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Winter transmission warm up

Ive been told to put your automatic transmission vehicle in neutral when warming it up in the winter That this helps to warm the transmission.???

Better yet, drive it at reduced speed for the first couple of miles then drive on. just don’t leave your driveway and then hit the free way at 70 mph a quarter mile from your home.

Spent some time in the North, and even if the car starts with a block heater, the transmission will often not shift at -35F or so. In that case leave the car in Park, and let the engine warm up sufficiently to allow the transmission to shift.

Joseph is right that racing off with a cold car is hard on the engine and the transmission, and should be avoided.

The rules for Boston and Minnesota are different. Click & Clack usually advise to drive off and let the load on the engine warm up the system. At -40F that can be very damaging to the transmission.

What kind of vehicle are we talking about. Some transmissions it will help and some it wont make any difference,


Well transman it was an in general question. I was unaware of a difference. Im in Fairbanks Ak and was running a 93 jeep grand cherokee. Never had any problems at -50. So your saying it will help to put the vehicle or some vehicles in neutral rather than leave it in park???

The transmission fluid is circulated through the cars radiator…This is what warms and cools the fluid…If your transmission seems sluggish during cold weather, try having it serviced, which includes changing the filter…

Looks like you are the expert here, what do you think? I was at -46 in ND and it does not come down to doing this or that, put it in gear and if it does not go give it some gas until it starts to go. Use a block heater of course. Haven’t ruined a trans yet

There is a difference. In fact, your transmission in your vehicle does not circulate ATF through the transmission OR cooler or even the converter when in “P”. It goes in then directly out of the pump and dumps back into the pan. So in your case it would be beneficial for you to warm up your transmission when in “N”. This is also why you check your fluid level with the gear selector in “N”. Now if you were driving a Chevy Tahoe for instance, the transmission would warm up in “P”. This is also where you check your fluid level.


You learn something new everyday…I have never seen a automatic transmission where the fluid path changed when shifting between “P” and “N”…The only difference was the engagement of the parking pawl to lock the tailshaft…Lets see, a 93 Jeep Grand…Probably a Chrysler A727, the old Torque-Flight…But no, it says a 4-speed overdrive…

Yep, a 518 Chrysler. Sonnax has a new manual valve that you can install in the valve body which will allow flow into the converter and through the trans while in “P” You see a lot of converter drainback issues in these from the factory. I install that new valve in every one of my rebuilds. Its cheap and better for the trans.


It all makes sense now. Thats what i was looking for. Thanks!