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“Automatic Cars Can’t Be Pushed” – A Statement Most Nigerians Misunderstand

Nwogbunyama Emeka

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automatic cars pushed

I can bet you’ve heard the statement “Automatic Cars Can’t Be Pushed before. Perhaps you heard it when you were still growing up as a kid or even when you’re all grown. As for me, that sentence got stuck in my head a long time ago. When you heard it does not matter anyway; what matters is if you really understand the statement.

Before we proceed on this topic, let’s have a little recap of the various transmission systems in cars. First of all, we have the manual transmission. Cars fitted with manual transmission comes with a manual gear lever and three pedals – accelerator, clutch and brake. This type of transmission requires the driver to select the right gear for the car. When driving this, drivers are calculative and observant to know the best gear to select for the engine. If you can drive manual, you can drive all.

manual transmission gear lever





Secondly, we have the automatic transmission. Cars fitted with automatic transmission has automatic gear lever and two pedals – accelerator and brake. For this type of transmission, your car is programmed to select the best gear with the aid of computer technology. The only work you do here is deciding if the car should move forward or backward.

automatic cars pushed

Thirdly, we have the semi-automatic transmission. This type of transmission lies in-between the manual transmission and automatic transmission. It is more like an automatic transmission because it makes use of two pedals. Cars with semi-automatic transmission are fitted with paddles which are used to select the desired gear. Some people refers to them as ‘clutchless manual cars’. They are mostly used in performance cars.

semi automatic transmission paddle

Now we have ideas of the three different types of transmissions we have, let’s go back to what brought us here  – “Automatic Cars Can’t Be Pushed”.

Can automatic cars be pushed?

Yes, automatic cars can be pushed, but they can’t be pushed to start. To push an automatic car, you just have to put the car in ignition and push the gear lever to Neutral (N) position. When the lever is in this position, you can push the car in either direction as long as you want. I have seen people think they can’t push their car off the road when it develops a problem because it’s an automatic transmission.

What does “Automatic Cars Can’t Be Pushed” Really Mean?

It means you can’t push an automatic car to start the engine when the battery is dead. Pushing a car to start the engine can only be achieved in a manual transmission, but not in automatic or semi automatic transmission.





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Emeka is a Contributor at Autojosh. A graduate of Electrical/Electronic Engineering with a B.Eng degree. Emeka is a car enthusiast who is interested in traveling, writing, movies and driving. He also loves drinking garri with cold water.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Ahmad Dan-Hamidu

    April 30, 2020 at 14:46

    Did you say cars with automatic transmission can’t be pushed to start? Please read the posts at:

    > https://mechanics.stackexchange.com/questions/19268/push-start-a-car-with-automatic-transmission

    > https://www.quora.com/Is-it-possible-to-push-start-an-automatic-car

    Apparently, it can be done, only that the car has to be pushed to a much faster speed (read both posts via their links).

    • AutoJosh

      AutoJosh

      May 2, 2020 at 16:21

      30km/h to 60km/h without power is dangerous. Have you tried it?

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