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2000 Lexus ES 300 automatic transmission

As a long-time (70+ yrs) shift stick driver, I found it disconcerting when driving an automatic shift and coming to a lengthy red light and feeling the car wanting to go forward. I reasoned that I would not only save gas but also be easier on the transmission to shift into neutral while waiting at the light. Well, my question is, was that incorrect reasoning?? The transmission on my current car just went out at about 166,000 miles, and I really did not expect that from a Lexus. Thanks for reading this and maybe being able to answer.
B. Ross

Automatic means you don’t need to shift. The ‘creep’ you feel with an automatic is normal and not harmful. Shifting into neutral is not helpful to your transmissions life nor the people behind you at a light.

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I don’t care if it is a Lexus that is good service for an automatic .
Creeping forward , your foot should be on the brake pedal anyway and it does not require much pressure to hold either of our vehicles in place.

You are saving some gas by not stirring the oil in the torque converter. But, you are wearing the forward clutch every time you shift into Drive. The Low clutch does not see much usage. The High/Reverse clutch sees a lot of usage and is likely candidate to wear out at the end of a transmission’s life. The Reverse clutch does not see much usage. The 2nd clutch does not see much usage unless you manually downshift into 2nd.

If you bought a Lexus to save gas, why didn’t you buy a Prius and have done with it.

I’ve done that on my Ford truck’s C4 automatic from day 1. I did have to have it rebuilt at around 160K/16 yrs. The transmission guy said that’s pretty normal for C4’s, even longer-life than expected.

I expect yours is the same, just the normal lifespan. Nothing to do w/shifting into N at stop lights. If you want to do something to increase the transmission’s lifespan, I’d guess the biggest bang for the buck would be to replace the trans fluid and filter (if easy to do) every 2 years. Reverting to a vehicle equipped w/a manual transmission is an even more effective option of course.

OP, how many times did you change the transmission fluid?

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Had it serviced according to the manual. I guess it was my shifting into idle at long stopsigns. Cannot think of any other reason, as I did not thrash the car, but drove it sensibly, I thought.

Seems very unlikely to me. There’s very little force or friction inside the trans involved w/ shifting gears when you are already stopped.

Such a strategy will save no gas whatsoever.