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In this section you will find frequently asked questions and answers.



How to check oil level in Automatic gearbox?

In most cases oil level in Automatic gearbox is measured with the running engine, position of the gear stick "P" (parking). Oil in the box should be heated-up to 90°С. On the probe there should be some notches, sometimes only two, they correspond to normal level of oil. To warm oil to the necessary temperature you should pass about 20 km. Stop the car on the plain place. Wipe the probe, insert back and take out again. On probe there will be the oil level mark. On probe there can be bottom marks which correspond to level of cold oil. But it will be more correct to check oil in a warm condition. On some cars, for example Honda and Acura, oil is checked in a warm condition but at non-working engine. On some cars oil is checked at the gear stick position "N".

Why low or high oil level in Automatic gearbox is dangerous?

Too low oil level is dangerous because the pump can take air together with oil. After that pressure can come down that can result in worsening of elements lubrication. Too high level can lead to oil foaming and as a result to gearbox breakage.

Level is normal, but ATF foams: what is the reason?

This is possible in case of  filter seal or filter itself damage.

Level constantly goes down but there are no traces of oil leak.

Most likely the reason of it is a vacuum modulator. If modulator membrane is out of order, the oil gets into the manifold and burns. New cars are equipped with electronic modulators and the oil is dripped out because of non hermetic cooling system. A lot of cars have a radiator for cooling oil of automatic gearbox that is built into radiator for cooling the engine antifreeze. In case of seal failure of the built-in radiator, the oil gets in the engine cooling system. As a result, antifreeze turns into a pinkish emulsion.

How much oil is it necessary to fill in Automatic gearbox?

Depending on type, Automatic gearbox can contain from 4, 2 liters to 15, 5 liters of ATF. You should know that during change not all amount of oil is drained. The part of oil stays in control system channels and besides not all transformers have jams for oil drain. Therefore during oil draining the part of it stays in Automatic gearbox but it is considered admissible. If you want to change oil completely it is necessary to change two or three times.

How can I define what is filled in Automatic gearbox and what oil should I fill in to change it?

Transmission oils differ both in color and smell. There are light-yellow oils and those with a red shade (from light CASTROL to saturated red ELF). It is necessary to tell that color of oil is defined only by dye which is added in it to distinguish oil for Automatic gearbox from other oils used in the car. Nothing else defines color of oil. Besides, through a small interval of time of work any oil gets transparent-brown color. Considering that during oil change its full amount does not renovate and also that during use color and a smell of oil change - to define its brand is almost impossible, even if it has been changed recently. It is necessary at least single, but better double change of oil (if there are no serious problems in Automatic gearbox work). It is necessary to use that oil which is indicated in the car maintenance guide. It happens that the type of the recommended oil is also specified on the probe. Besides, producers of oils issue posters and albums (they can be found in specialized stores) with the list of makes of cars and recommended oils both motor and transmission ones.

How often is it necessary to change oil in Automatic gearbox?

Term of oil change depends on Automatic gearbox type and usually, under normal operation conditions, it is recommended to change it after 70 thousand kilometers of run (or in 2 years) and after 25 thousand kilometers (or in 1 year) if operation conditions differ from normal ones (hot climate, cold climate, operation in the megalopolis, continuous operation of the car with full load, etc.). In some expensive models according to the maintenance guide change of oil is not provided. But despite anything, regularly (once a week) check quality of oil in Automatic gearbox of your car. It is necessary to keep determined periods of change if in use there is no considerable change of quality of oil or you did not get into difficult traffic conditions (got stuck, towed another car for a long time etc.). In case of dimness of oil and/or burnt smell it is necessary to change it without waiting planned term of change. But not always change of burned oil can save situation. More often in these cases major repair of Automatic gearbox is required. During oil change in Automatic gearbox it is necessary to change also a lump gasket and the filter. In the some types of Automatic gearboxes filter replacement during change of oil is not provided, because the filter is not available without removal and reassembly of Automatic gearbox.

Whether use of additives to ATF is justified?

Modern oils already contain all necessary additives. This question is often asked at if there are problems in work of automatic transmission. In most cases problems in work of Automatic gearbox are accompanied by the increased wear of frictional control elements. It is irreversible process and neither oil change nor additives will restore them. That is why major repair is the only way to restore operability of transmission.

What do gear stick position of range symbols mean and why are they necessary?

