Many have asked us and others have been curious about how to use the AutoStick feature found in our Dodge Challengers and other Chrysler vehicles. We decided to give those interested a quick explanation of how it works and how to use it. The AutoStick refers to a feature found in the 5-speed automatic transmission that is a standard feature in many of our cars.
Best way to describe its use, is moving the shifter to the left side (towards the driver) to down shift the car. Move the shifter to the right side (towards the passenger) and you up shift. Moving the shifter either direction (left or right) will take the car out of automatic mode and put it into manual mode (the gear you are in will appear on the LED indicator on the dash, it will change from D to a 1 thru 5). Holding the shifter to the right for a few seconds throws it back into full auto mode (D on LED indicator).
While sitting still and idling, moving the shifter to the left will put the car in 1st gear (manual mode). Still sitting and still in 1st gear, moving the shifter this time to the right will put the car in 2nd gear (manual mode, for mud and snow when you don’t want a lot of torque to the rear wheels). You cannot start off in 3rd gear, only 1st or 2nd.
While driving in full auto mode (D on LED indicator), when you move the shifter to the left, the car will down shift and go into manual mode from thereon out until you move the shifter to the right and hold it there for a few seconds or you re-start the car, both of which will put the car back into full auto mode.
While driving in manual mode, you can pre-order a shift. That is to say, you can move the shifter to the right to go from say 1st to 2nd gear but then quickly move the shifter to the right again to pre-order a 3rd gear shift when the RPM’s reach a point above stall speed.
The transmission won’t let you destroy it. If you attempt to bang it on down to 1st gear while on the freeway doing 70 mph, it’s not going to happen. Same for trying to up shift to 5th gear when the car is moving at 5 mph, it’s not going to happen. You can only down shift or up shift within a certain RPM range for that gear, else the shift will get ignored.
If you are in the manual mode and say traveling down the freeway in 5th gear and you find yourself having to quickly reduce speed, the car will automatically gear down with you as your speed slows. It won’t stay in say 5th gear and let you stall. Likewise, if you are standing still and in 1st gear manual mode and floor it and do not shift into 2nd, then when the car reaches its redline, it will automatically shift into 2nd gear for you, and on up through the gears (on newer cars equipped with Sport Mode turned on, you can exceed the redline). The transmission won’t let you rev it into infinity and blow the motor. Same while idling, if you attempt to rev the hell out of the car while in neutral, the car will most likely go into limp mode to protect itself.
We hope that clears up some of the mystery. The manual mode is a lot of fun but like anything, it has a learning curve. Don’t be afraid to try it and experiment.
The transmission, itself, goes by several names, namely the NAG1 and the WA580. The technology found in the transmission (from Mercedes) is the result of the Daimler-Chrysler merger and sharing of technology as a result of that merger. The transmission is electronically controlled and as far as transmission go, it’s one of the stronger ones with a torque capacity of 796 lb-ft, more than enough for the Hemi engines to handle.