The driveline is an essential element of any vehicle, and the gearbox is an important component to the driveline that requires optimal lubrication to exploit its full potential. As most vehicles now come with automatic gearboxes as standard and manufacturers are creating an array of different types of automatic gearboxes, it is important for mechanics to understand the different automatic transmission fluid (ATF) requirements for the different types of transmission. ATF oils are specifically designed to meet the needs of specific transmission systems, which have unique requirements that are not found in other mechanisms. For example, a transmission system will need a fluid that provides pressure to the valves and protection for components such as the torque converter. Some of the more common types of automatic transmissions on the market include:
- Torque Converter Automatic (Geartronic, G-Tonic, Steptronic, Tiptronic, ZF 8-Speed): The more traditional type of automatic gearbox and uses the ATF to transfer the drive from the engine to the gearbox.
- Dual-Clutch Automatic (Direct-shift gearbox (DSG), Dual-clutch transmission (DCT), Powershift, S Tronic, Porsche’s PDK): Came onto the market in the early 2000s usually with paddles on the steering column or option to tap the gear lever to also change gears manually. The ATF keeps the gears lubricated to allow for extremely quick gear changes it produces and in some cases the plates operate in a bath of oil where a wet clutch is in use.
- CVT Automatic (e-CVT, Xtronic): Like the gear system on a bicycle this gearbox has cone-shaped pulleys linked by a belt or chain that needs top lubrication to allow for smooth transfers as the belt or chain moves up or down the cones.
- Automated Manual (Automated shift (ASG), EAT, EGC, ETG, robotised manual: Operates as a manual gearbox but the computer disengages the clutch and moves the gears instead of the driver.
- Single-Speed Gearbox: Although being very old technology, it is now being selected for use in a lot of electric vehicles as it’s the most efficient method of transferring power to the wheels.
As you can see within each main type of gearbox there are different names the boxes are known by, this is because each manufacturer has its’ own unique tweak to the basic gearbox to suit their vehicles’ requirements. With each different unique change, the manufacturer has worked alongside its’ lubricant partner to create the perfect blend of lubricant and additives to suit its needs, e.g. there might be different viscosities or frictional characteristics required. This has resulted in the large foray of ATF oils that are now required to meet each manufacturer’s requirement. Using the wrong ATF might not always produce a visible issue but it can be detrimental to the lifespan of the gearbox. Some of the more obvious issues that can occur include:
- The gearbox jumps between changes instead of smooth operation.
- The engine revs at various amounts
- Gears do not change at the right time
- Loss in acceleration
- Higher fuel usage
- Wear & tear due to inadequate lubrication
Total Energies offers a wide range of ATFs under their Fluidmatic range which comes with a large range of approvals from the leading manufacturers having been stringently tested. These synthetic oils have been carefully developed alongside some of the leading vehicle manufacturers and tested to the extreme on the global racetracks to bring you peace of mind. They contribute to the protection of the components of your automatic gearbox and greatly enhance friction performance, whilst offering a powerful protective solution to promote oxidation resistance for a longer lifespan, offering the option of extended drain intervals to reduce total ownership cost with reduced maintenance. To find out which Fluidmatic ATF you need, you can use Finol Oils’ ‘Which Oil’ oil finder app using your vehicle’s registration number at www.whichoil.ie or you can contact our technical team at (01) 4555 484. We are the Irish distribution partner of Total Energies lubricants and are located in Dublin with a network of sales & delivery teams nationwide.