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2011 Kia Forte (Kia/Kia)
2011 Kia Forte (Kia/Kia)

You & Your Car

Help! My car isn't giving me the gears Add to ...

I have a 2011 Kia Forte 5, automatic. When taking my foot off the gas while the car is in a top gear, I find the car slows down way too fast. It doesn't even sound like the car is gearing down, but rather it feels like the gear it is on is being worked. I've taken to dropping the car into neutral when I take my foot off the gas as I approach red lights, then putting it back into drive when I want to get out of the coast. Everything sounds and feels fine when I do this, but I want to confirm this doesn't cause any damage long-term. – Lorne

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It sounds to me like the transmission is not, in fact, in sixth or high gear. Engineers use every trick in the book to maximize fuel mileage. One of these is to ensure engine drag is kept to a minimum. When driving at highway speed, the tachometer in your car should read somewhere in the 2,500-3,000 rpm range.When you release pressure on the accelerator, revs should drop gradually, along with vehicle speed. If they are not, or engine revs are higher than this or increase as you slow, the transmission is not in high.

I'm not sure what you mean by “the gear it is on (in?) is being worked.” There is provision in your Kia for the automatic to be shifted manually. On the console, you'll see indicators by the shift lever for “+” or “-”. If you are using these either on purpose or inadvertently, this is likely the source of your problem as the transmission is not getting into the higher gears and would thus provide more engine braking than expected.

Place the transmission in “D”, accelerate to cruising speed and watch the tachometer, ensuring it goes up and down with each shift. Once at 80-100 at part throttle, you should be in sixth and the tachometer indicating as above. If not, have your dealer check things out. As for placing it in neutral and then back in drive, there is little wear but I firmly believe that to be a bad practice if for no other reason than you could inadvertently be caught without control in an emergency situation.

TPMS light

When I get the summer tires switched over to winter tires/steel rims on the Acura CSX, the TPMS light comes on. I was told it's because I have steel rims, and not aluminum. Is there a way to have the tire pressure light turned off? – Moric

There is no difference, in this sense, between steel aluminum or any other type of wheel. It sounds to me like there are no TPMS sensors mounted in the steel wheels. Perhaps this was not done at the time of purchase as the provider failed to inform you they were required – at extra cost –. or was making a few extra dollars by not installing them.

Federal safety standards require operational Tire Pressure Monitor Sensors (TPMS), making it illegal to provide a way to turn them off. You should have a set installed for that tire/wheel combination.

If you chose not to, you can learn to live with the light or cover it with a piece of non-transparent tape. But hiding a warning light is not an advisable or acceptable practice.

globedrive@globeandmail.com

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