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Driving automatic car - tips?


priusnoob
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So I've been driving the Prius since about May now, and mostly on the motorway. Now I learned in a manual, so I'm sure there must be some things I'm doing wrong.

I've read that the neutral is something you shouldn't use normally, but that just seems...wrong? I mean why put it on there if you don't use it? I guess like with a manual, you should really put it in neutral and handbrake on, when totally stopped?

The other thing is hill starts? I've been kinda lucky and generally been able to drive up hills without having to stop, but I imagine it's a pop your handbrake on, put your brake on, pop it in drive, take handbrake off, and go... so sorta like a manual, but not quite?

 

Oooh, how about parking? In a manual car, on a flat surface, I'd park in neutral, handbrake on. Up hill, I'd park with the gear in first, and handbrake on. Downhill, I'd park with the reverse gear on, and hand brake on. In an auto, you can only really use the "park" button. So far, it seems like it's done me fine. Certainly my car isn't rolling down the steep hill outside my home - this is a hill, which really wears out your handbrake on a manual car, due to how high you have to pull it so that it doesn't roll..

I can't think of any thing else that I might be doing wrong. Does any one have any other tips when they went from manual car > automatic

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You should only use neutral in a carwash or something. When you put a hybrid vehicle in neutral you don't charge the Battery pack.

When stopping for a red light or something you just keep your foot on the brake. On longer stops (bridge, railway crossing) you just press the park-button.

You drive a P2? Don't know about that one, but the P4 has an automatic hill assist. I wouldn't worry about hill starts though. Foot on brake, put it in drive, foot off brake and off you go.

You are right about parking. Just use the park-button, I have never used the "handbrake" in one of my hybrids.

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6 hours ago, Bob O. said:

You should only use neutral in a carwash or something. When you put a hybrid vehicle in neutral you don't charge the battery pack.

When stopping for a red light or something you just keep your foot on the brake. On longer stops (bridge, railway crossing) you just press the park-button.

You drive a P2? Don't know about that one, but the P4 has an automatic hill assist. I wouldn't worry about hill starts though. Foot on brake, put it in drive, foot off brake and off you go.

You are right about parking. Just use the park-button, I have never used the "handbrake" in one of my hybrids.

OK so is that advise based on efficiency or safety? Also it seems that even if I brake at the lights, the engine does eventually cut out and also nothing charges too - well nothing shows on the screen any way!

ANd yeah I do drive a Gen II. P2, means Prius Gen II? It doesn't have automatic hill assist. I know that yours does but mine doesnt. And fair enough...sorta like a manual, but not quite

Fair enough regarding the parking. I guess for me, it's a case of "Well I live on a hill" but hey at least floods never reach us! On a side point, before I had the Prius, I had a 2011 Skoda Fabia (The Prius 2007 model is better imo than that Skoda) I used the handbrake then, though that is a diesel car. I did have a Honda Civic hybrid  (2005) before that, and 2005 was the year that Honda made their very last manual hybrids. After that they all became automatic, then the entire range was scrapped in 2009, in favour of the Honda insight

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The Prius Hybrid Drive system is not a conventional automatic in design and "neutral" does not ever disconnect the drive wheels from the transmission.

If you leave the car running in "Neutral" for too long you'll need to have the car rescued on a flat-bed truck back to a Toyota dealer.

 

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8 minutes ago, timberwolf said:

The Prius Hybrid Drive system is not a conventional automatic in design and "neutral" does not ever disconnect the drive wheels from the transmission.

If you leave the car running in "Neutral" for too long you'll need to have the car rescued on a flat-bed truck back to a Toyota dealer.

 

Oh wow. That is rather something. Thanks for letting me know that! :)

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The Prius Hybrid Drive system is not a conventional automatic in design and "neutral" does not ever disconnect the drive wheels from the transmission.

If you leave the car running in "Neutral" for too long you'll need to have the car rescued on a flat-bed truck back to a Toyota dealer.

