Skip to main content

If your AT experience in sports and muscle cars is limited to the three- and four-speed slushboxes of yore, let us say this: today’s high-performance automatic transmission is nothing at all like them.

The early dislike for automatic transmissions seems to have melted away. These transmissions were once inefficient, clunky, and slow as they often provided one less ratio than a manual transmission, even in the exact vehicle. However, cars with automatic transmissions became point-and-go machines since shifting their gears required zero human intervention. As a result, these automatic transmissions have made driving more manageable and have become widely available.

Transmissions are primarily designed to assist in moving a vehicle with minimal effort from its engine. As a result, automatic transmissions are very convenient, mainly when you are trapped in busy traffic situations where you must stop, start, and shift gears frequently. They are also excellent options for beginners, particularly when on an upgrade. Automatic transmissions also make a hill start incredibly easy while giving you all the freedom you desire from the clutch. The computer system in a vehicle is the only entity whose complexity surpasses that of transmissions.

Why a High-Performance Automatic Transmission?

Have you ever wondered why some transmissions are referred to as ‘high-performance’ transmissions? It is because high-performance automatic transmissions are much more carefully engineered and built for engines capable of speed and exceptional performance. There was a time when this gear mechanism was limited to only a few vehicles. These vehicles were typically used only for street racing or racing on the drag strip. But this line has been blurred over the years, and many cars now have high-performance automatic transmissions.

Gone are the days when numerous car enthusiasts reserved specific vehicles for drag or street racing. Instead, they have gone out of their way to outfit their unique daily drivers to make them adaptable enough to conform to numerous everyday roles. In other words, it implies modifying their existing muscle vehicles to meet their objectives: a dependable daily driver and a reliable tear-up-track or tear-up-the-street vehicle by night or on weekends.

Types of Vehicle Transmissions

Three primary transmissions exist automatic, manual, and electric. Both automatic and manual transmissions have service intervals. However, since they are sealed units, electric transmissions don’t have service intervals. Modern paddle-shifted automatics, especially those with up to 10 gears, usually post better acceleration numbers than manuals. 

Understanding Automatic Transmissions

The automatic transmission delivers torque from the car engine to the wheels, providing optimal power for negotiating numerous driving conditions. Both automatic and manual transmissions offer a fixed number of gear ratios. In contrast, a CVT (continuously variable transmission) theoretically gives an infinite number of gear ratios within a specific fixed range. You can achieve this in vehicles with manual transmissions by selecting the right gear, though this depends significantly on the prevailing driving conditions.

But on the other hand, automatic transmissions select the ideal gear ratio without human intervention. Manual transmissions require maintenance from time to time and must be checked during periodic service. However, manual transmission issues can usually be fixed or repaired without fuss. But continuously variable transmissions and automatic transmissions are comparatively maintenance-free, according to most vehicle manufacturers. 

Improving the Reliability of Your High-Performance Automatic Transmission

There are six ways you should consider if you want to improve the reliability and performance of your automatic transmission. They are as follows:

1. Service Your Automatic Transmission

In an ideal case, automatic transmissions last between 300,000 km to 400,000 km. As a result, most vehicle manufacturers claim that their automatic vehicles do not need transmission fluids. Therefore, you don’t need to change your vehicle’s transmission fluid unless you have a leak. But practically, as with most things in life, things are not all that smooth with the majority of automatic transmissions.

Most automatic vehicles will notice strange transmission-linked symptoms, especially after approximately 150,000 km. Servicing usually helps fix or prevent these issues. However, according to most vehicle manufacturers, there is no need for transmission fluid changes. But in reality, the essential properties of transmission fluid usually start deteriorating with time or age. This means changing your automatic transmission’s fluid would be necessary.

Saving the automatic transmission is always easier during the early stages. But there’s no harm in undertaking a transmission fluid flush later. In most cases, changing the transmission fluid restores its performance to a greater extent, whether or not the symptoms are acute. However, there is no 100 percent guarantee, but the transmission fluid change often works. This is an excellent and inexpensive way of fixing automatic transmission issues.

This is because a brand-new transmission costs nearly ten times the amount it would take to flush your transmission fluid. Therefore, attempting the repair makes sense. Although it won’t restore the automatic transmission to its full initial performance, some symptoms may suddenly disappear while others get less dramatic. However, it is highly recommended to maintain automatic transmissions during the early stages than to risk this occurrence.

2. Change Your Driving Habits

Always allow your vehicle’s engine to warm up for several minutes before you shift into drive. This is crucial, especially during the winter months.

3. Change Your Transmission Filter

This depends on the model and makes of your car. Your vehicle’s automatic transmission may come with a filter that needs to be changed regularly. However, newer model vehicles don’t have transmission filters.

4. Never Change Gears While Your Vehicle Is in Motion

Ensure your vehicle stops completely before changing gears to ‘reverse’ or ‘drive,’ or vice versa. If you don’t, you unnecessarily put a strain on your automatic transmission. This could result in severe issues down the road if you keep this up for an extended period.

5. Always Use the Recommended Type of Transmission Fluid

Consult your car’s owner’s manual to determine your vehicle’s ideal type of transmission fluid.

6. Service Your Engine’s Cooling System

The job of your vehicle’s cooling system is to prevent the engine from overheating. But only a few car owners know that the cooling system also cools the transmission fluid pumping through the gearbox. It is far more likely to require a transmission repair before your car engine overheats. Therefore, ensure your cooling system is in ideal condition.

Final Takeaway

Automatic transmissions are taking over the day as manual transmission dies out slowly. These transmissions were once inefficient, clunky, and slow but have become the point-and-go machines we know today. In addition, these automatic transmissions have made driving easier and have become widely available. You can improve the reliability and performance of your automatic transmission by following the tips highlighted above.