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Can You Push an Automatic Car in Neutral?


It’s a question that has been debated for years – can you push an automatic car in neutral? Some people swear by it, while others say it can’t be done. So, which is it?

Yes, you can push an automatic car in neutral, and it’s pretty easy.

In this post, we’ll show you how to push a car in neutral and give you some tips on staying safe.

Understanding Vehicle Transmission

A basic understanding of vehicle transmission is essential for understanding how to shift an automatic car into a neutral one.


The transmission is responsible for transferring power from the engine to the wheels in straightforward terms. It uses a series of gears connected to the drive shaft. When the engine is running, the transmission helps to keep the wheels turning at the correct speed.

For example, when driving on the highway, the transmission will shift into a higher gear so the engine can run more efficiently. Conversely, when driving at a low speed, such as parallel parking, the transmission will shift into a lower gear so that the engine doesn’t rev too high.

Therefore, the transmission is an essential component of any vehicle; without it, your car wouldn’t be able to move.

Car Transmission Types

While there are numerous transmission types, we will focus on the four most common.

Automatic Transmission

An automatic transmission is the most common type of transmission in modern cars. It’s called “automatic” because it does all the work for you — you don’t have to shift gears as you do with a manual transmission.

There are generally two pedals with an automatic transmission — the accelerator and the brake. There’s no clutch pedal like there is with a manual transmission.

Automatic transmission is very convenient because it doesn’t require you to shift gears manually. However, it can be more expensive to repair than a manual transmission.

Manual Transmission

A manual transmission is less common nowadays than an automatic, but it’s still used in some cars. Using the gearshift lever with a manual transmission means you have to shift gears yourself using the gearshift lever.

man's hand switches manual transmission

You also have to use the clutch pedal whenever you want to change gears. The clutch pedal is located to the left of the brake pedal.

A manual transmission can be more fun to drive than an automatic because it gives you more control over the car. It’s also typically more fuel-efficient than an automatic transmission.

However, driving in stop-and-go traffic can be more difficult because you must constantly shift gears.

Continuously Variable Transmission

A continuously variable transmission (CVT) is an automatic transmission that doesn’t use gears. Instead, it uses a pulley and belt system to change the speed of the wheels.

A CVT is often used in smaller cars because it’s more fuel-efficient than other types of transmission. It can also provide a smoother ride because there are no gear changes.

Automated Manual Transmission

An automated manual transmission (AMT) is similar to a manual transmission but has one key difference — automatic gear changes.

When shifting gears with an AMT, you still have to use the clutch pedal. However, you don’t have to use the gearshift lever because the computer will do it for you.

An AMT is becoming increasingly common in cars because it offers the best of both worlds — the convenience of an automatic transmission and a manual transmission’s fuel efficiency.

Can you Push an Automatic Car in Neutral?

Yes, you can push an automatic car in neutral. There are, however, a few considerations. If the vehicle is in drive or reverse, it will still have power going to the wheels, and you’ll end up with burst tires.

Second, even in neutral, the car will still have the power to access accessories such as the radio and air conditioning. So, if you’re pushing a car for an extended period, you might want to turn off these accessories to save some battery power.

Tips for Pushing an Automatic Car in Neutral

Learning to drive an automatic car is easier than you might think. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll probably find it much more comfortable and convenient than driving a manual. Here are a few tips to help you get started:


Make Sure you’re in the Right Gear

There are only two pedals when driving an automatic — the gas and the brake. The gearshift is usually on the steering column or dash and should be clearly labeled. Make sure the car is in “drive” before you start moving.

Use Your Mirrors

One of the most significant benefits of driving an automatic is that you don’t have to worry about shifting gears. That means you can devote your full attention to the road and your surroundings. Use your mirrors to check traffic, and always be aware of what’s happening around you.

Take Your Time

There’s no need to race off as soon as the light turns green. Many new drivers get anxious about holding up traffic, but remember that everyone else is in the same boat. Just relax and take your time getting up to speed.

Ask for Help

If you’re still feeling unsure about driving an automatic, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Talk to a friend or family member who knows how to drive one, and they can give you some tips and pointers. You can also take a few driving lessons from a professional instructor.

Avoid Going Downhill in Neutral

Pushing a car downhill in neutral is a bad idea because the car will start to pick up speed and be challenging to control, leading to accidents.

Avoid Spinning the Tires

When you’re stopped on a hill, it’s tempting to spin the tires to get going again. However, this is not a good idea with an automatic car because it can damage the transmission.

Never Shift Gear Stick to Park without Stopping the Car First

Shifting the gear stick to ‘park’ without stopping the car can damage the transmission. So, always make sure to come to a complete stop before shifting into the park.

Avoid Pushing Automatic Car

It is essential to avoid pushing an automatic car as it can cause damage to the transmission. If you must move the vehicle, make sure you put it in neutral to prevent damaging your transmission gear.


Yes, you can push an automatic car in neutral. Before you begin pushing, ensure the vehicle is in neutral, and no power is going to the wheels. If you’re still unsure about driving an automatic, you can ask for help.

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