How To Drive An Automatic Car-FULL Tutorial For Beginners

Why choose wikiHow?
wikiHow marks an article as reader approved once we have received enough feedback to know that most readers were able to successfully complete the task. In this case, we have also received several testimonials from our readers, who told us how this article truly helped them.

How to Drive a Car With an Automatic Transmission

Three Parts:

Cars with automatic transmissions are very popular for both new and experienced drivers, as they are generally simpler to operate than manual transmissions and can be more comfortable for long trips. These simple steps will guide you in learning to operate an automatic transmission, but remember: before operating any motor vehicle, please make sure you have a valid driver's license and understand all local traffic laws.


Preparing to Drive

  1. Get into your car.Unlock the vehicle with a clicker or key and climb into the driver's side.
  2. Adjust the car to your needs.Adjust your seat in any direction you are able to/find necessary so that you can comfortably reach any controls and see well out of windows. Move the mirrors so you can see behind and to the sides of the vehicle clearly. Identify the car's blind spots before you start driving, so that you can check them before making any turns or lane changes.
  3. Identify the controls.It essential to find the accelerator and brake pedals, the steering wheel, the gear selector lever, the light controls, the defroster, and the windshield wipers before you begin.
    • The brake and accelerator pedals are located at the bottom front of the area where your feet are. The brake pedal is on the left, the accelerator is on the right.
    • The steering wheel is the large wheel in the center of the driver's console. Turn it to the left and right to turn the wheels of the vehicle.
    • Located on the steering column (usually on the left side) is a small lever that has a rest position in the middle and two locking positions above and below. This is the turn signal. Often on the left side of the steering wheel mounted into the console or a knob on one of the levers on the steering column is the control which turns the headlights on and off.
    • The gear selector lever will usually be in one of two places: it is either mounted to the right side of the steering column or in-between the driver's and passenger's seats. It will have a display showing gear indicators, usually marked with the letters "P", "D", "N", and "R" and a few numbers. On steering-column shifting levers, this display is usually located on the instrument panel, underneath the speedometer.
  4. Fasten your seat belt.Ensure that you and any passengers in your vehicle are wearing seat belts at all times.

Operating the Vehicle in "Drive"

  1. Start the car.Place your right foot on the brake pedal and push it down, then insert the key and turn it clockwise to start the vehicle.
  2. Select your gear.Keep your foot on the brake pedal and shift the gear lever into "Drive." This gear is marked with a "D" on the display panel, and will be highlighted when you've successfully selected it.
    • For shift levers mounted on the steering column, pull the lever towards you before moving it up and down to select a gear.
    • For shift levers mounted on the floor, there is usually a side button to unlock the lever. It can then be moved along its track into position.
  3. Release the parking brake.This is either a lever between the two front seats or a pedal on the far left side of the foot area. There may be a release lever above the lower parking brake or a button to push on the topside model before you can disengage it.
  4. Check your surroundings.Look all around the car, including blind spots, to see if there are any moving objects or beings in the vicinity. Make sure to keep your eyes mainly on the direction you're moving.
  5. Get your car moving.Slowly release pressure on the brake pedal and the car will start to move slowly. Take your foot off the brake, use the same foot to press the gas pedal gently, and the car will begin to move faster. There is no need to change gears in relation to speed in regular road driving.
  6. Turn the steering wheel to turn the car.In "drive," turn it to the left to turn the car left and turn it to the right to turn the car right.
  7. Apply the brakes to slow or stop the car.Take your right foot off the accelerator pedal and move it to the brake, applying gradual pressure so as not to jerk to a halt. When you wish to start again, switch your foot back to the accelerator.
  8. Park the car.When you have reached your destination, bring the vehicle to a complete stop by applying gradual pressure to the brake pedal and slide the shift lever back into the "P" position. Turn off the engine by turning the key counter-clockwise. Don't forget to turn off the headlights and apply the parking brake before getting out of the car.