The gear stick has some positions that have alphabetic and digital symbols. The number of these positions in different models of cars are different, but all cars surely have positions designated by the letters "R", "R" and "N". Position "P" is selected during long parking. In this position of gear stick in Automatic gearbox all elements of control are switched off and its output shaft is blocked, so movement of the car is impossible. In this mode engine start is allowed. Position "R" is for backing. Switching of gear stick to the position "R" during movement can lead to failure of a transmission and its elements. In this mode engine start is impossible. Position "N" - in the gearbox all elements of control are switched off or only one is switched on. The mechanism of blocking of an output shaft is switched off, the car can freely move. In this mode engine start is allowed. For cars equipped with four-speed transmissions, as a rule, a gear stick has four positions of movement: "D", "3", "2" and "1" ("L"). It should be noted if a gear stick is in one of these positions start of the engine is impossible. Position "D" is the main mode of traffic. It provides automatic switching from the first to the fourth transmission. In normal traffic conditions it is recommended to use it. Position"3" - movement on the first three transmissions is allowed. It is recommended to use in traffic on the hilly roads or in the conditions of frequent stops. Position "2" - movement only on the first and second transmissions is allowed. It is recommended to use on twisting mountain roads. Switching on the third and fourth transmission is forbidden. Position "1" - movement only on the first transmission is allowed. This range allows realizing as much as possible a mode of braking by the engine. It is recommended at movement on abrupt descents. On some models of cars permission to use of the fourth, raising, transmission is carried out by means of the special button "OD". If it is switched on and gear stick is on position "D", switching on raising transmission is allowed. Otherwise switching of the fourth raising transmission is forbidden. The control system condition in this case is reflected by means of the indicator O/D OFF. In case of permission of use of raising transmission the indicator is not lit, but it is lit in case of prohibition.

What are additional buttons used for? What is the winter mode?

On the majority of modern cars with automatic transmission control system has some versions of gear shifting control. They are economical, sport, winter ones. Economical program. The program is adjusted on ensuring movement with the minimum fuel consumption. Car traffic in this case has smooth, quiet character. Sport program. This program is adjusted on the maximum use of engine capacity. The car in this case develops, in comparison with the economical program, considerably bigger acceleration. For implementation of the economical or sport program on the dashboard or near the gear stick there is special button or the switch which, depending on the make of a car, has symbols "POWER", "S", "SPORT", "AUTO", "A/T MODE", etc. Electronic control units practically of all modern cars have the special program of standing start on the slippery road (the winter program). For its activation as there is a special button or the switch which can have symbols "WINTER", "W", "HOLD", "*" etc. In case of its action various algorithms of Automatic gearbox work are possible, but as a rule in all cases the standing start is carried out either on the second or on the third transmission.

What is the overdrive? What of modes is more preferable in city conditions: drive or overdrive?

Overdrive in terminology of American car manufacturers means raising transmission. It is usually designated as "OD", either D or D in a circle. Raising transmission is recommended to use for measured, economical traffic on highways.

Is it possible to switch the gear stick during the traffic?

It is possible, but not in all positions. It is categorically forbidden in forth movement to switch the gear stick to the position "P" and "R". It is possible to switch them only at a full stop of the car. Violation of this rule can lead to serious breakage of Automatic gearbox. Besides it is not recommended to switch a gear stick to the position "N" during traffic as in this case connection of wheels with the engine is lost and sharp braking can cause a car drift. And it is possible to switch a gear stick in all other positions. In some cases it is even recommended to do. So switching of a gear stick from position "3" to position "2" will increase efficiency of engine etc.

Is it necessary to switch the gear stick to position "N" at a stop at traffic lights?

It is worth doing only at long stops in street jams in hot weather for decrease of thermal emission and prevention of oil overheat in the box. In other cases it is not recommend

It is necessary to use parking brake on the stop if the gear stick is in the position "P"?

For reliable fixing of the car on parking on rather plain place the serviceable mechanism of output shaft blocking of Automatic gearbox is quite enough. But if the car stays on the slope, turning on of the parking brake is obligatory. And it is necessary to turn it on and only after that to switch the gear stick in the position "P". In this case you release from the additional load, concerning desire of the car to roll down, the mechanism of blocking output shaft of Automatic gearbox.

How to define number of transmissions in Automatic gearbox?

In Japanese cars four-high-speed Automatic gearbox can be identified by the additional button on gear stick which has marking "OD OFF" or "Hold". If there is no such button, most likely, it is three-high-speed Automatic gearbox without raising transmission. In European cars the gear stick of three-high-speed Automatic gearbox is marked by symbols PRND21, four-high-speed - PRND3, five-high-speed - PRND4 … In American cars  a symbol of D in a circle shows existence of the fourth (sometimes fifth) raising transmission. Having some experience it is possible to define number of transmissions in practice, watching a tachometer arrow during car dispersal. Each switching will be accompanied by some fall of turns the engine. But in this case it is necessary to consider that the arrow of a tachometer in the same way reacts on hydraulic transformer blocking (but falling of turns in this case will be not so appreciable, as during gear shifting).

Is it possible to slip by the car from Automatic gearbox?

During skidding nothing wrong in Automatic gearbox happens. The raised thermal emission in the hydraulic transformer in this case can be critical if the cooling system has low efficiency (a radiator of cooling of Automatic gearbox is littered with wear products).


How to skid on a car with Automatic gearbox?

