Automatic transmission preservation

hi. i’ve noticed that cabbies in foreign countries shift thier automatic transmissions from drive to neutral whenever they are sitting at a stop light. they claim it is better for the transmission. is that true? thank you.

Old traditions, like Old Wives’ Tales, tend to persist, even if they are bogus.

Back in the early days of automatic transmissions, this was a prudent idea, due to the fact that many of the early automatics ran very hot if left in gear while idling. That is not true nowadays, and the major effect of continually taking the transmission out of gear and putting it back in gear is to increase the wear and tear on the transmission’s clutches–thus shortening the life of the transmission.

The best way to preserve the life of one’s transmission is to periodically monitor the fluid level, and to change the fluid (and filter, if so equipped) every 3 yrs/30k miles, whichever comes first. It is also a good idea to drive very conservatively until the engine warms up fully, and to avoid forced downshifts when the engine (and, of course, the transmission) are cold.

thank you very much for your response. i was rather skeptical of what the cabbies were telling me. i was thinking that they shifted to neutral only because they are used to the manual transmissions that used to be so prevalent up until recently. i guess old habits die hard.