Five Things to Never Do to Your Automatic Transmission

Ah, the automatic transmission. Automatic transmissions have become standard, nowadays you have to request manual if you want it. Automatic has made driving easier than ever, as now you just have to press the gas, brake, and control the steering wheel. But, just because automatic transmissions made driving easier, it doesn’t mean they can’t be harmed. To keep you automatic transmission shifting in tip top shape never do the following five things.

Never Drive Through Deep Water

I get it, you want to cross that creek in your new automatic truck, or maybe the roads are flooded and you figure you will be fine to get home. Don’t do it. If the water is too deep it will go into the vents of your automatic transmission. These vents will suck water into the transmission and it could destroy the transmission entirely. Sure, you may get lucky and it will flush itself out, but it’s simply not worth the risk.

Don’t Go Straight From Reverse to Drive While The Vehicles Moving

So you’re backing up and figure it’s fine to just whip the transmission right into drive. Don’t. This will ruin the transmission. The problem is this causes an increase in stress on the transmission bands and clutch plates. You may do it by accident, but nowadays most shifters require you to press down on a button to shift. Another big cause for this is kids learning to drive, or trying to impress their friends. Warn them because a new transmission could cost more than the vehicle itself.

Don’t Leave it in Drive When Idling

If you’re idling for a while and you leave the transmission in drive it could lead to overheating inside the transmission. If you’re going to be sitting there for a while — traffic or otherwise — just shut the car off or put it in park. When the vehicles in park the transmission isn’t sending a lot of power so it won’t get nearly as hot.

Don’t Forget to Replace Fluid

On modern cars it might say “no need to replace ATF (automatic transmission fluid) under normal driving conditions.” Don’t listen to it. You don’t want dirty fluid in your transmission, you should be changing it regularly — somewhere between every 55,000 to 75,000 miles.

Don’t Coast in Neutral

Heading down a hill and think you’ll save some gas if you just coast down in neutral. You won’t, it’s a myth. You might be saying to yourself well that makes no sense, but actually when you’re in neutral the RPMs will go up. The car thinks your not driving but about to so it diverts more gas to the engine to prep it for start, thus you’re actually using more gas doing this. Not only is it pointless, but it’s illegal in a lot of US states.

*Bonus* No Burnouts!

Burnouts are just about the worst thing you can do to a transmission automatic or otherwise. It’s called a burnout for a reason: it will burnout your transmission.


If you want to make sure your transmission lasts as long as possible don’t drive through deep water, don’t shift from reverse to drive while the vehicle is moving, don't leave it in drive when idling, don’t forget to replace fluids, don’t coast in neutral, and don’t do burnouts. If you take care of your transmission it will last a long time!

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