What is kickdown? Does kickdown harm your car?
Beautiful foreign words have always been popular among young people and, even more so, among automotive youth. Drift, afterburner, and of course kickdown… All these words are related to cars and speed, but not always those who use these “words” can clearly explain what they mean. Today in the section “Useful tips” I will tell about what kickdown is, and whether kickdown harms your automatic transmission and your car as a whole. Let’s go! What is kickdown? Kickdown is a momentary increase in engine speed due to a sudden pressure on the accelerator pedal (gas). During kickdown, the transmission lowers the gear(s) (engages the lower speed), due to which there is like a “second breath” that allows one to make a sharp acceleration or maneuver. Kickdown is essentially “throttle to the floor”, which is provided by the car manufacturer and is used mostly on high-powered sports cars. Where is it used? Yes, anywhere! Ideally, during overtaking, when it is necessary to make a quick maneuver. Kickdown is also used at the start or during high-speed competitions. The beauty of kickdown is that the automatic understands what you need, and downshifting gives you the necessary power and “cannon” acceleration, while you do not need to switch or activate anything. Typically, kickdown on cars is implemented in the form of a button located under the gas pedal, that is, during a slow ride and leisurely acceleration, you will not use this option, which is also convenient, agree. Is kickdown harmful and how automat reacts to “gas to the floor”? Many owners of the car with automatic transmission and in essence with kickdown option have quite logical question – whether this option harms a gearbox. In fact, as you know, “automatic machines” are rather fragile and do not like an aggressive manner of driving. So it is, automatics likes smoothness, however automakers equip with it sports cars, which are created to “pile on” by default. What is the matter then, and where is the logic, you may ask? The matter is that kickdown is the function, which is provided and the main thing is approved by the manufacturer of your automobile, therefore it is possible to use it. Whether it is harmful to your box, it is difficult to tell. Most likely, no, because the manufacturer would hardly equip your car with what kills it. Moreover, when you hit the gas to the floor, it activates a lot of systems that monitor what you do, as well as how the engine and automatic transmission work. In general, the system is so clever that on the one hand it allows you a sharp acceleration, which all automatic machines do not like, and on the other hand, based on a variety of indicators (speed, rpm, gear, throttle position, etc.) it activates the gear that is allowed at this speed and at this rpm. In short, even with kickdown in 5th gear, your “automat” will not shift to 1st no matter how much you want and no matter how much you push on gas pedal. All your actions, as well as the actions of your car, are controlled by smart electronics. It follows from this that kickdown can be considered as safe for your car. A few “BUTs”… The exception is when the car is quite old and the automatic is not so perfect to perform such “maneuvers”. Old automatic transmissions receive big loads at sharp pressings on gas, and which, taking into account age and fragility of automatics of that time, can react on your kickdown with a costly breakdown. Therefore, it is not necessary to test “old woman”…
The second situation is when there is kickdown, but it does not work or works incorrectly, or there are malfunctions in the automatic transmission itself. In such cases, it is quite risky to use kickdown, as well as the box itself, it is necessary to diagnose or even repair, after which a specialist should make a conclusion about the workability or inoperability of the automatic transmission. If kickdown is there, but not working, it is a reason to contact the service, but if it works, but the box itself behaves “strange”, I would not recommend using kickdown.
And the last thing… As they say, everything should be in moderation, this also applies to kickdown. You should not use this function unnecessarily or very often. Even if the manufacturer has provided kickdown, it does not mean, that it is necessary to use it every five minutes. No, you should understand that no matter how you turn, but full throttle is the increased loading for all mechanisms of the box, which sooner or later can put it out of operation.
Moreover, any sudden acceleration is a plus to fuel consumption. When you press the pedal to the floor, the car operates at the peak of possibilities, which is accompanied by high fuel consumption.
There you go… Thanks for listening. That’s it for me! I hope you now understand what kickdown is and if it’s bad for your automatic. Bye everyone, take care of yourself and your car!
Kick down on cars with automatic transmission – what mode is necessary for?
You cannot see anything in modern automobiles. If 50 years ago the car was necessary for simple driving, today it is a universal vehicle. You can enjoy the breeze on a hot summer day, get warm on a cold winter’s evening or even watch some program.
Cars that are equipped with an automatic transmission have a special function called “kickdown.” Using this mode allows the driver to reach the maximum possible speed very quickly.
In order to activate the function, it is necessary to sharply press the accelerator pedal to the stop. At this time, there will be an automatic reduction of the gear. This option is very useful in some situations. Let’s imagine – a car with an automatic transmission is going to overtake and sees a car in the oncoming lane in the distance. He understands that his speed is too low to cope with the maneuver in time, so he can squeeze the gas pedal to the limit and the car will instantly gain speed.
This mode is not foreseen today in vehicles equipped with a manual transmission or a variator. If you take the same situation and the car with a manual transmission, then to make a quick overtaking will need to first lower the gear, and then squeeze the gas pedal. The principle of action is the same, but in an automatic transmission, the automat does everything for the driver.
In modern cars, activation takes place after the driver has depressed the accelerator pedal all the way down. In older cars with automatic transmission, you need to release the pedal sharply after depressing the pedal for the process to be successful. Before applying the mode in real conditions, it is better to test it on some platform without people and cars. Only this way it will be possible to understand the principle of work of a mode and not to be confused in cases when it is really necessary. Kickdown can be applied only at low revolutions. When the mode is activated, the car loses a couple of gears, and oil pressure in the transmission decreases instantly. The pressure then returns to normal, the engine revs up and goes back into a higher gear. If you translate the term “kickdown,” out comes “kick down.” On older cars, there was a separate button directly under the gas pedal which activated the mode, but in modern designs it has simply been removed.
Note that after the car has switched to the desired mode, there is no need to keep the accelerator pedal in the same position – the system independently adjusts the speed and parameters for acceleration. Specialists do not recommend using the mode too often, since when there is an increased load on the gearbox and power plant. As a result, both elements wear out before the specified time.
Result . On cars with automatic transmissions, a special mode – “kickdown” is provided. It allows you to develop a high speed in the shortest possible time. As a rule, on the roads, the function is useful during overtaking. Frequent use of the mode can lead to premature wear of the power unit and transmission.