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Shifting an automatic trans

Just a quick question, I’ve been looking around and getting mixed reviews saying both that it is okay or that it is a bad idea to drive a car with an automatic transmission like a manual transmission, shifting up and down through the gears. I’ve got a 2004 HOnda Accord coupe with the 2.4L iVTEC 4Cylinder. Can anyone shed some light on this for me?

Its probably bad. Its also unclear how bad (ie if it halves the life of the transmission vs 10%). If you chose to do so, be sure to change the fluid at least every 30k.

Is this transmission set up with shift paddles or a ‘+’/’-’ auto-stick shift mode, sometimes called sport-shift? If no, I’d say that shifting through the gears as if it were a manual is putting additional strain on the transmission. The transmission was designed to shift at the most efficient times automatically. Doing it manually defeats it’s programming. There are times when doing this is appropriate, and other times when it is fool-hardy. Using it to down-shift when going down a steep grade is appropriate. Letting the engine compression control your speed and keep the brakes from overheating. Save the brakes for when you need to slow down quickly. Using it to down-shift for a traffic light is fool-hardy. You’re adding wear and stress to the transmission just to prevent wear to much cheaper-to-replace brakes? And using it to ‘speed-shift’ is simply adding stress to the transmission. It will wear out faster and more chances to break on you.

As I write this, I’m reminded of what directions a question like this takes a thread. Read this post to get an idea of what I mean.

Yes, Knuckles, I thot of that other thread as I read this one. I tried to say what you just did.

If you need to shift your transmission then I suggest you buy a vehicle with a manual transmission. There is no reason to constantly shift an automatic.

Won’t make much difference with your Honda and that’s only because of the way that it is made but with most other automatics, I’m with busted knuckles. I wouldn’t bother. It’s not doing you any good. Now if your trans has the sport shift, it’s made for that so have at it.


hmmm well if you shift it yourself because you are OCD thereby relieving the builtup stress that would occur if you didn’t shift it yourself then maybe you would live longer because you have less stress. But then add the stress of a new trans if you do damage and maybe it’s a wash…

or by worrying about it all the time maybe you are doing damage to your heart if you aren’t OCD, so you are damaging your body, and possibly the trans altogether so

probably not a good idea. There are bigger things in life to worry about.

LOL>…OH NOOOOOO…not again!!! (Inside Joke)

I am with the guys on this one as well…

While a modern tranny will protect itself (and the ECU will protect the engine) from your folly, shifting it yourself does add extra wear to the linkage, and doing it inappropriately will add extra wear to the engine and tranny over time if you rev it up high before shifting.

On the other hand, I regularly downshift into third and keep it there when I get behind someone on a secondary road that wanders between, say, 40mph and 50mph. I figure it saves on my brakes and my tranny doesn’t have to shift up & down quite as much. I was behind one of those drivers this morning.


I wouldn’t, especially with an Accord of that vintage, those trannys aren’t known for being sturdy.

I’d have to agree with the rest of the guys on this issue, don’t shift it manually unless you need to (like going down a steep hill, which was already mentioned). If the car has a gated shifter, I probably still wouldn’t downshift unless I needed to. I can tell you that some folks with automatic trannies have had a manual valve body installed, so the only way you can shift it is manually; you just don’t have a clutch pedal. Of course, this was usually done by guys who had high-performance cars with souped-up engines, wanting to “bulletproof” their transmissions.

Its not going to make much difference in this type of automatic. The Honda 3 shaft is unlike other automatics in that it doesnt have things like coast clutches, sprags, overrunning clutches etc. In a Honda you have one clutch pack for each gear. Whether you leave it in D4 and let it shift by itself or drop it to L1 and go through the gears manually, you will still shift the same and your acceleration will be the same. In most other automatics you have different friction elements applying in low gear range from regular drive and overdrive range making acceleration different. It is these transmissions that there is really no benefit in manual shifting unless you build the transmission for it.


if it is a car with multimode transmission(mmt),then it’s safe and fully safe transmission. U can easily shift without harrasement…“M(+ -)” sign on the gear sign panel ensures that yours is a mmt transmission car

Can you tell me which cars might have this transmissiom?

I’m not sure how many used them in '04, but they’re increasingly becoming more common. I looked recently at a Mitsu Eclipse and a Hyundae Tiburon recently that both had the “multimode” tranny with paddleshiters. Automatic trannys today are electronically controlled, so it isn’t difficult to allow a manual control option, and it provides more of a sporty feel.

If the transmission doesn’t mind, only the passengers will be disturbed. Go ahead and shift all you want if you like to get conversations started. They will make up forty reasons why you shouldn’t shift it yourself. I knew somebody who would leave his wipers running for as long as it took to get you to say that it’s not raining any more. He then would ask who’s car is it.

I have an 2010 Chevy aveo hatchback lt with auto transmission and the hold button. It seems to drive better manually. Also is kinda sluggish is you don’t accelerate hard or drive it like a manual. Is this normal? 66k miles

Man I thought Transman was back then I saw it was from 2012. Not much power there in the first place so might be time to check into a tune up.

Alas, I believe he is no longer with us.