Kia Venga 1.6 2012 - Best way to drive a torque converter auto - VengaPete

I've had my Venga 1.6 2012 since February and this may be a numpty question but can anyone suggest the "correct" way to drive a TC automatic.

Let me explain: I understand how a TC box works and specifically on the Kia it uses a Torque Converter mated to a 4 speed gearbox using standard planetary gea***t. The gear selector has 1, 2 and D. I have two specific questions that Google provides conflicting answers for so wonder what the forum thinks.

1) Around town is it better to stick it in 2 or D - speeds never above 30pmh. Varied Google answers say holding in 2 can cause accelerated wear on the gea***t clutches and planetary gea***t wear if you then go from 2 to D while moving. But I can't see that myself as in D it will be activiating the clutches anyway and 2 to D is all forward rotation and is a "natural" change pattern

2) After causing a kickdown event, say for climbing a hill where the box thinks 4 is better, what is the protocol regarding accelerator position. Do you hold it at the floor or do you back off a bit.

Sorry if these are numpty questions but I'd like to know I'm treating my car correctly as I like to keep them long term and so don't want to be having an expiring auto box in a short timescale.

And yes, it is woefully thirsty (25mpg around town, 33mpg on a run) but in every other respect it suits us so we can live with the mpg issue (and you never know, with the new calculatons being due from September, it might not actually be that bad after all.

Kia Venga 1.6 2012 - Best way to drive a torque converter auto - RobJP

You're overthinking it.

Put it in 'D' in 99.9% of cases, and just drive it to the appropriate speeds.

In the tiny minority of cases where you need it NOT to change up (for example, if you were towing a heavy load up a steep hill, and it would 'bog down' in an instant if it did change up), use 1 or 2.

Kia Venga 1.6 2012 - Best way to drive a torque converter auto - gordonbennet

^^^ very seldom do you need to interfere with a TC auto, they really do everything just about right.

Kia Venga 1.6 2012 - Best way to drive a torque converter auto - nellyjak

As above..stick it in D and leave it there.!

My TC auto has overdrive and the only time I do anything with it is when I sometimes knock off the o/drive for a little extra engine braking.

Kia Venga 1.6 2012 - Best way to drive a torque converter auto - oldroverboy.

And if you are keeping it, see about a transmission fluid change.. but get it done properly, by dyalisis.

Kia Venga 1.6 2012 - Best way to drive a torque converter auto - Manatee

If you drive it gently it will work better - lock up sooner, change gear less, keep the temperatures down. But that doesn't require any special technique.

That doesn't mean slowly - just allow it to accelerate gradually, lift in good time to minimise unnecessary braking. You might see an improvement in economy. Smoothness is the key and autos left to their own devices are usually very good at that. Conversely, unless they have a large surplus of power they can be unpleasant and unwieldy to drive agressively. My wife used to have a Civic auto (2002). It was nominally a four speed but it was really a 3 speed with overdrive. Flooring the accelerator would have it screaming in second, so after a while I just never did it. It was a lovely drive after that.

As it happens I have been driving a Jaguar XK 4.2 V8 auto this afternoon. That is a different bunch of coconuts. I can't even tell you how many gears it has, but I felt no need to operate them manually either.

I love driving manuals, and I love driving autos. My long distance car is an auto, my fun car is manual.

I think my driving improved when I got my first automatic. I now regulate my speed a lot more closely, pay more attention to road positioning and cornering lines, and generally give myself more time. to react.

Edited by Manatee on 01/06/2018 at 22:26

Kia Venga 1.6 2012 - Best way to drive a torque converter auto - SLO76
Blimey... the whole point of an auto is that it makes life easier, it’s one less thing to think about. Relax, slip it into D and drive.
Kia Venga 1.6 2012 - Best way to drive a torque converter auto - bazza

Spiritmonitor is giving about 34 to 35 mpg as overall average owner mpg, so 25 mpg sounds about right, if not very good, when used used around town. A hybrid might suit you better, although fuel economy isn't usually the biggest cost of car ownership

Kia Venga 1.6 2012 - Best way to drive a torque converter auto - John F

Your 1.6 is rated 25% more powerful than our TC auto Mk1 Focus Estate Zetec 1.6, which would help to explain such poor figures.

As for auto technique, use just D, and imagine an egg between your foot and the accelerator. Try not to break it. Floor it ('kick-down') only when needed for overtaking and for the occasional 'italian tune-up' when thoroughly warmed up. It will 'red-line' in each gear until you ease off the accelerator.

