Car kicking transmission

Car Kicking Transmission: A Comprehensive Guide


A car kicking transmission, also known as a “kickdown transmission,” is a type of automatic transmission designed to provide a sudden burst of power when needed by the driver. It is typically activated by quickly pressing down on the accelerator pedal, which causes the transmission to downshift into a lower gear, resulting in increased torque and acceleration.

Components and Operation

1. Throttle Position Sensor:
The throttle position sensor monitors the position of the accelerator pedal and sends signals to the transmission control module (TCM).

2. Transmission Control Module (TCM):
The TCM is the electronic brain of the transmission, which receives input from the throttle position sensor and other sources, and determines the appropriate gear to engage based on the driver’s input and driving conditions.

3. Kickdown Switch:
In some vehicles, the kickdown function is activated by a separate kickdown switch mounted on the accelerator pedal. When the switch is pressed, it triggers the downshifting process.

4. Gear Selector Lever:
While not directly involved in the kickdown operation, the gear selector lever indicates the current gear engaged.

How Kickdown Transmissions Work

When the driver presses down on the accelerator pedal quickly, the throttle position sensor detects the change in pedal position and sends a signal to the TCM. The TCM interprets this as a request for maximum acceleration and engages the kickdown function.

1. Downshifting:
The TCM sends a command to the transmission solenoids, which actuate the corresponding gear selector to engage a lower gear. This process is often accompanied by a noticeable “kick” sensation in the vehicle.

2. Increased Torque and Acceleration:
By downshifting into a lower gear, the transmission effectively increases the engine’s speed and torque output. This provides the vehicle with a significant boost in acceleration.

3. Recovery:
Once the required acceleration has been achieved, the TCM will typically upshift back into a higher gear to maintain optimal fuel efficiency and engine performance.

Benefits of Kickdown Transmissions

1. Responsiveness:
Kickdown transmissions offer a more responsive driving experience by providing immediate acceleration when needed.

2. Passing and Merging:
The ability to quickly upshift and downshift makes it easier for drivers to pass other vehicles or merge into faster-moving traffic.

3. Hill Climbing:
In hilly terrain, kickdown transmissions can assist in maintaining speed and reducing strain on the engine.

4. Towing and Heavy Loads:
For vehicles towing or carrying heavy loads, kickdown transmissions provide the added torque needed for efficient operation.

Drawbacks of Kickdown Transmissions

1. Fuel Economy:
Using the kickdown function frequently can negatively impact fuel efficiency due to increased engine revolutions per minute (RPMs).

2. Wear and Tear:
Excessive kickdown use can place additional stress on the transmission components, potentially leading to premature wear and tear.

3. Safety Concerns:
Sudden acceleration can be dangerous in certain situations, such as when pedestrians or cyclists are nearby.

Using Kickdown Transmissions Safely

1. Use Sparingly:
Reserve kickdown use for situations where immediate acceleration is necessary, such as overtaking or merging.

2. Be Aware of Surroundings:
Ensure that it is safe to accelerate before engaging the kickdown function.

3. Avoid Prolonged Use:
Do not hold the accelerator pedal in the kickdown position for extended periods, as this can overheat the transmission.

4. Regular Maintenance:
Regular transmission maintenance, including fluid changes and filter replacements, is crucial to ensure optimal performance and longevity of the kickdown system.


Car kicking transmissions offer a convenient and effective way to access increased acceleration when needed. However, it is important to use them sparingly and in a responsible manner to preserve fuel economy, minimize wear and tear, and ensure safety on the road. By understanding the operation, benefits, and drawbacks of kickdown transmissions, drivers can optimize their driving experience and maintain the health of their vehicles.

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