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Shifting an automatic shift

I have an automatic shift car, and when my husband drives it, he uses it as if i was a standard, shifting down to 3rd when we go up a hill, shifting down to L when we’re on a very steep hill. I just let the automatic shifting happen. Which is better for the car? PS he has gone through more transmissions with his cars than I have with mine.

Shifting an auto into a lower gear is good to do when decending a hill, to prevent overheating and wearing out your brakes. Any other time it’s not needed, BUT it’s not likely hurting much, unless you feel the car ‘jerk’ abruptly when he does it.

Except when you need the compression of the engine to help the brakes keep the car from “running away” on a long descent, it’s better IMHO to let the tranny shift itself. I recognize that if done properly the driver doing the shifting does no harm, however someone shifting the tranny as if it were a manual could easily keep the tranny in too low a gear unnecessarily and that does add to the long term wear of both the tranny and the engine.

But a good marriage is more important than tranny longevity. Unless he’s really abusing the drivetrain I don’t think it’s anything worth arguing about. Let him drive it his way and you drive it yours. So you might get eight years out of the car rather than nine. Is that worth an argument? I think not.

I’ve often noticed that the individula suspected of doing the thing wrong is rarely the one that writes the post. That’s because they reallly don’t want the answer. I suspect this situation is no different.

Since we’ve been married 41 years, a little disagreement now and then seems healthy. He doesn’t ask the question because like many men, he thinks he’s right. Since I have had my car 11 years with 155,000 miles on it without the need for a new tranny and he’s had three trannies in one car (several years ago) and goes through cars much faster than I do, I wondered if the problem was they way he drives. He’s had three cars in the 11 years I’ve had the one car.


Why doesn’t he just buy a manual rather than an automatic?

If he’s been through that many transmissions I’d be inclined to say that the way he does it might be a bit harsh on the car. Either that or he doesn’t get the necessary maintenance done (like fluid/filter changes). Or both.

I tip my hat with respect for your long marrriage. I had no way of knowing.

I doubt seriously if anything we say will change his ways. People don’t usually change long established behaviors unless they themselves suddenly realize that they should. Usually that only happens as a result of pain or trauma. What he’s doing is not serious enough to hope for that. It fact, without seeing what he’s actually doing I’d be unfair in suggesting that he’s doing anything harmful. My reply had a big IF in it. IF he were doing a certain thing it would lead to premature wear.

But, like many men, I think I’m right. I may not be.

Sincere best.

I would shift into a lower gear in uphill turns to avoid the lunges associated with the downshift and upshift that are associated with less pressure on the accel pedal. It can be enough to lose traction if you are attacking the curve aggressively.

He is very careful about maintenance. He does have a manual. It’s when he drives my car that he shifts the automatic.

If you are going down long steep grades just in drive can cause you to either boil the brake fluid or burn up the pads,especially with a loaded car. What your husband is doing is absolutely correct. If it is an automatic, the transmission won’t execute the downshift if he is going too fast for the gear selected.It will only downshift as far as the right gear. Trust me, I have driven over 3,000,000 miles.

The OP didn’t say he was downshifting going down hill, but uphill. Probably not nesessary to downshift uphill, the transmission will do that.

Did he wear out the transmission, or just the clutch?

Been doing it for years with no problems, to my cars, or my 40 year marriage.