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2012 Malibu LT 2.4L I4
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23 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
For the past5 months I've been driving my Malibu everyday in Manual. It hasn't seemed the damage the transmission or make it shift worse or harder etc. . .


I've heard that shifting any automatic in Manual makes it drive terribly and completely ruins the teansmission fast. But this just doesn't seem to be the case.

The way I shift it might be the reason why it's still totally fine.

I shift it like its a standard but without a clutch and pressing the shift buttons. So basically I get it up to the optimal shift point for the load conditions, the I press the the upshift button, wait dor the lag to stop. Let my foot off the gas so the clutches can do their thing then put some gas back on so it completes the shift.
 

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2011 Malibu LTZ 3.6L V6 Red Jewel Tintcoat
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18,242 Posts
You're doing just fine. What you've heard has been uninformed rumors.

To get shifts that are at precisely the right times, use D. The transmission is too slow to respond in M mode if you're actually trying to "race".

Some points that you should know about your 6-speed transmission.

It's not a DCT. It is a "normal" automatic with the added ability to be commanded to shift via paddles. A true DCT (dual-clutch transmission) will have the next gear already engaged so that all it takes is engaging the next clutch for it to shift to the new gear, while at the same time it releases the first clutch and then engages the next gear, ready for the next shift. If you're accelerating, it'll be the next higher gear; decelerating, the next lower gear. About 5 years ago I drove a VW Passat and was totally amazed at how crisp and fast it shifts compared to my poor little grocery-getter.

The computers use "TM" - torque management - in order to shift the gears, no matter if it's in D or M mode. You can have your foot buried to the floor and it'll reduce the throttle just slightly enough to take some of the strain off the system, perform the shift, then restore the throttle.

I've had TM reduced from 100% stock to around 25%. When I shift 1-2 at 38-42 mph, it chirps the tires. When I had Michelin tires, it even chirped them. To do that, though, it puts an enormous strain on things, and it could snap something right there and I'd be up a crick without a paddle. To get a 1-2 shift at that speed, the throttle has to be nearly or fully floored. I don't go out of my way to do it anymore, but sometimes it'll chirp 'em at lower speeds when I'm not expecting it. If you feel like looking for it, search for some of my posts about that. There is at least one video on the matter.
 

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Super Moderator
2017 SS Sedan 6.2L
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5,028 Posts
You're driving a traditional automatic transmission, you don't take your foot off the gas for the shift in manual mode. If anything you're just confusing the TCM with your weird throttle inputs. No damage is being done from use of manual mode...assuming you're not banging off the redline limiter all the time.
 

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Premium Member
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1,673 Posts
The bigger question is when was the last time you changed your trans. fluid and how often do you change your trans. fluid.
Since your playing with it I would change the fluid every 20k miles.
Primary function of manual mode is for snow / ice conditions to have engine braking in those conditions.
Let it shift itself, the trans. module is a lot smarter, every shift is wear on the clutches in the trans. and forcing a shift whether up or down all the time is increasing wear. It may seem fine today but how long / far do you want trouble free operation?
I got 190k miles out of my '09 4 speed and sold it shifting / running just fine. An it's not like that car never saw the gas pedal on the floor at least once a day.
If you like to shift then a manual trans. car is the better choice for you rather than a family sedan with a automatic.
 

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Registered
2012 Malibu LT 2.4L I4
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23 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
You're doing just fine. What you've heard has been uninformed rumors.

To get shifts that are at precisely the right times, use D. The transmission is too slow to respond in M mode if you're actually trying to "race".

Some points that you should know about your 6-speed transmission.

It's not a DCT. It is a "normal" automatic with the added ability to be commanded to shift via paddles. A true DCT (dual-clutch transmission) will have the next gear already engaged so that all it takes is engaging the next clutch for it to shift to the new gear, while at the same time it releases the first clutch and then engages the next gear, ready for the next shift. If you're accelerating, it'll be the next higher gear; decelerating, the next lower gear. About 5 years ago I drove a VW Passat and was totally amazed at how crisp and fast it shifts compared to my poor little grocery-getter.

The computers use "TM" - torque management - in order to shift the gears, no matter if it's in D or M mode. You can have your foot buried to the floor and it'll reduce the throttle just slightly enough to take some of the strain off the system, perform the shift, then restore the throttle.

I've had TM reduced from 100% stock to around 25%. When I shift 1-2 at 38-42 mph, it chirps the tires. When I had Michelin tires, it even chirped them. To do that, though, it puts an enormous strain on things, and it could snap something right there and I'd be up a crick without a paddle. To get a 1-2 shift at that speed, the throttle has to be nearly or fully floored. I don't go out of my way to do it anymore, but sometimes it'll chirp 'em at lower speeds when I'm not expecting it. If you feel like looking for it, search for some of my posts about that. There is at least one video on the matter.

That was very insightful to read, thank you for teaching me!
 

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Registered
2012 Malibu LT 2.4L I4
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23 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
You're driving a traditional automatic transmission, you don't take your foot off the gas for the shift in manual mode. If anything you're just confusing the TCM with your weird throttle inputs. No damage is being done from use of manual mode...assuming you're not banging off the redline limiter all the time.

No, I usually just do half throttle launches and only go up to 4k rpm max. I haven't let the engine hit 6k in 5 months. . .
 

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Registered
2012 Malibu LT 2.4L I4
Joined
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23 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
The bigger question is when was the last time you changed your trans. fluid and how often do you change your trans. fluid.
Since your playing with it I would change the fluid every 20k miles.
Primary function of manual mode is for snow / ice conditions to have engine braking in those conditions.
Let it shift itself, the trans. module is a lot smarter, every shift is wear on the clutches in the trans. and forcing a shift whether up or down all the time is increasing wear. It may seem fine today but how long / far do you want trouble free operation?
I got 190k miles out of my '09 4 speed and sold it shifting / running just fine. An it's not like that car never saw the gas pedal on the floor at least once a day.
If you like to shift then a manual trans. car is the better choice for you rather than a family sedan with a automatic.

I don't change it because I never have money, but I do oil changes regularly. I like the feeling of it shifting when I let off the gas, so I'm gonna keep doing it. Besides, when this transmission is done I'm going to try and fit a Cobalt standard transmission in. people say it shouldn't be done, but I will get it done. And yeah, the TCM is a smart computer, but I just like the feeling of the shift. I4 engines can only deliver so much power though.
 
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