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Old 12-19-2001, 01:22 PM
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Automatic transmissions

Just bought my first ever Automatic car after 20 years of driving manuals. Very nice.

But I know nothing about auto's. can any enlightened reader tell me:

Should I put the car in neutral and apply the handbrake when stationary in traffic? Or is it quite acceptable to leave it in Drive? Will this accelerate wear in any of the gearbox components if I do?

How long do auto boxes generally last? Do they ever wear out?



97 E300TD
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Old 12-19-2001, 01:34 PM
MikeTangas's Avatar
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Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: So. Cal
Posts: 4,430
You can just leave it in gear when stopped in traffic (but keep your foot on the brake ). Be careful, after that long of a run driving stick, you might accidently forget you have an auto and try to jam it up into the next gear. Hopefully the shft gate will prevent it. That is hard on the tranny, I know - I went from a 3 speed column shift to my Dad's auto, at the proper speed, I jammed her into second, D'OH, that was reverse on his.

Yes, autos will wear out, or at least need repair but should last 200K miles or more if well taken care of.
Mike Tangas
'73 280SEL 4.5 (9/72)- RIP
Only 8,173 units built from 5/71 thru 11/72

'02 CLK320 Cabriolet - wifey's mid-life crisis

2012 VW Jetta Sportwagon least its a diesel

Non illegitemae carborundum.
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Old 12-19-2001, 04:52 PM
David C Klasse's Avatar
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Location: Mission Hills in the City of San Diego
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Yes, you can leave it in D when stopped, but I heard that if you are going to be stopped for more than 2 minutes, you should put it into neutral. Probably not really needed, but what have you got to lose?

Trans fluid should be changed every 30k miles, though it seems as though you have the 722.6 5-speed auto (every US model 97 and newer had it). This is supposed to be a lifetime fill, as in never be changed. But if you want to really be safe, I would have it changed every 60k miles, just for the extra peice of mind (BlackMercedes has this done on his cars). It's a good $200 for the service, because it's a special synthetic trans fluid for MB.
2006 E350 w/ 155k miles (Daily Driver)

1993 300E 3.2L Sedan w/ close to about 300k miles
2003 E500 Brilliant Silver (Had 217k miles when totalled!)
1989 300E with 289,000 miles (had for <1 yr while in HI)
03 CLK 500 cabrio (Mom's)
2006 C230k (Dad's)
1999 S420 (Mom's/Dad's)
2000 C230k Sport sedans
2001 CLK320 Cabrio (Mom's)
1995 C280 My First Mercedes-Benz... (155k miles. EXCEPTIONAL AUTOMOBILE. Was Very hard to let go of!)
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Old 12-19-2001, 05:57 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 3,492
I attended an MB service clinic, and cornered the MB Zone Rep about the issue of the 722.6 tranny and it's so-called lifetime fill of tranny fluid.

He admitted "were it my own car, I'd change the fluid and filter every 90,000 kilometers."

I changed the C230's fluid and filter at 90K. The dealer charged me $275 for parts and labour.

You Yanks would do it every 55,000 miles.

I'm going to have the E300's done this srping, depsite it being only at about 50,000 kilometers, just 'cause it's been in the car for almost four years.
John Shellenberg
1998 C230 "Black Betty" 240K

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Old 12-20-2001, 10:28 AM
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Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: New York, Long Island
Posts: 2,704
Try not to hit the brake with your left foot! I did this a couple of times after I switched to an auto and it was quite interesting Auto's do wear out quicker than manuals but if you take care of them as suggested above you should get a good long life from it.
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Old 12-20-2001, 11:16 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 3,492
When I bought my MB (my first automatic daily driver) I would smash my left foot into the floor when coming to a stop, or preparing to start the car.

The auto-boxes are not as long lived as manny-trannies, but the cost of clutch replacements can equalize the cost of ownership.

I NEVER ride the ride the clutch, or abuse it. Even with TLC, the clutch in our Acura was slipping after only 70,000 miles. So, I happened by the dealer, and asked about replacing it. Over $1000! Shortly thereafter most of the rest of the car gave out completely, so we just sold it, slipping clutch and all.

If you buy a car with a robust clutch, operating a manny-tranny is much cheaper.
John Shellenberg
1998 C230 "Black Betty" 240K

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Old 12-20-2001, 01:46 PM
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thanks everyone!

looks like its about to snow....get to use the W button on the gearbox now.....!
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Old 12-21-2001, 07:14 AM
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I offer my sympathies for your demise into the world of an automatic transmission. They are expensive to buy, expensive to repair and inefficient. But, I expect that well over 90% of the cars driven by us lazy Americans are automatics.

Enjoy it and Merry Christmas.
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Old 12-21-2001, 03:21 PM
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Hi LarryBible!

I do a lot of driving in town; commuting in edinburgh and an auto is really the only way to go! plus I am getting on a bit mow!

In any event, If I want the joy of speed and a manual gearbox, I can alwyas use my Suzuki GSX1100!

A good Christmas and Hogmanay to you and yours!

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Old 12-22-2001, 02:18 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Florida
Posts: 270
If stopped in traffic..unless your planning on eating lunch there, leave it in gear until it's your turn to proceed. remember to wait until it's your turn..sorry i couldn't resist. Also the cost of ownership of an automatic transmission is simply the serviceing for most owners as opposed to the new clutch at regular intervals. Your auto transmission is no more fragile than the rest of your car and after a short time I'm certain you will come to appreciate the convenience of it and the constant shifting up and down and neutral and clutching and stalling and clutch jobs will just be fond memories...Happy Holidays.
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