For maximum economy, coast as much as possible by snicking it in and out of N (known as 'ride and glide' in USA), especially when slowing to approach junctions/slip roads. Feather the revs up before re-engaging D if still moving at speed, e.g. 70mph at bottom of a M'way hill. When stopped at lights, use N, otherwise fuel will be wasted as the engine tries to pull against the brake. Unless on a steep hill, use P instead of the hand-brake, which will then last longer (ours has required no adjustment or attention in 17yrs/130,000m). Last year I checked our fuel consumption over around 1000 miles of town and country (we live in a village) plus the occasional M'way to airport.... 37.6mpg.

Kia Venga 1.6 2012 - Best way to drive a torque converter auto - Octane

My 1958 Wolseley 6/90 manual states that D is the position for all normal driving including starting from rest. It also says that L may be selected for ascending or descending long steep gradients. Most drivers from this era would have learned from experience it was better to select a low gear when descending Porlock Hill or similar rather than trust drum brakes to give you emergency stopping power at the bottom of it. I still prefer this cautious approach for some situations but generally trust servo discs to keep my speed down and stop if needed. Some six speed and more automatics can be a bit sensitive on a long motorway incline where the driver observes ahead a good deal of lane changing and develops a nervous right foot so the box then hunts between ratios. My experience tells me to keep it in D with as light a touch as possible (including after using kickdown) as is consistent with making adequate progress and let the box do what the designers intended. Broadly the advice from 60 years ago still applies. The latest petrol injections systems switch the fuel off when on the overrun so the old trick of selecting N for a frugal downhill run may not apply to your vehicle. On page 65 the manual states "It is recommendedthat the left foot should be used on the brake pedal when manoeuvring the car in confined spaces while the right foot is used on the accelerator in the usual manner" but that is another subject.

Kia Venga 1.6 2012 - Best way to drive a torque converter auto - gordonbennet

I never put a TC auto into N for coasting, if left in D engine braking is virtually non existant anyway, so i do as Nellyjack (above) and slip it out of D into 4 (not an option on the Venga, different set up) so i get a little engine braking on long descents.

I thought the consensus on putting the transmission into N when stopped at lights was that it depends on likely length of being stopped, for a normal light change time lapse more wear on the gearbox possible by engaging drive (repeatedly in town?), so maybe best to use N only when an extended stoppage in likely, but maybe that's no longer the preferred method.

Agree with ORB about making sure the transmission oil is changed on time, it's always noticeable how much smoother the transmission is after a change.

As for driving techniques, very seldom do i use kickdown, part of the pleasure of TC autos is the really smooth relaxed drive, and yes making use of as much overrun as possible will see much improved fuel figures, looking far ahead and judging approaches so you never have to stop makes the world of difference as does using terrain to your advantage.

If you can keep the thing moving instead of how the majority of drivers do, racing up to a junction then stopping hard and then having to blast off again from a standing start, it doesn't take much working out to see where lots of fuel can be saved by planning ahead, the amount of fuel used to get a vehicle rolling up to normal speed is astonishing, depending on how accurate your OBC is (and if it has fuel actually used feature) its possible to experiment and see for yourself just how much fuel is lost by not planning ahead.

Edited by gordonbennet on 02/06/2018 at 10:58

Kia Venga 1.6 2012 - Best way to drive a torque converter auto - Manatee

I never put a TC auto into N for coasting,

The manuals generally say that you should not tow a proper automatic. It does not necessarily follow that coasting is just as bad, because the engine is running - but unless you know how the gearbox is lubricated, maybe it is, I wouldn't do it, just in case.

My auto Outlander has next to no retardation on the overrun anyway. That might be partly due to its being a diesel (if there is no throttle plate) but I noticed yesterday that the petrol XK auto I was driving decelerated very slowly off throttle too.

Kia Venga 1.6 2012 - Best way to drive a torque converter auto - Metropolis.
Using P instead of handbrake is not good practice JohnF. You are putting a lot of strain on the parking pin. Correct procedure is apply footbrake, put the car into N, apply the handbrake, release the footbrake and ONLY after any slack is taken up by the handbrake, put the gearbox into Park. I’ve never had handbrake issues on my car either, similar vintage with ZF 4 speed gearbox.
Kia Venga 1.6 2012 - Best way to drive a torque converter auto - KB.

I've a suspicion that my thoughts - and those of JohnF don't coincide. I've bitten my toungue a few times when seeing his contributions in the past.

I'd have thought that logic (not to mention safety, common sense and car sympathy) dictates that you don't want to keep putting it into Neutral - and as for using P instead of the handbrake, well, all I can say is I'd sooner fix something in a handbrake than in a transmission. If you're doing either of those two things to save a few pennies - then you're either very mean or very poor. If the latter, then we'll all have a whip round.

Bit like not changing the oil often enough....


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