Automatic Transmission Comparision

Messages
99
Location
Indiana
I have had stick shifts for the last 20 years and may need to buy a car with an automatic. I wonder how Civics, Corolla, BMW 3 series or Mini automatic transmissions compare in longevity or durability ?
 
Messages
94
Location
SWFL
your question might be a little too broad and generalized... for instance, the corolla line might use 3 different transmissions for different models, within the same model year. two might be in house made (by toyota), the other outsourced. GM makes a transmission for some BMW models... you might not find any significant correlation in the data just looking at models like that...might have to narrow it down a bit and start looking at specific engine/transmission combinations. i would start with type of car do you ACTUALLY want. then start looking in the reliabilty of the engine/trans combos...
 
Last edited:
Messages
470
Location
SSP mn
Honda and toyota autos are rock solid from w hat i have seen. Bmw and their subsidiary mini cant make an auto to save their [censored]. Mini's arnt as bad mostly due to lower power outputs On a side note a friend has a mini and it didnt make it a day after major work before the cel came on. They have module issues If you want an auto for efficiency cvt trannys help engine bsfc by keeping the engine in the torque band. Bit they kinda suck to drive
 
Messages
35,783
Location
NY
Originally Posted By: hansj3
Honda and toyota autos are rock solid from w hat i have seen. Bmw and their subsidiary mini cant make an auto to save their [censored]. Mini's arnt as bad mostly due to lower power outputs On a side note a friend has a mini and it didnt make it a day after major work before the cel came on. They have module issues If you want an auto for efficiency cvt trannys help engine bsfc by keeping the engine in the torque band. Bit they kinda suck to drive
I can't say much about Toyota transmissions, but the transmissions that Honda used in the V6 Accords and Odyssey Mini vans up to 2003 when I left working for them sucked. No disrespect intended. The ZF transmission my son had in his 2000 BMW 323i was another POS. There's good and bad in every brand.
 
Messages
19,686
Location
Sunny Florida
OK, major misinformation here. Unless you're buying an older BMW they almost all use the ZF 8 speed unit that is also in Audi, Bentley, Chrysler, etc. Very durable unit. All the 4 cylinder Hondas are fine, but their V6 models are a little questionable. Toyotas have very little issues at all. I have firends who have had bad luck with the Minis, they seem to have a few issues, but I know little about their trans as they are FWD...
 

KevinV

Thread starter
Messages
99
Location
Indiana
Hi Steve Thank you for the input. That makes good sense. Any thoughts about how long will the Honda or Toyota 4 cyminder engine's transmissions go mileage wise if maintained ? I was looking at a 2005 3 series or even a 2006-2008. I don't think they have the ZF 8 speed. I wonder how good their automatics were ?
 
Messages
35,783
Location
NY
Originally Posted By: SteveSRT8
OK, major misinformation here. Unless you're buying an older BMW they almost all use the ZF 8 speed unit that is also in Audi, Bentley, Chrysler, etc. Very durable unit.
My comments were directed to the ZF unit BMW was using back in 2000 plagued with the reverse drum issues. I don't know how long that run lasted but that unit sucked. OTOH I've heard some good reports about the 8 speed ZF unit they're now producing. I'd have no problem owning a vehicle equipped with one. The Honda info was based on seeing how many used v6 Accords and Odyssey Mini vans I sold that came back with bad transmissions. Lots of unhappy campers giving me death threats because they didn't take an extended warranty. It was amusing and entertaining at the same time. I left Honda in 2003.
 
Messages
648
Location
SF Bay Area, CA
I know some Minis from the mid-2000s had some pretty expensive issues. A friend of mine who is a die-hard BMW/Mini fan recently traded one in because of the transmission, something about the cost to replace was way more than the car was worth. I only drove it once and I think it was something like a tiptronic. He also has a (2008?) BMW X3 with which he regularly tows something like 3000 pounds to track days and I've been impressed, though I've been badgering him to change the fluid based on the severe usage schedule if one exists. Kevin
 
Messages
1,863
Location
NoVA
Anything European I would not keep based on longevity requirements. Yea you see some outliers here and there but I am talking about the field as a whole. Most Asian and American vehicles I would not have a problem with their regular auto trans. I also think most of the bugs have been worked out in the CVTs as well but best to find a site that deal in the make/model you are looking at to see. Just drain/fill the trans every 30k and most should be fine.
 
Messages
35,783
Location
NY
Originally Posted By: Jimzz
Just drain/fill the trans every 30k and most should be fine.
thumbsup Good advise although some of the newer transmissions make it difficult for the DIY guy and expensive to have it professionally done.
 
Messages
2,362
Location
Texas
Aisin AW (formerly Aisin-Warner) manufactures the best and most reliable automatic transmissions in the world. Aisin AW is majority owned by Toyota and supplies all of Toyota's automatic transmissions. Aisin AW is the largest automatic transmission manufacturer in the world and supplies automatic transmissions to 55 automotive manufacturers around the world, virtually every major OEM. These include General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Porsche, Saab, Audi, VW, Volvo, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Peugeot, Hyundai/Kia, and Suzuki (among others). Honda excluded. Honda designs and manufactures their own automatics. Over the years, Honda's automatics have had a spotty reliability record.
 
Last edited:
Messages
5,928
Location
Waterloo, ON
Owned several ZF transmission vehicles and never had a problem. Many over 500K. As with any trans, maintenance is important. Don't buy the manufactures "lifetime fill [censored]"
 
Messages
13,132
Location
By Detroit
Originally Posted By: KevinV
I have had stick shifts for the last 20 years and may need to buy a car with an automatic. I wonder how Civics, Corolla, BMW 3 series or Mini automatic transmissions compare in longevity or durability ?
Why might you need an automatic unless you are thiking you might have to have your leg amputated or something? I do (unfortunately) drive automatics a lot because my wife has an automatic. One of the best shifting and driving automatics I ever experienced is our 1999 Plymouth Voyager minivan 2.4L 4 cylinder with 3-speed automatic. No electronics but for the torque converter lockup mechanism. Nice and simple.
 

Ndx

Messages
1,878
Location
IL
Fyi BMW still uses GM transmissions my 2011 328i Xdrive had GM tranny, the non Xdrive got ZF
 
Messages
7,485
Location
S California
The most bullet proof, maintenance free transmission is in the Prius. It never shifts gears and has no reverse. There is an external clutch but it's always engaged and is there to only absorb shocks and lasts forever. The transmission fluid is sealed for life. Forget "save-the-earth" the Prius is in another universe when it comes to low maintenance and reliability. And the talk about the main battery going bad is just that, talk. In taxi service they are going over 500K miles with out a problem and these taxis are not driven by people that spare the whip.
 
Top