Does revving the engine regularly while doing 70 mph harm the transmission?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jul 01, 1998

Dear Tom and Ray:

My wife has a 1996 Toyota Camry. A great car, of course, but she's doing
something I believe is going to lead to premature replacement of her
automatic transmission. As she drives at a steady speed (say 70 on the
highway), she constantly taps the gas pedal. In fact, it's like she's
playing a tune on the thing (usually "Marching to Georgia"). As I watch the
tachometer, the needle repeatedly "pops" up a few hundred rpm. In addition
to making me carsick, I claim this is damaging the transmission. She says
I'm full of it. Am I? -- William

RAY: Are you full of it? Probably, William. Most guys are. But in this
case, you certainly are.

TOM: The transmission couldn't care less if she revs the engine like that.
Even if she plays "The Barber of Seville" with her foot on the gas pedal,
it won't affect the longevity of the transmission. It's the upholstery she
should be worried about; she's making you carsick!

RAY: Actually, I should point out that when we drove a Toyota Avalon
recently (which shares a drive train with the V6 Camry), I noticed it was
very difficult to keep the car at an exact highway speed. And I found the
car "jerked" slower and faster as I tried to keep the speed constant. Not
enough to send the tachometer "a few hundred rpm," but enough so that you
could see the needle move. It may have just been a problem with the car we
were testing, but your car may have the same problem.

TOM: So ask her to try an experiment. Go out on the highway and ask her to
keep the speed absolutely constant. If she can do it, then you'll know it's
just a behavioral problem. Then you'll either get her to cut it out, or
you'll buy yourself a family size jug of Dramamine.

RAY: But if she can't keep the car comfortably at a steady highway speed,
you should ask your dealer to take a look at it. Good luck, you two

* * *

TOM: Hey, do you think you're taking good care of your car? Are you sure?

RAY: If you're like many of our customers, you may be ruining your car
without even knowing it. Yes, even you! Find out how. Send for your copy of
our informative pamphlet, "Ten Ways You May Be Ruining Your Car Without
Even Knowing It!"

TOM: Send $3 and a stamped (55 cents), self-addressed No.10 envelope to
Ruin No.1, PO Box 6420, Riverton, NJ 08077-6420.

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