Can you Push Start an Automatic Car?

You are ready for a bright new day, but your automatic car just won’t start. You realize that you left the radio and car lights on the whole night, and now the battery is dead. What options do you have? Can you push-start your automatic car? Does it matter what type of automatic transmission your car has?

You could be thinking that it is possible to start an automatic car just like a manual transmission car. It’s bad luck but a fact that automatic vehicles cannot be started with a push start. The main reason is that these vehicles have open clutches that prevent push-starting.

Whom should you get in touch with to get out of this issue, or can you try to start your car before calling for help? Read the article, which might help you to handle such tricky situations without embarrassing yourself.

As we know it is not enough if you know how to drive a car, but you must know how to handle things!

What Is A Push Start? 

You release the clutch pedal when the vehicle moves between 15 to 20 mph. This connects the motor to transmission connections.

There is pressure on the input shaft, which the motor rotates. The rear pump provides pressure even when the engine is not running.

You can ask someone to push the vehicle until it gains momentum and start it in a manual car. Manual cars are easy to handle and push-started.

How To Push Start An Automatic Car Without The Help Of Battery

Can you push start an automatic? The push start method will not work for cars with auto transmission. You can only push start a car that has a manual transmission.

Some drivers start their automatic car by putting it in neutral and slamming the gear while the vehicle is rolling. The automatic transmission vehicle has an open clutch, and its automatic shifter connects and disconnects the output shaft. Follow the manual to see how to push and tow automatic drive cars by searching the main menu.

Is your vehicle old? 

Sometimes old is truly gold. If your automatic transmission vehicle is quite old, the answer is yes to the question, can you push start an automatic? Some of the earlier automatic transmissions in the vehicles had a pump at the rear of the transmission along with a front pump.

If you put the vehicle in gear and let it roll, the rear pump would provide enough pressure even when the engine was not running. 

Reaching The Necessary Speed Is A Problem

When you try to start an automatic car by push start, the problem is that you will need quite a bit of speed. Most automatic cars through to the mid-1960s could be push-started, such as the GM’s Hydramatic, Chevrolet’s Powerglide, Chrysler’s Torquefliteand even some Fords.

However, you cannot push start the modern automatic transmissions because of the change in design.   

What Can You Try When Your Automatic Vehicle Won’T Start? 

So, you know that push-starting an automatic transmission vehicle is just not possible; what else can you do? If your vehicle’s engine does not start, jump-starting is an option. You might like to consider the points given below:

Take help of a jumper cable

You can use another car’s battery to jump-start yours.

Ensure that the other car’s car’s good battery is not of a higher voltage; otherwise, it could damage your car battery. Most cars use 12-volt batteries, so you should not have any problem. The cars should be switched off during the process.

Make sure booster cables do not touch each other or any metal surface of the car while you are connecting the jumper cables to the batteries. 

Keep track of positive and negative terminals. Remove the cables carefully after your dead battery comes to life. 

Using portable jump starter cables for a jump start

Portable jump starters are a great option to jump-start an automatic car because you don’t need another car or another person and can charge your dead battery on your own. There are many benefits of using a portable jump starter: 

You don’t need another vehicle or roadside assistance

They offer reverse polarity protection. (if by mistake you connect the positive cable to the negative terminal or a negative cable to the positive terminal, it can cause sparking and even fire and damage the battery)

You don’t need to worry about high voltage or overcharging issues 

 Does the car still not start? 

Sometimes, even after this, your car may not start. What options do you have? 

If the vehicle refuses to start for any reason other than a drained battery, the chances are that it will also not push start. So, if this doesn’t work out you just have to get your vehicle towed.

In some cases, electric pumps could allow line pressure in the transmission. It is enough to engage gears and lock the torque converter.

Replacing the battery

When nothing else works, it is time to buy a new battery. You can pay for the service to your garage, and they can bring the battery to wherever you are and replace the flat battery.

Roadside assistance is usually quite expensive, but this could be your only option when you are stuck on the side of a road with no jumper cables. Even if your car’s battery is dead, just be thankful that your phone battery is working, and you can call for help. 

The alternator could be useful

Remove the fan belt and spin the alternator to charge the battery. The rotation must be fast, and you will need to do it for quite a long time to get the engine spinning.

Automatic cars have special fluid clutches that prevent the delivery of power when the rotation is slow. You can use a starter motor for more speed. Automatic transmissions originally could be push-started but not anymore.

Coasting downhill in neutral

 If you are in a hilly area, you can try putting your car in neutral gear and letting it coast downhill to make it start. When the car is going at high speed, you can turn the ignition on and check if the car comes on. It needs enough speed to transmit torque. Faster speeds through the traditional torque converter can help the engine starts.

Push start an automatic or try to start

You cannot roll your car at 30 mph or more, but you can tow it at these speeds. You will need a tow truck or any other vehicle for towing to spin your car’s transmission to about 30 to 35 mph. Your car may start running. Your automatic transmission car needs hydraulic pressure to engage the clutch, which is difficult without the tranny fluid pump.

Even better and safer is to use jump start cables to start your car with the help of another vehicle. Towing a car at high speed may harm the transmission of your car. 

Final Thoughts

Driving an automatic transmission car needs additional investments. Getting your vehicle towed to the nearest garage is the only other option. Push starting a dead battery automatic car might not work everytime you try, especially in terms of the modern cars or the latest cars.

However, a motor auto repair manual can help you jump-start yours with the right jumper cables. Being prepared is the best option for automatic transmission car owners as you can’t be stranded right in the middle of the night.

So, get set and go. Happy driving your car!

Liam Dare

As CEO of, my passion for the automotive world motivates me to build online businesses that provide information and entertainment to users. I am proud to contribute in a positive way to the automotive community.