 

Oh wow. That is rather something. Thanks for letting me know that! :)

I think the purpose of neutral is for occasions like the car has to be moved on to truck or being towed.

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1 minute ago, Anthony Poli said:

Oh wow. That is rather something. Thanks for letting me know that! :)

 

I think the purpose of neutral is for occasions like the car has to be moved on to truck or being towed.

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Tis fair enough indeed. I'll only use it in car washes then, though I tend to get my car hand washed so that's probably not an issue as such

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43 minutes ago, priusnoob said:

... it seems that even if I brake at the lights, the engine does eventually cut out and also nothing charges too - well nothing shows on the screen any way!

... Gen II. ...t doesn't have automatic hill assist. ...

All the time you are in READY mode, as long as not in neutral, the engine will automatically run if needed to charge the Battery.

With your foot on the service (centre) brake pedal, as long as you're pressing hard enough it cuts power to the wheels (no arrows on the energy monitor).

While in READY mode, when you select N:

  • if the engine is running at the moment you select N, it will stay running until you select another transmission option or run out of petrol!
     
  • if the engine is not running, it will stay off until you select another drive option or kill the High Voltage (traction) Battery.

Some models give you a reminder in the MultiFunctionDisplay to switch out of N as the HV level drops, I can't recall if the Gen 2 did or not.

Unless it's a very steep hill, coming smartly off the service brake and onto power will work fine, if it's steep you can hold it on the parking brake with the left foot if needed as you start to apply power.  You can use the parking brake like a handbrake with the button held in by clicking it off, but not fully releasing it - you can then press harder or less, and until you fully release the pedal you can vary the brake force.  I used this method on Gen 1 & 2 Prius, but not necessary on 3 & 4 as the have Hill Start Assist.

If parking on a steep hill, I generally apply the parking brake while in N, then select P (or just power off) to avoid putting pressure on the Parking Pawl. (That said, there's no evidence frequently loading weight against the Pawl actually damages it).

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By the way, three minutes at a traffic light is unlikely to drain the HV Battery sufficiently to cause a problem, but if you get into the habit of using "neutral" then you may use it in other circumstances such as getting stuck in a traffic jam or waiting to pick-up a passenger.

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8 minutes ago, Anthony Poli said:

From memory, my 2010 auris hybrid took between 20 and 30 minutes stuck on the motorway slip road, to trigger the engine to fire up for a couple of minutes.

That's entirely feasible - depends on the state of charge when you stop - often after a high speed cruise it will be 6 bars, maybe 7 if you've been braking for a while towards the slip road.  Then it depends on whether you're using A/C, outside temperature, temperature desired etc.

Many years ago I got stuck in horrendous traffic on the North Circular when it was 33°C outside and that hammered it big time (set to 18°C inside)

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22 hours ago, Anthony Poli said:

From memory, my 2010 auris hybrid took between 20 and 30 minutes stuck on the motorway slip road, to trigger the engine to fire up for a couple of minutes.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Wow. Very rarely am I stuck for around half an hour on the motorway!

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Familiar with a manual and new to an auto? 

One tip I'd suggest is to ignore all advice to use left-foot braking. Some will zealously advocate it. Ignore them!

On real roads, it is simply too dangerous to try and completely 'unlearn' the ingrained habit of declutching (pressing harder with the left foot as the car slows) - you will be doing 'emergency stops' without meaning to, and run a great risk of being rear-ended! Don't even think about it! 

While there may be an advantage with a high-performance car, and necessary it you want to do 'donuts', it is wholly unnecessary in a Prius! 

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11 hours ago, Beekeeper D said:

Familiar with a manual and new to an auto? 

One tip I'd suggest is to ignore all advice to use left-foot braking. Some will zealously advocate it. Ignore them!

On real roads, it is simply too dangerous to try and completely 'unlearn' the ingrained habit of declutching (pressing harder with the left foot as the car slows) - you will be doing 'emergency stops' without meaning to, and run a great risk of being rear-ended! Don't even think about it! 

