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Best Driving Practice with Automatic Transmission

I’m driving a 2007 Subaru Forester with an automatic. Having driven a standard transmission for decades, I find myself easing off the throttle just before I the transmission is going to shift, and then gently accelerating again. My question is this. Is this habit going to prolong or reduce the life of the transmission? And, are there any other driving habits which are likely to make the automatic transmission last an extra few years? Thanks for your response.

You will get more expert opinions on this (I am not an expert) but I would think that letting up on the accelerator just before an automatic is doing absolutely no good for your transmission - that’s why it’s an automatic.

It does the work.

As to making your transmission last, just drive carefully and follow your owner’s manual for maintenance.

I don’t think letting off the gas slightly either helps or hurts the transmission. When you let off the gas that is in effect a signal to the transmission to shift. The things that driver’s do to harm the auto trans that come to mind first are:

Shifting into drive while still rolling backward, and shifting in to reverse while still rolling forward. In other words using the transmission as a brake. Best to come to a full stop with the brakes before shifting into drive or reverse.

Next, is using the transmission to hold on a steep hill. Better to hold the car still with the brake and quickly move to the gas when it is clear to move forward.

Shifting into park while still rolling.

Using park without setting the parking brake when parking on a steep incline.

I’m sure there are more, but others can add to this list.

I don’t think you are going to do anything to the transmission. One of the cars my parents had when I started driving was a 1952 Dodge with the Gyromatic semi-automatic transmission. The car shifted only when one released the accelerator. I remember when I had to drive cars with real automatic transmission, I found myself letting up on the accelerator when I thought the transmission should shift. After a while, I think you will find that you don’t ease upon the throttle.

IMO your practice will not effect the transmission. I would just put my foot down and go. There is no need to baby the transmission this way.

I can’t see it hurting anything, but then I also can’t see it helping. My suggestion is to take a look at the owner’s manual and make sure anything it suggest is done. One exception I would make sure I changed the transmission fluid with the recommended fluid every 30 - 40,000 miles.

  • Changed = drained, pan dropped and filters cleaned. It does not mean flushed.

I believe that some of the new cars with electronic throttle control do just that.

I believe that easing up on the gas just before a transmission shifts (and it will when you let up) eases the pressure on the clutches (I don’t mean the hydraulic pressure) but when you press on the gas again you might just cause the transmission to downshift back to the gear you were in. That would not be a benefit.

Your habit of easing off the throttle isn’t going to make any difference. If you are interested in longer transmission life then regular servicing with filter and fluid every 25-30k miles will do it.