMTs do not have a clutch pedal. Compared to automatic transmissions, the AMT has lower production costs and offers better fuel efficiency. Besides, since there is not much of a difference from manual variants, the popularity of AMTs is on the rise.
Take your foot off accelerator
In manual transmission cars, one needs to take the foot off the accelerator to change gear. The same theory can be tried in AMT cars. If the gear needs to be changed (when the gear indication cluster glows), take your foot off the accelerator and the transmission control unit will shift the gear. If you want to downshift, press the brake slightly. This system will result in less energy loss and improve fuel efficiency.
Use hand brake
Usually budget cars are equipped with AMTs. Hence, they may not feature hill hold control and hill descend control systems. Because of this, the car could roll back or forward on hill starts. So, when you start the car after stopping on an incline or a descent, use the hand brake to stop roll back or forward. Of late, several new generation AMT cars come with technologies like hill hold control and hill descent control.
No accelerator in traffic blocks
New generation AMT cars have advanced features compared to their predecessors. For example, the 'creep function' helps the car move at a slow speed in heavy traffic. Take your foot off the brake and the car creeps forward (similar to releasing the clutch). So, in heavy traffic, you just need to take your foot off the brake. This function is a boon in slow-moving traffic.
Be careful while overtaking
It is better to avoid sudden overtaking in AMT cars. That is because, the AMT cars need time to respond and you may not get enough speed to complete the manoeuvre. It is best advised to perform such moves in manual mode.
Best suitable for city
AMT cars are best suited for city commute. While those using the car in flat regions may find it convenient, those living in hilly areas may not.