Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for mechanics and DIY enthusiast owners of cars, trucks, and motorcycles. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

My car has been rather sluggish lately - both ABS and TCS lights are on, which means there is a sensor error somewhere. I haven't had the time to look for and fix said error, but I have had to drive here and there. In doing so, I often find myself shifting my automatic transmission to 1st gear and then up to 2nd, 3rd, and finally D in order to get up to highway speed (60mph). Is this okay to do? I typically hold RPMs as such:

GEAR    RPM    Action
1       5000   *shift*
2       4000   *shift*
3       3000   *shift*
D       2500   *cruise*

This gets me up to about 65mph, if I were to not do that, it would only get me up to about 30mph in D (usually gets stuck in 1st). Pretty sure my wheel speed sensors are gone.

Car is a '97 BMW 528i with 171k miles on the clock, purchased at 154k on the clock, engine head rebuilt at 168k.

share|improve this question
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Wheel speed sensors would explain the ABS & TCS problems, but shouldn't affect the transmission. Does your transmission fluid smell burnt? Is the level OK? Does the car shift normally at lower speeds? Shifting an automatic manually doesn't hurt anything (unless you downshift at too high a speed or something), but it's hard to say what might happen with a potentially already-damaged unit.

share|improve this answer
Not that I can recall...I've sent the car off to the mechanic, but don't recall the Trans fluid smelling burnt. And nope, never downshifted at too high a speed – jsanc623 Jul 23 '12 at 15:35

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.