Drivers warned pressing one button can cause £1,000 worth of damage

Car safety expert explains automatic assistance systems

Drivers have been warned pressing one button when waiting in traffic could cost them £1,000 worth of damage.

Richard Fanders, instructor at Conquer Driving, has warned automatic drivers can burn through their clutch in seconds by making a simple mistake.

He claimed owners with Robotised Manual automatic vehicles should be wary of leaving their car in drive mode while stationary if they are not prepared to take precautions.

Robotised Manual cars select gears with no input from the driver meaning failure to press the brake at a standstill can have devastating consequences.

Speaking on his YouTube channel, he said: “When I come off the foot brake, If I had an automatic with a torque converter again I wouldn’t be worried as torque converters are designed to do this.

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“But if I had an automatic that was a Robotsied Manual, well they have a clutch or two.

“So it won’t be an electric motor trying to move the car with the handbrake on, it will not be a torque converter trying to move the car with the handbrake on. It will be a clutch.

“And well I’ll give you between 30 seconds and two minutes before your clutch is toast. When a clutch gets to a certain temperature. It turns to dust and smoke and it may heat up so much it actually damages the flywheel as well.

“That is not going to likely cost less than £1,000 to replace. Probably a lot more.

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“Now some systems are smarter than this, Some systems will go ‘oh the handbrakes on’, let’s not send power to the wheels’. But some systems aren’t that smart and they do.

“You are in drive with the handbrake on, off the footbrake, it’s trying to pull the car forward.”

According to BookMyGarage, replacing the clutch is one of the most expensive pieces to repair.

Experts warn prices are likely to range from £450 to over £1,000 with the average bill sitting between £500 and £620.

However, prices could exceed £1,500 if the flywheel needed to be replaced as well.

Mr Fanders added: “So my best bit of advice when it comes to driving an automatic. When it comes to being stationary in an automatic is if you are stationary don’t be in drive with the handbrake on and off the footbrake.

“If you are in drive and you are not moving make sure you are on the footbrake.”

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