Text: Brent Co / Photos: | posted April 26, 2014 18:00
Using the right fluid for the proper automatic transmission
Automatic transmissions are perhaps one of the better inventions in the automotive world; a transmission that would automatically change gears is one of the best things you can have if you get stuck in rush hour stop-and-go traffic.
The automatic gearbox was first invented in 1921 by Canadian steam engineer Alfred Horner Munro using compressed air to switch gears; unfortunately it never found successful commercial applications because it lacked power. Eleven years after, Brazilian engineers José Braz Araripe and Fernando Lehly Lemos developed a new prototype model using hydraulic fluid. It was sold to General Motors along with the plans; later being introduced as the 'Hydra-Matic' in 1940 with the Oldsmobile.
Not all automatic transmissions are the equal, though. The three common kinds of automatics found in cars today are the hydraulic automatic transmission, continuously variable transmission (CVT), and dual-clutch automatic transmission. For a more in-depth feature on automatic transmissions, read Tito Hermoso's Making Automatic Sense.
In their quest for efficient performance and fuel economy, major automakers have started adapting use of CVT and dual-clutch automatic transmissions. This means your old neighborhood mechanic might be wrong when he says all automatic transmissions are the same when you pull in to his shop for servicing.
French lubricant specialist Motul, which has been in the oil business since 1853, introduced specific fluids for modern transmissions. Through its Philippine distributor Prestige Autosport, Motul now offers the Multi CVTF (continuously variable transmission fluid) and the Multi DCTF (dual-clutch transmission fluid).
The Motul Multi CVTF is a Technosynthese (semi-synthetic) high-tech transmission fluid that has been developed to suit a wide range of passenger vehicles conforming to stringent OEM standards of Audi, BMW, Citroen, Ford, GM and Mercedes-Benz. It is suitable for either belt or chain driven CVT gearboxes. Locally, manufacturers commonly offering models with CVT are Honda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota.
The Multi CVTF offers even better fuel economy for CVT equipped cars by providing optimum metal-to-metal friction. At cold temperatures, the CVT reaction is also improved. Its high shear stability gives an extended lifetime duration as well as gives better protection against belt wear, and extends the life of the chain and pulleys.
For dual-clutch transmissions (DCT), Motul has developed the high-performance Technosynthese Multi DCTF. It has been developed to suit DCT gearboxes with either Double-Dry Clutch or Double-Wet Clutch design. Motul engineers have closely worked with DCT makers ZF, Getrag and Borg Warner for optimal performance with their transmissions. Multi DCTF is suitable for use with VW-Audi-SEAT-Skoda (VAG) DSG or S-tronic, BMW DKG, Ferrari TF DCT-F3, Mercedes-Benz 7G-DCT, Porsche PDK, Ford Powershift, PSA Peugeot-Citroën DCS, Mitsubishi Twin Clutch SST and Nissan GR6 used in the R35 GT-R.
For more about how dual clutch transmissions work, read The Truth About Dual Clutches by Vince Porenlos.
For standard hydraulic type automatics, Motul offers the 100% synthetic ATF-1A which conforms to JASO-1A, Dexron III, Mercon, and Allison C-4 standards. And the Multi ATF which meets OEM recommendations of US, Asian and European manufacturers and JASO-1A, Dexron III, Dexron II, Mercon V, and Allison C-4 standards.
Using the wrong fluids will cause permanent damage to your transmission which are costly and at most times irreversible. Always remember to check your owner's manual on which fluid you should use for your car or ask your dealer.