Is It Possible to Convert Transmission from Manual to Auto in a Car?

It is possible to install a manual gearbox into an electric car. We’ve already seen an electric Ferrari get a renovation with an old-fashioned manual transmission. But, is it possible to convert transmission from manual to auto?

It is possible to bring any mechanical change to almost any car given that you have invested enough money, time, and expertise. What you have to have ready at hand is a donor car that has all the parts identical to your car except for the automatic transmission (in case it is computerized such as OBD or OBDII systems). It does not need to be an exact match if not computerized.

Is It Possible to Convert Transmission from Manual to Auto?

Well, you have already got the answer. But, how to do it? If it’s a modern car, dated at or after the mid-1990s, the process will require something more than just changing the transmissions to be complete. It will need a new ECU/computer in addition to a new wiring harness, transmission mount, motor mount, and renovation of the firewall.

To make it simpler, what you will need to convert transmission from manual to auto are:

Reconfiguration of the drivetrain

It is necessary to reconfigure the entire drivetrain because the functions of an auto gearbox are completely different of a manual transmission.

convert transmission from manual to auto
You have to reconfigure the whole drivetrain. (Photo: Naija Car News)

Replacement of the gearbox

It makes complete sense because you are going to change the transmission type. It’s not easy because you have to make a series of changes and repairs to place the new gearbox into your car. The newly added gearbox has to comply with the configuration of your car’s engine.

Other changes

You have to replace and modify a couple of other parts to fit the new gearbox into the car. The body and engine wire harness have to be replaced if it is not compatible and cannot transmit signals and electrical power to the new transmission.

If the shift mechanism is floor-mounted, you have to either remove the floor panel or cut a hole in the carpet. You have to do similar things to the column for a column-mounting mechanism.

You may also have to replace components like a pump, torque converter, and a few others for the accommodation and smooth functioning of the new gearbox.

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Convert Transmission from Manual to Auto – The Problems

The conversion is not a question of possibility but feasibility. You should go for it only if you have enough money and the enthusiasm for such experiments. Otherwise, you will find a very large hole in your pocket after the end of the project.

Some other problems that you will face are:

Finding the right servicing shop

You won’t find many garages in the country that have skilled mechanics to perform such a complex procedure. The possibility of finding an authorized service center for this job is almost out of the equation. Even if you find one, the exorbitant expenses will make selling the car and buying an automatic a cheaper option. If you choose to do it at an unauthorized shop, the vehicle’s warranty will be void.

convert transmission from manual to auto
Finding the right garage for this job won’t be easy. (Photo: SmartCheck)

Some components are irreplaceable

There are some parts that you cannot replace later because they come from manufacturers only. For example, there is no way to replace the  ABS or anti-lock braking system with an aftermarket product.

Modern cars don’t have enough space

Most of the vehicles these days are smaller than their older counterparts. They have the components of the transmission and engine installed in a small place. So, even a minor change could be impossible due to the space problem.

What Should You Remember When Convert Transmission From Manual to Auto?

When switching from a manual transmission to an automatic one, many “new drivers” often make basic mistakes in operating the accelerator pedal, and brake pedal… causing unsafety and easy damage to car parts.

Below are some notes to help drivers switching from manual to automatic transmission be safer and avoid accidents.

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Use both feet to control the vehicle

For automatic transmission vehicles, there will be no clutch pedal, only the accelerator and brake pedals. Therefore, when driving the car, the driver will only need his right foot to operate between the brake and the accelerator. The left leg will be completely released.

However, in reality, many people are so used to driving and operating manual transmission cars that it is difficult to ignore the habit of using the left foot. Therefore, even though you drive an automatic car, you still use your left foot to step on the brake and your right foot to step on the accelerator.

According to experts, when using two feet to drive an automatic car, in many unexpected cases, it is possible to mistakenly use the accelerator and brake pedals, causing sudden acceleration and loss of control…

Mistaking the accelerator pedal for the brake pedal

There have been many cases where accidents have occurred because drivers mistakenly applied the accelerator and brake pedals. After all, they were not used to driving automatic transmission vehicles.

Therefore, experts advise that when driving an automatic transmission vehicle, if there is no need to press the pedal, the driver should switch to applying light pressure on the brake pedal. That way, if an unexpected situation arises, the driver will not be startled and mistakenly step on the accelerator.

Change from D to N

According to the habit of manual transmission drivers, they often shift from all gears to N when stopping at a red light or parking on a slope… However, this is something that must be given up when using an automatic transmission if you do not want to reduce the lifespan of your transmission.