Operating Alternative Gears

  1. Travel in Reverse.If you need to travel backward, make sure the vehicle is at acompletestop before changing gears in or out of "reverse." Slide the gear shift to select the gear marked "R" and check behind/ around you for any possible obstructions. Gently remove your foot from the brake and place it on the accelerator.
    • When turning in Reverse, your car will turn in the same direction that you turn the wheel. You're just going backwards, so the end of the car will swing in that direction, rather than the front.
  2. Use "neutral." The "neutral" gear is only to be used when you have no need to control the speed of your car,notwhen driving regularly. Examples of this include when idling parked for a short time or when being pushed/towed.
  3. Use the lower gears.The gears marked "1," "2," and "3" are known as lower gears. These can work as a sort of in-engine brake system when you need to save your actual brakes. Going is a good use of this technique. 1st gear, however, is only to be used when you must go very slowly. There is no need to stop when shifting between these gears and Drive.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    Which gear should be for parking in an inclined position?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Your gear should be in P because in a neutral gear without applying any breaks (pedal or handbrake), there is a high possibility that the car may move down depending on the angle of inclination.
  • Question
    Can you keep on Neutral when driving down a hill?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    You can, but it is often illegal in some countries. When the car is in gear, the friction between the engine and the gearbox (as they are connected) will slow the car down (this is known as engine braking). However, in neutral, the engine and the gearbox are no longer connected, which means this friction no longer occurs. This means more braking power will be required to stop, which can be dangerous when going down hill as your speed will increase.
  • Question
    Why must I drive with only one foot?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    For an automatic transmission, it is not necessary to use two feet, because you should never hit the brakes and the accelerator at the same time. Use the rest provided for your second foot.
  • Question
    Will my car go in reverse if I use the brake?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    No. The brake slows down your forward momentum by converting kinetic energy from rotating wheels into heat, or in the case of hybrids, electrical potential energy to store in batteries. Once the car is slowed/stopped, you'd have to engage reverse gear to go into reverse.
  • Question
    Does the brake need to be depressed when putting the car in neutral?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Yes, if you don't want the car to move.
  • Question
    When stationery, where should the gear lever be positioned?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    If you are parked, place the lever in P (park). If you are stopped for a traffic signal or similar, leave the lever in D (drive) and keep your foot on the brake.
  • Question
    If I release the brake too quickly, will the car turn off? Like it does in a manual transmission when the clutch is released fast?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    No. In a conventional automatic, a torque converter is used, which allows the engine to stay connected to the transmission so you can come to a complete stop without the car stalling.
  • Question
    My flying wheel keeps breaking. What can be the cause? I often change to neutral in regular drive, in the name of saving fuel consumption, and do not stop completely before changing to drive/neutral/park. Could that be the cause of the flying wheel getting destroyed?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Going into park while the car is moving is a massive no-no. When you put the car into park, a prawl locks the output gear and prevents it from turning. If you engage park whilst the car is moving, you will destroy either the prawl or the output gear (which is a very expensive job to fix). Just leave the car in drive until you come to park up unless you're stuck in a traffic jam. You'll have more control of the car and in some situations leaving it in drive provides better fuel economy (in a modern car) as the engine will use the speed of the wheels to keep the engine rotating rather than providing fuel (in neutral it cannot do that).
  • Question
    When stopping in traffic for a short period, can I apply N and also pull out the hand brake?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    You can, but it's advised to keep it in D (unless you're stuck there for awhile). It won't harm the gearbox.
  • Question
    Some cars have gears labeled S and B. What are they?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    S stands for "sport". On twisty roads, this allows you to keep your RPM up as you wind through corners. B doesn't have anything it stands for. B increases engine drag so that you can slow your car when going down a hill.
Unanswered Questions
  • Do you need to kick down on the accelerator to drop down a gear when overtaking quickly?
  • Do you have to apply the brake when shifting the lever from one position to the other
Ask a Question
200 characters left
Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered.
  • Check your mirrors often.
  • Drive defensively and pay attention to your surroundings when you are operating any motor vehicle.
  • Donotuse one foot for the brake pedal and the other for the accelerator pedal. Use your right foot for both pedals and leave your left foot on the floor.
  • Apply pressure to both the brake and accelerator pedals gently and gradually.
  • Always pay attention to traffic signals.


