For many in the Hypermiling community choosing the right transmission for your next “eco” ride is a simple choice… choose a Manual.
Automatics are often heralded for providing a stress free, clutch-less and relaxing drive but in most cases this is at the expense of your fuel consumption. The reason? Its all down to the transmission loss that inherent with the design and operation of automatic transmissions. It’s accepted that “traditional” automatics have a transmissions loss of up to 8 percent more than a manual.
In contrast the new breed of automatic “clutch-less” transmissions has bucked this trend. Transmissions such as the Ford’s Power-shift and the Audi DSG transmissions are much more efficient than traditional automatic transmissions, are quicker to shift and are often more efficient than their manual siblings. The down side with this technology is that it’s very complex and expensive to repair or replace when things go wrong.
To help those wanting get the most from their “auto” we thought we’d put together some Hypermiling tips in the form of this Hypermiling 101 to help you squeeze out every last MPG from your “tranny”.
The most common question I’m asked by auto owners is regarding coasting: “Is it safe to coast in an Automatic?” The sort answer is yes. Lubrication for the internal components of the transmission is usually provided by the engine. The complications start when you attempt any type of engine off coasting. Unless your car can be flat towed then please DO NOT attempt to FAS. Consult your manual or seek advice from your manufacturer. Turning of the engine will starve the transmission of fluid causing untold carnage to its internal components.
Manual transmissions offer the greatest flexibility for gear selection and help you squeeze every last MPG from your vehicle. Unfortunately this is often something restricted by automatic transmissions even if you do have a manual selection mode.
Autoboxes can often be “tricked” into a lower gear by releasing the throttle momentarily but most cases it depends on other factors controlling gear selection such as RPM and speed.
In order to keep in the lowest gear possible it would also be beneficial to be as light on the throttle possible. Poking at the right pedal will most likely cause the transmission to “kick down” into a higher gear causing the revs to jump and using more fuel in the process.
Our Hypermiling 101 pages are meant to be a guide to help you on your way to Hypermiling nirvana, but we are always keen to hear from our like minded motorists to help shape our tips for the benefit of everyone. If you have any other automatic hypermiling / fuel saving tips then please get in contact with us via the contact form or in the comments below.