While there may be an advantage with a high-performance car, and necessary it you want to do 'donuts', it is wholly unnecessary in a Prius! 

Definitely agree with that, cars without the foot operated parking brake, keep your left foot on the foot rest. Might as well keep your unused leg comfortable..

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Don't sit at the traffic lights with your foot on the main brake pedal - the brake lights are very bright an unpleasant for the driver behind.

Use the parking brake - it will comfortably hold the car whilst in drive mode (it only has tick-over momentum to restrain). Then simply release the footbrake and off you go.

 

Of course, if you don't care about the glare affecting those behind you ............ .

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Just now, AEB-UK said:

Don't sit at the traffic lights with your foot on the main brake pedal - the brake lights are very bright an unpleasant for the driver behind.

Use the parking brake - it will comfortably hold the car whilst in drive mode (it only has tick-over momentum to restrain). Then simply release the footbrake and off you go.

 

Of course, if you don't care about the glare affecting those behind you ............ .

Does the parking brake on a Prius take the car out of drive?

In my Auris you need to engage the hand brake and select P, to prevent strain on the hand brake (as stated in the manual).

Sadly where I am, the majority of drivers use the brake pedal all the time, just like they do with the fog lights.

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I prefer to pop it into P - saves the creep power, easier on mh foot.

Toyotas with Multimode Transmission (like Aygos) are clever enough to cut power when the parking brake is on, I don't understand why the Hybrids are less clever.

What I would really like is a menu option to turn off the creep altogether a-la-Tesla. 

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4 minutes ago, Anthony Poli said:

Does the parking brake on a Prius take the car out of drive?...

No - it's exactly the same as putting the handbrake on while in D in other Hybrids

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Just now, PeteB said:

I prefer to pop it into P - saves the creep power, easier on mh foot.

Toyotas with Multimode Transmission (like Aygos) are clever enough to cut power when the parking brake is on, I don't understand why the Hybrids are less clever.

What I would really like is a menu option to turn off the creep altogether a-la-Tesla. 

I did wonder why it is designed to creep, since the creep is done on electric.

I haven't monitored the Battery current, when in drive with the handbrake on.

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3 minutes ago, Anthony Poli said:

I did wonder why it is designed to creep, since the creep is done on electric...

Apparently it dates back to the original 1997 Prius, when Toyota wanted to make it feel familiar to drivers of conventional automatics

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I might be wrong on this, but my impression is that the my charge/power dial needle stays on zero (ie no creep power) when I'm stopped at the lights with foot on the ordinary brake pedal. I think the computer is smart enough to only apply creep power when the foot comes off the brake. No idea about the smarts with the parking/hand brake (I might have used it once since I got the car!)

Shifting from P to D means foot on the brake, so changing gear means a flash of the brake lights to the guy behind when the lights go green - and a slower getaway ... 

IF it bothers you about anyone behind (if there is anyone), then use P. 

But I don't think you need worry about wasting energy "holding it against creep" - because I think its smart enough not to. 

 

Incidentally, I notice that when ending a drive, I don't need to put the Auris Hybrid TS into P as a distinct action. Pressing the Power On/Off button to shut down initiates a sequence that includes the computer selecting P for me. Work Study not laziness!  

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2 minutes ago, Beekeeper D said:

I might be wrong on this, but my impression is that the my charge/power dial needle stays on zero (ie no creep power) when I'm stopped at the lights with foot on the ordinary brake pedal. I think the computer is smart enough to only apply creep power when the foot comes off the brake...

Completely right, as long as your foot is on the brake pedal firmly enough.

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On the advance driving course I did in 1997, the idea of care sympathy was brought up. So simple things like do not turn the steering wheel while stationary, to avoid causing extra wear and tear to the steering components. So the same sort of thing would apply to leaving the handbrake on while in drive.

 

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