  • Keep your eyes on the road; don't text and drive.
  • Follow all local traffic laws and always drive with a valid license.
  • Never operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.
  • Lock your car when leaving it unattended.
  • Always come to a complete stop before switching to P or serious transmission damage could result.
  • When changing from 'R' to 'D' or vice versa, the car must be completely stationary before selecting either 'R' or 'D' or else it could cause serious damage to the transmission.

Related wikiHows

Article Info

Categories: |

In other languages:

Italiano: , Español: , Français: , Deutsch: , Português: , Русский: , 中文: , Bahasa Indonesia: , Nederlands: , العربية: , 한국어: , Čeština: , ไทย: , 日本語: , Türkçe: 

Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 2,181,008 times.
Did this article help you?
of readers found this articlehelpful.
4 votes - 100%
Click a star to add your vote
100% of people told us that this article helped them.
Views: 2,181,008

Quick Summary

To drive a car with an automatic transmission, first start the car withyour right foot pushed down on the brake pedal. Then, switch the gear lever from "park" to "drive" without letting up on the brake. Check your surroundings to make sure there aren't any people, cars, or animals nearby, then slowly release the brake pedal to start moving forward. Turn the steering wheel to the left to go left, or the right to go right. When you're ready to accelerate, slowly push down on the gas pedal with your right foot.

Success Stories

Ryan Phyo

Oct 4

"It's very helpful for me. Thank you very much, wikiHow!"

Franklin Kizito

Sep 28

"I have just started driving an automatic car. The article has helped understand how to use the various positions ofthe gear shift. Please continue with such tips to support us driving safely."

Felice Jackman

Sep 21

"Have always driven a manual car, so these tips for an automatic were first class and easily understood."

Ameer Jurdi

Aug 26

"Always add signals before turning the respective direction!"

Ndugwa Paul

Aug 13

"It was so useful to me."

Z. Elm

Aug 1

"I have been learning to drive in a manual car without success as I am very anxious it was recommended to me to tryan automatic. This article is so simple and to the point I now feel at ease, thank you so much"

Evi Georgiadou

May 5

"I now know that I must shift the gear to position "P" before ignition. Thank you very much."

P. D. Gollapalli Das

May 2

"I am new to automatic transmission cars. Recently I purchased a new one with auto transmission. After reading allthe above tips, I learned to my drive my car with ease. Thanks for the above driving tips."

Mohammed Al Soori

May 27, 2019

"I've been searching for a long time how to drive automatic cars, and I've watched so many tutorial YouTube video aswell, but few benefit me. Your article is outstanding. It gave the basics and fundamentals on driving. I now have a much greater knowledge on driving and feel like I can start driving right away. Thanks a lot!"

Rene Cajipe

Aug 22, 2019

"Since this is my first time to drive an automatic transmission vehicle, this article gave me step-by-stepinstructions that are easy to understand. The Q&A portion also helped, as most of the questions I had in mind were featured in it."
Rated this article:


Jun 19, 2019

"I am a beginner in driving, and reading your article helped me a lot to understand better the basics in learninghow to drive a car with automatic transmission. Thank you very much, and more power to all of you. God bless!"

David Murphy

Aug 9, 2019

"I was not sure which foot to use to operate the brake pedal. I started using my left foot for the the first 2 days,but found I was not relaxed & the pedal was too sensitive. After reading this, I shall try my right foot."

J. F.

Feb 14, 2019

"Having always driven manual, switching to automatic seemed very daunting. However, I just came across these verydetailed instructions and all my questions have been clarified. Thank you for a foolproof manual. "

Robin Lacey

Feb 18, 2019

"The whole article is in simple, straightforward English that caters to all abilities to read and understand. Helpedby the pictorials as well, by showing hand and foot movements with the appropriate explanations."

Leyla Mohamed

Oct 18, 2019

"This article is exactly what I've been looking for so long! I found almost everything that I needed to know abouthow to drive an automatic car. You guys are better than so-called driving schools. Thanks a lot!"

Marcel Rodriguez

Mar 15

"I'm a beginner and have no experience in driving manual or automatic transmission, but on reading your articles, Ilearned many things. It seems I know now how to drive an automatic transmission. It's great!"

Kay Strong

Jun 17, 2019

"Good to refresher, as I have hired a car next week and chose automatic. I will be navigating unfamiliar towns andvillages and I thought it would be one less thing to worry about with looking for directions!"

