8 mistakes when driving an automated manual transmission

Sep 10, 2019 | Same topic: Let's drive smart!
Having an AMT car will be the best. However, don't too careless cause there are 8 common mistakes when driving AMT that you should be aware of.

Combining the control of a manual transmission with the convenience of an automatic, automated manual transmission or AMTs use actuators instead of a clutch. Many drivers find an AMT easier to drive compared to a manual because of the clutchless setup.


There are 8 things should not be done with your AMT

But while the convenience part might be misconstrued as a license to drive with abandon, there are still certain things that shouldn’t be done on an AMT. If you’re getting a vehicle equipped with such a gearbox, it would be smart to get to know how it really works, or just leave it in automatic mode.

Philkotse.com brings you these tips on how to properly drive an AMT not only to help you maximize the benefits it brings but to also prolong its service life.

1. AMTs are vastly different from a manual or automatic transmission

AMTs are not quite like either manual or automatic transmissions, because they’re an amalgam of both gearboxes. An AMT might use the same mechanism as a manual, but the clutch and gear shifts are automated.

Automated manual transmission structure

AMTs are not quite like either manual or automatic transmissions, because they’re an amalgam of both gearboxes

AMTs have a more direct connection to the engine and wheels, unlike a standard automatic transmission that uses a torque converter or a CVT that relies on belts and pulleys; this makes an AMT more suitable for high-performance driving applications. The transmission is forgiving to a fault, so try to get a feel for it instead of prematurely going all the way.

>>> Wonder yourself: Is CVT worth it when compared to AMT?

2. Don’t neglect the use of the handbrake

You might be able to hang the clutch on a manual or have a fairly easy time with the hold function on an automatic. This isn’t the case on an AMT, so the handbrake should be engaged when on an incline to hold the car in place.

car handbrake

Car handbrake should be engaged when on an incline to hold the car in place

Also, this is a far safer method of keeping the car in place instead of tapping the gas pedal lightly, since it does not put excess pressure on the transmission.

3. Lay off the gas pedal in heavy traffic

Heavy traffic can be a pain either on your left foot (for the clutch) or the right foot (operating the brake and gas pedal). Fortunately, AMTs have developed a “creep” function that enables the car to move forward at a snail’s pace without the need for throttle input, helpful in stop-and-go traffic while reducing wear and tear on the transmission.

cars in heavy traffic

You should not lay off the gas pedal in heavy traffic

4. Don’t rely on it too much for overtaking

The electronic components in an AMT take time to shift and are not as instantaneous as a mechanical or hydraulic linkage on a manual or automatic transmission, respectively. As such, cars with AMTs need more time to engage, which means unplanned overtakes are a no-no.

car's overtaking the other

Overtaking should not be used so often

If your AMT comes with a manual mode, engaging it allows you to downshift faster, reducing the time it takes for the transmission to make up its mind.

>>> Here are tips for you: Overtaking rules in the Philippines every driver must know.

5. Engine braking does not work well on AMTs

The principle of engine braking involves using the clutch to slow down the drivetrain by not adding throttle input. This will not be of much help on an AMT since it doesn’t have a clutch, to begin with. The best thing to do would be to use the foot brake to slow the vehicle down.

car pedal

This will not be of much help on an AMT since it doesn’t have a clutch, to begin with

6. Don’t force the Automated Manual Transmission (AMT) on hills and inclines

AMTs make it easier for the driver to tackle uphill roads, which means you don’t need to floor the gas to build a running start; you’ll only end up damaging the transmission. AMTs work best with the proper use of the manual or sport mode working in concert with the handbrake.

car is going up hill

Remember not to force your AMT to go up hills

>>> More to know: Learn about the Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) & Downhill Assist Control (DAC).

7. Don’t abuse the manual mode or sport mode

As mentioned, most AMTs have a manual mode that mimics shifting the gears manually, without the clutch, although automatic is still the default mode, driven by the ECU and actuator. Forcing it to act the same way a manual transmission would damage the electronic components and make the AMT malfunction.

8. Never do a jackrabbit start on an AMT from a stationary position

Again, remember that an AMT is computer-controlled, so performing jackrabbit starts with it is not going to be good for the differential.


AMT is said to drive, what do you think?

For most drivers, an AMT is seemingly easy to drive, while granting a degree of control where gear shifts are concerned. It’s just simply one of those automotive advancements that make our lives as motorists so much easier.

Just don’t forget that, as with anything else engineered, AMTs do have design and functional limits. Understanding what those limits are is key to being able to properly utilize such transmission in order to get a smooth and rewarding driving experience in return.

Source: Norjan Ismail Abbas