Automatic Transmission: How to use it so as not to damage it?

Automatic transmission gearboxes require more attention from us than manual gearboxes. If we take care of it properly, we will ensure that we don’t shorten its life and avoid expensive repairs associated with it, or at least we will delay it.

Some of our tips can help extend the life of an automatic gearbox, but they can also work the other way around. How should we take care of the automatic gearbox?

Automatic transmission – how to use it?

The gearbox must be warmed up before driving. This means that before moving, you have to wait a while for the oil to spread well in the box.

This will ensure proper lubrication and prevent abrasion of the mechanism. However, when driving for the first kilometer, you should not drive too dynamically. At first, it is better to drive quietly so that the box warms up properly.

Can the automatic transmission operating mode be changed while driving?

You must not change modes while driving. Even in situations where we are standing at a red light. While waiting for the green light, it is better to hold the brakes than to switch to N.

If we keep switching modes, we will make the oil control valve wear out faster and can damage the gears. Damage to these parts can lead to expensive repairs that can run into several thousand dollars.

On some modern models, instead of the P position, the transmission must be shifted to the N position during a long stop. In this type of car, you should not use the N mode when pausing at a traffic light.

Gearbox oil

The most important activity that ensures that our transmission will serve us for a long time is regular oil changes. Unlike the manual transmission, the automatic transmission uses hydraulic oil. This means that the oil is not only responsible for lubrication, but also for generating the pressure necessary for the operation of the gearbox.

Therefore, an oil change in an automatic transmission should be carried out every 40-60 thousand kilometers. However, if the box is subjected to a greater overload, for example when towing a trailer – the oil must be changed early.

When choosing an oil for an automatic gearbox, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations, which determine exactly what parameters and compositions should be used in a particular gearbox oil.

If the oil is not changed regularly, the transmission may overheat. In addition, an oil cooler is installed to prevent overheating of the gearbox. However, if the transmission is strained frequently, one cooler may not be enough.

Therefore, if you purchased a car with an automatic engine only for towing trailers or you tow vehicles frequently, you should consider purchasing additional coolant. Typically, the installation cost does not exceed $700.

In the case of off-road vehicles, the automatic gearbox makes it easy to overcome obstacles. However, during extreme off-road driving, water can seep into the box and damage the box.

This situation can occur especially when driving through deep water – water can overwhelm the box and get into the vents. After such an off-road experience, it is worth changing the gearbox oil as soon as possible.

Towing a car with automatic transmission – how to do it?

Cars with automatic transmission should not be towed. In case of damage on the road, it is best to order a tow truck, but if we don’t have such a possibility, we may decide to tow. However, there are some rules to follow when pulling.

  1. First, a car with an automatic transmission can only be towed 20-30 kilometers.
  2. Second, the speed should not exceed 30-40 km/h.
  3. Third, towing should be carried out with the engine running, if possible, and short breaks should be made every few kilometers to allow the gearbox oil to cool.

In the case of a new vehicle, before deciding to tow, consult the owner’s manual to see if the manufacturer provides a tow. If the manufacturer does not provide it, then decides to tow, we risk losing the car warranty.

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