How Do I Start an Automatic Car?

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Start an automatic car by pressing the brake pedal when the vehicle is parked. Place the key in its ignition slot and rotate three clicks forward. Release the key once the engine cranks.

  1. Inspect the vehicle

    Check the vehicle to ensure it is in park, or P gear, and that the emergency brake is activated. The location of the emergency brake varies based upon car make and model. Refer to vehicle-specific owner's manual to confirm its location.

  2. Secure the brakes

    Press the brake pedal, located to the left of the accelerator pedal.

  3. Insert the key

    Locate the ignition slot, typically found on the right side of the steering column. Insert the key, rotate forward three clicks, and hold until the engine cranks.

  4. Release the key

    Let go of the key once the engine starts. Do not continue to push the key forward once the engine cranks.

  5. Disengage emergency brake

    Continue pressing the brake pedal but release the emergency brake.

  6. Check surroundings

    Look around the car to make sure it's safe to move.

  7. Switch gears

    While still pressing the brake pedal, change gears from park to drive, indicated as P and D on the gearshift.

  8. Release the brake and accelerate

    Slowly remove pressure from the brake pedal and press the accelerator pedal, located to the right of the brake pedal.