There is no exact answer to this question. For some cars there are very rigid passport restrictions. Some cars are recommended to transport only on the wrecker. Cars with three-high-speed Automatic gearbox can be slipped with speed of 40 km/h on distance of 25 km, and with four-high-speed Automatic gearbox - with speed of 72 km/h on distance up 160 km. Despite the make of car in case of faulty of transmission the wrecker is more preferable. The matter is that in Automatic gearbox greasing is carried out compulsorily, that is oil is brought to each pair of friction under pressure. If transmission is faulty, there is confidence that there is any greasing. However, indirectly capacity for work pump is possible to estimate. It is necessary to compare oil level at the stopped and working engine. If level does not change, don’t even think about skidding. Slip the car at working engine and with a gear stick on position "N". There is one more way of slip of the car with failed Automatic gearbox. Fill as much as possible Automatic gearbox with oil. That will provide any greasing of all its details.

Whether trailer towing by the Automatic gearbox equipped car is allowed?

It is allowed. But it is necessary to remember the higher is load, the more heat is in the hydraulic transformer. If you constantly use the trailer, think of installation of an additional radiator in cooling system of Automatic gearbox. Besides, in case of long towing of the trailer the use of raising transmission is undesirable. It is better to do it on ranges "3" or "2.

Is it necessary to warm Automatic gearbox before a start of motion?

Just after a start of motion it is recommended to avoid dynamic driving until the oil in all units gets warm to working temperature. In a cold season prior the beginning of movement it is better to warm up oil a little in Automatic gearbox. For this purpose it is necessary to move the gear stick to all positions staying in each of them for some seconds. Then switch one of movement ranges and some minutes hold the car by a brake, at that the engine should work at single turns.

What are the main advantages and disadvantages of Automatic gearbox?

Automatic transmission makes driving more comfortable. You don’t need to select the necessary transmission and shift them, and this allows to concentrate on driving that in a difficult road situation is useful even for the skilled driver. Thanks to existence of hydraulic transformer, the Automatic gearbox creates more favorable service conditions, both for the engine and for a running gear that increases their resource, and a control system of work of automatic transmission prevents emergence of overloads of the engine and a running gear of the car caused by driver’s mistakes. The car with Automatic gearbox is equipped with system of passive safety which doesn't allow to start the engine in positions distinct from "P" and "N". And it also prevents spontaneous movement of the car when parking on a rough place, because you can take a key out from the ignition lock only in position "P". The disadvantages of Automatic gearbox is lower efficiency (because of losses in the hydraulic transformer), than at a manual transmission, and this increases fuel consumption. But not always. Modern automatic transmissions in some modes of traffic allow to gain higher efficiency in comparison with manual transmissions because of maintenance of optimum turns of the engine and "intellectual" control of hydraulic transformer blocking. Another shortcoming is slightly worst dynamic rates of dispersal of the car with Automatic gearbox than with a manual transmission in other same conditions. The difference isn't so great and for majority of drivers is insignificant. Well and the last the car with Automatic gearbox can be started only by means of a starter. It should be noted that overwhelming number of the drivers having experience of driving the cars with both types of transmissions, irrespective of prosperity and experience of driving give unconditional preference to cars with Automatic gearbox.

What is the kickdown?

If during movement you press against the stop a pedal of a butterfly valve control, in the gearbox there will be a switching on one or two transmissions down. This mode is recommended to use for obtaining higher values of acceleration that is useful, for example, during overtaking. Return raising switching in this case can occur only at engine’s taking of the maximum turns. If you loosen a pedal of butterfly valve control, the transmission will pass to a regular operating mode. It is necessary to understand that on the slippery road in the time of compulsory fall of transmission driving wheels can start to slip that can lead to drift skidding.

How to start movement of the car with Automatic gearbox correctly?


Before a start it is always necessary to press a brake pedal, switch the gear stick to the necessary position without pressing a pedal of butterfly valve control. After a light push it is possible to loosen the brake pedal and to start movement, pressing for this purpose a pedal of butterfly valve control.

What is Autostick (Steptronic, Tiptronic)?

It is a control system of Automatic gearbox work in which together with automatic, the semi-automatic control mode is provided, at which the driver gives command for switching of transmission and quality of these switches is provided by a control system. Depending on the manufacturer this mode has different names (Autostick, Steptronic, Tiptronic); it is realized only on the cars with an electronic control system of Automatic gearbox and that not on all of them. In cars equipped with such system, a gear stick has a special position in which the mode Autostick is switched on. Concerning this position there are two opposite not fixed positions of the gear stick. These positions have symbols "+" ("Up") and "-" ("Dn"), respectively for switching on higher or lower transmission. The Autostick mode is rather semiautomatic, than manual, because the transmission computer doesn't cease to supervise actions of the driver and won't allow him to start moving for example, from the higher transmission or to select the transmission that turns of the engine exceeded the admissible ones. For the rest, it is a complete illusion of mechanical transmission. At the driver’s wish it is possible to pass to usual automatic control mode switching the gear stick to position "D".


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