Car Talk

How to Drift an Automatic Car? Drifting Techniques for New Drifters

Avatar Adie Tinkle -

Drifting an automatic car can be a thrilling and exciting experience, but it requires skills, technique, and precision. In drifting, you cause the back end of the car to slide around the curve. The driver’s steers and rear wheels lose traction, and the car slides sideways through a corner. 

Drifting is commonly used in racing, and the majority of people do it for fun. Though many people assume that drifting is only possible with a manual transmission, you can also drift in an automatic vehicle. There are many tricks that you can use, and if you do it safely, drifting with those techniques can be very adventurous and thrilling. 

How to Drift an Automatic Vehicle?

The first step you should do before drifting your vehicle is to prepare it for drifting. Firstly, adjust the tire pressure. By decreasing the tire pressure in the rear wheels, you can provide better traction and initiate and maintain the drift easier. 

In manual cars, you can slam down the gas pedal while controlling the clutch to get the vehicle moving. You obviously cannot do this in an automatic car, and you need to know how to control the throttle, which can be unpredictable.   

You can add a limited-slip differential to your car to improve the power distribution between the rear wheels. It will help you maintain traction and prevent the car from spinning out of control. 

The next step is to set up the drift. For that, position your vehicle towards the outer edge of the turn and keep the speed moderate while approaching the corner. Accelerate the vehicle but prevent yourself from going too fast as it can result in an understeer, where the front tires lose traction. It is important to be mindful of the speed to save yourself from losing control of the car. 

Ease the throttle to keep the car from spinning or stalling. You can start adjusting the pressure you put on the gas pedal. After figuring out how much throttle is overboard, you can start adjusting the pressure you put on the gas pedal. If you are drifting too wide, apply more throttle to tighten the line. If you are drifting too tight,  apply less throttle to widen the line. Staying alert and focused is highly important when drifting to maintain control of the car. 

Drifting Techniques for Controlling Your Car

Majority of the people ask the question of “How to drift a car” because of the techniques and skills you require to drift. Firstly, to turn the car during a drift, steer towards the direction you want to go and adjust the angle of the slide by using the throttle. To avoid any accidents, keep an eye on the position of your car and the surroundings. It is also important to maintain momentum during a drift.

Also, pay attention to how to use the brakes in an automatic car. As you exit turns, you need to stay on the gas to keep the vehicle drifting. What’s beneficial in an automatic car is that you can use handbrakes. Through emergency brakes, you can initiate the drifting in an easy manner. Also, it is easy to stay on the drift, just do not overuse the brake, or you can find yourself doing donuts instead. 

Can You Drift an Automatic Car?

Yes! You can drift any vehicle as long as it is physically fit. Though drifting an automatic vehicle is not as easy as drifting a manual car because an automatic car lacks a clutch, it is still possible. To drift an automatic vehicle, you have to extensively prepare it. It requires a lot of practice to master drifting an automatic car.

Is a manual car better for Drifting than an automatic car?

A manual car is a better option for drifting, but you can also learn to drift on an automatic vehicle. To drift your car properly, it is crucial for you to be able to control the power moving through the transmission. A manual transmission vehicle offers better control over that power. 

The difficulty with automatic vehicles is that you cannot harness the power like you can in a manual car because when you step on the gas pedal, everything is calibrated. When pressing the accelerator in an automatic vehicle, the transmission might try to downshift. Similarly, if you leave off the accelerator, it may upshift. 

Tricks for New Drifters to Drift for the First Time 

Here are a few tricks that can help you. 

  • Pick the Right Car

Automatic sports cars are the best vehicles for drifting. These vehicles are mostly rear-wheel drive with a low center of gravity and a balanced distribution of weight. You can also do some modifications to improve the drifting. Even though you can get a good transmission through a vehicle, the chances of you failing are high if you do not learn the basics. 

  • Learn in an Open Space

It is preferable to practice in an open area where there is no one around. For drifting, you need to have an open space to prevent the chances of accidents. It is also important to check drifting laws to see what is allowed in your area. 

  • Practice with an Affordable Vehicle 

Even if you have a high-quality vehicle sitting in the garage, it is still preferable to learn to drift before you take it out. Being new at drifting, it is important for you to learn it on a cheap car to get used to the techniques. After mastering the basics, you can move to your favorite vehicle in the future. 

  • Use of Handbrake 

The emergency brake, also known as a handbrake, can be helpful in drifting if you know how to use it properly. However, it is important to keep in mind that this is going to take a toll on your vehicle’s transmission and the brake system.

To use the handbrake, you need to pull it as you speed up and turn the wheel in the direction of the drift. As your drift is over, you can put the emergency brake back down and steer your vehicle out. 

Final Thoughts 

Drifting an automatic car can be a super fun and thrilling experience, and the majority of drivers love to drift because of the fun it brings. Because of the presence of a gear stick, drifting is enjoyed best in manual cars. You can also drift in an automatic car with the use of a handbrake or emergency brake. However, it is suggested to first get some grip on drifting in a safe space before trying it out openly. 

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