Teach Your Customers: Using First and Second Gears with Automatic Transmissions

Posted by on Friday, September 19th, 2014

Automatic Transmission

Sometimes beneficial for a driver to switch into a lower gear, even with an automatic transmission. As a mechanic, it’s your job to educate your customers.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons

The shift from manual to automatic transmission was an easy one for many people, but the addition of an option to choose first and second gear in an automatic years down the line was actually quite confusing for quite a few drivers. This is especially true for a generation that has grown up surrounded by automatic transmission automobiles and may not know the ways in which manipulating the gear that you’re in can benefit a driver.

It’s actually a bit of a shame that not many people know the utility of these gears, since they are employed primarily in the interest of safety. There are a number of road conditions that having the ability to drive at a certain speed but in a different gear can be remarkably beneficial. As a mechanic, it’s in your best interest to explain to your customers how they can best utilize these gears, and how to do so properly.

Times to Use Them

There are a number of times when it’s good to use these additional gears. Perhaps the most common is when a driver is going up and down steeply graded roads. Shifting down to second when traveling down a steep hill can help slow the car’s engine and make it easier to control a descent and avoid accidents. This can also be incredibly helpful when a driver is towing something, as it will give them more control over the movement of the car, something that can be hard to gauge with the extra weight.

The additional gears can also be a boon on slippery roads. A little bit of acceleration is lost in this, but so is quite a bit of torque, which is good in this case. It can give the car additional traction if the wheels spin into motion with less force. Using first and second at stop lights can also prevent wheels straining against breaks from sliding a car into the intersection.

Things to Keep in Mind

Using first and second can be helpful, but it comes with its share of warnings as well. For example, educate your customers as to see what speeds they should be shifting at. Shifting too late when choosing to use this option can cause significant damage to a car.

Remember also that in most new cars, the selection of gears is more of a suggestion. In certain conditions and at certain speeds, it is possible to manually actuate the transmission valve body, but at one point, the car’s computer will take over and put drivers back into automatic. This became necessary around 1996 or so, when people who were not raised with manual transmissions were literally blowing up their engines by not shifting appropriately, redlining their cars recklessly, or trying to replicate movie clichés that can only really be done with a manual.

For the most part, having those additional gears can be helpful in very specific situations, but should only be used by people who know what they’re doing. While the most dangerous aspects of using that option have been curtailed by advanced technology, it can still cause damage to a car if not employed correctly. Always be sure your customers are knowledgable!

If you’re looking for a quality remanufactured transmission, then you won’t do better than ETE REMAN. That’s why we offer a three-year/unlimited mileage warranty on all our products. Browse our online catalog and contact us today.


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