Stella Tutina

May 11, 2019

"It was a great experience reading this article - made me think I'm in a driving class. Automatic cars are suchsimplifiers that I don't need a class anymore, this is enough. Maybe just some more practice."

Julie Milthorp

Jul 6, 2019

"Good, clear instructions. By clarifying a few points with the driver of an automatic car, I have made myself cribcards (not to be used while driving!) to use as a refresher before driving an automatic."

Jens Rico

Feb 16

"I really love the fact that everything in this article was broken down piece by piece. I actually learnt how todrive with this article, I didn't apply for driving school, and now I'm an expert."

Linex Mugambi

Jul 6, 2019

"I have always been fascinated by cars, Toyota Hiace to be specific! (I have not had the chance to own one yet,unfortunately). I've loved every tip you've given here! God bless."

Otuya Casmir

Jun 22, 2019

"I really enjoyed this teaching. Now I can be able to understand some setting things that I have been seeing in thecar, but have not known the use and how to operate them."
Rated this article:

J. Connon

Jun 30, 2019

"I am on holiday renting an automatic. I have only driven manual cars before, and this article told me all I neededto know quickly and clearly to help me get on my way. "
Rated this article:

Julia Ford

Jun 17, 2019

"It's been many years since I drove an automatic car, so the instructions given were helpful as they were easy tofollow, and the graphics I found to be well-presented."
Rated this article:

Suresh Chandra Kuchchangi

Jul 6, 2019

"Very educational. Every step of driving an auto transmission car has been vividly explained. I was driving normalcar for the last 23 yrs. Satisfied. Thank you. "
Rated this article:

Angel Booth

Jul 17, 2019

"Have been driving manual for many, many years - just been given an automatic, having not driven one for 25 years.Article reminded me how simple it is."
Rated this article:

Baba Adams

Jul 24, 2019

"I'm 15 and can drive thanks to you guys and no one had to teach me. I just payed attention and read from this site,I couldn't recommend it enough."

Aziz Ur Rehman Babar

May 2, 2019

"The concept of starting and stopping at traffic signals has been made clear by reading these points. It helped inclearing some misconceptions."
Rated this article:

Victoria P.

Aug 14, 2019

"Helped me to get familiar with the parts of the car in the drivers seat and gave me information to prepare for whenI actually start driving."
Rated this article:

Beatrice Washington

Jun 18, 2019

"Very good teaching, I did not know how to go about how to drive.

Video: CAR Chalana SiKHIYE Sirf 20 Minutes Me. How to DRIVE A CAR?

How to Drive a Car With an Automatic Transmission
How to Drive a Car With an Automatic Transmission images

2019 year
2019 year - How to Drive a Car With an Automatic Transmission pictures

How to Drive a Car With an Automatic Transmission forecasting
How to Drive a Car With an Automatic Transmission forecasting photo

How to Drive a Car With an Automatic Transmission foto
How to Drive a Car With an Automatic Transmission pics

How to Drive a Car With an Automatic Transmission How to Drive a Car With an Automatic Transmission new photo
How to Drive a Car With an Automatic Transmission new images

picture How to Drive a Car With an Automatic Transmission
foto How to Drive a Car With an Automatic Transmission

Watch How to Drive a Car With an Automatic Transmission video
Watch How to Drive a Car With an Automatic Transmission video

Discussion on this topic: How to Drive a Car With an , how-to-drive-a-car-with-an/
Discussion on this topic: How to Drive a Car With an , how-to-drive-a-car-with-an/ , how-to-drive-a-car-with-an/

Related News

15 Effective Home Remedies To Treat Rashes Under Breasts
10 Things to Know Before You Become a BottleBrunette
How to Clean Vinyl Records
30 Ways to Cook Chicken and 26 Chicken Recipes
Todo lo que debes saber sobre tu himen
How to Stay Socially Engaged as You Age
Does washing your hair at night make it greasier the next morning
Nutty Asian Noodles
Faccia a faccia con le labbra carnose, ecco i trucchi per avere una bocca da baciare (spazzolino incluso)
Get yourself a business partner – support and guidance are synonymous with success
Chicken Pizzettes Trio

Date: 05.12.2018, 18:21 / Views: 64551