Dodge Avenger: Automatic transmission - Starting and operating - Dodge Avenger Owners ManualDodge Avenger: Automatic transmission


Damage to the transmission may occur if the followingprecautions are not observed:

• Shift into PARK only after the vehicle has come toa complete stop.

• Shift into or out of REVERSE only after thevehicle has come to a complete stop and the engineis at idle speed.

• Do not shift from REVERSE, PARK, or NEUTRALinto any forward gear when the engine is aboveidle speed.

• Before shifting into any gear, make sure your footis firmly on the brake pedal.

Shift Lever

Shift Lever

NOTE: You MUST press and hold the brake pedal downwhile shifting out of PARK.


• It is dangerous to move the shift lever out of PARKor NEUTRAL if the engine speed is higher thanidle speed. If your foot is not firmly on the brakepedal, the vehicle could accelerate quickly forwardor in reverse. You could lose control of the vehicleand hit someone or something. Only shift intogear when the engine is idling normally and whenyour right foot is firmly on the brake pedal.

• Unintended movement of a vehicle could injurethose in and near the vehicle. As with all vehicles,you should never exit a vehicle while the engine isrunning. Before exiting a vehicle, you shouldalways shift the vehicle into PARK, remove thekey from the ignition, and apply the parkingbrake. Once the key is removed from the ignition,the shift lever is locked in the PARK position,securing the vehicle against unwanted movement.

Furthermore, you should never leave children unattendedinside a vehicle.

Key Ignition Park Interlock

This vehicle is equipped with a Key Ignition Park Interlockwhich requires the shift lever to be placed in PARKprior to rotating the key to the LOCK position. The keycan only be removed from the ignition when the ignitionis in the LOCK position and once removed the shift leveris locked in PARK.

Brake/Transmission Interlock System

This vehicle is equipped with a Brake Transmission ShiftInterlock System (BTSI) that holds the shift lever in thePARK position when the ignition switch is in the LOCKposition. To move the shift lever out of the PARKposition, the ignition switch must be turned to any otherswitch position (ACC, ON, or START) (engine running ornot) and the brake pedal must be pressed.

NOTE: If a malfunction occurs, the transmission willnot shift out of park. Battery power is required to releasethe brake/transmission interlock system. However, thereis an override system that allows you to shift out of PARKin case of loss of power. To activate the override system:

• Firmly apply the parking brake.

• Insert the ignition key and rotate it to the ON position.

• Remove the cup holder liner.

• Insert a key, screwdriver, or finger into the front holethen push and hold the manual override release leverforward.

• While holding the release lever forward, move theshift lever from PARK to NEUTRAL. Release theoverride.

NOTE: If this occurs, even if the override is successful,it is recommended that you visit a dealer at your earliestpossible convenience. Your dealer has diagnostic equipmentto determine if the problem could recur.

Automatic Transmission Ignition Interlock System

This system prevents the key from being removed unlessthe shift lever is in PARK. It also prevents shifting out ofPARK unless the key is in the ON position and the brakepedal is applied.

NOTE: If a malfunction occurs, the system will trap thekey in the ignition cylinder to warn you that this safetyfeature is inoperable. The engine can be started andstopped, but the key cannot be removed until you obtainservice.

Four–Speed/Six–Speed Automatic Transmission —If Equipped

The electronically controlled transmission provides aprecise shift schedule. The transmission electronics areself-calibrating; therefore, the first few shifts on a newvehicle may be somewhat abrupt. This is a normalcondition, and precision shifts will develop within a fewhundred miles.

Gear Ranges


This range supplements the parking brake by locking thetransmission. The engine can be started in this range.

Never attempt to use PARK while vehicle is in motion.

Apply parking brake when leaving vehicle in this range.

When parking on a flat surface, place the shift lever in thePARK position first, and then apply the parking brake.

When parking on a hill, it is important to set the parkingbrake before placing the shift lever in PARK, otherwisethe load on the transmission locking mechanism maymake it difficult to move the shift lever out of PARK. Asan added precaution, turn the front wheels toward thecurb on a downhill grade and away from the curb on anuphill grade.


• Never use the PARK position as a substitute forthe parking brake. Always apply the parkingbrake fully when parked to guard against vehiclemovement and possible injury or damage.

• Never leave children alone in a vehicle. Leavingunattended children in a vehicle is dangerous for anumber of reasons. A child or others could beseriously or fatally injured. Do not leave theignition key in the ignition switch. A child couldoperate power windows, other controls, or movethe vehicle.


DO NOT race the engine when shifting from PARKor NEUTRAL positions into another gear range asthis can damage the drivetrain.


This range is for moving the vehicle backward. Shift intoREVERSE only after the vehicle has come to a completestop.


This range is used when vehicle is standing for prolongedperiods with engine running. Engine may bestarted in this range. Set the parking brake if you mustleave the vehicle.


Do not coast in NEUTRAL and never turn off theignition to coast down a hill. These are unsafepractices that limit your response to changing trafficor road conditions. You might lose control of thevehicle and have an accident.

DRIVE — Six–Speed Transmission

This range should be used for most city and highwaydriving. It provides the smoothest upshifts, downshifts,and best fuel economy. However, use the AutoStickmode and select the appropriate gear when frequenttransmission shifting occurs in the DRIVE range. Forexample: When operating the vehicle under heavy loadingconditions, (i.e. in hilly terrain, traveling into strongheadwinds, or while towing heavy trailers). Under theseconditions, reducing shifting by selecting the appropriategear in AutoStick will improve the performance andextend transmission life by reducing excessive shiftingand heat build-up.

DRIVE— Four-Speed Transmission

This range should be used for most city and highwaydriving, it provides the smoothest upshifts, downshifts,and best fuel economy. However, select the 3 rangewhen frequent transmission shifting occurs while usingthe DRIVE range, such as when operating the vehicleunder heavy loading conditions, (i.e. in hilly terrain,traveling into strong headwinds, or while towing heavytrailers). Under these conditions, using the 3 range willimprove performance and extend transmission life byreducing excessive shifting and heat build-up.

DRIVE 3— Four-Speed Transmission

This range eliminates shifts into fourth gear. The transmissionwill operate normally in first and second gear.

Shifts into third may be delayed to provide second gearoperation at higher speeds. The 3 range should also beused when descending steep grades to prevent brakesystem distress.

NOTE: Using the 3 range while operating the vehicleunder heavy operating conditions will improve performanceand extend transmission life by reducing excessiveshifting and heat build-up.

LOW — Four-Speed Transmission

This range should be used for engine braking whendescending very steep grades. In this range, upshifts willoccur only to prevent engine overspeed while downshiftsoccur earlier than other gear range selections.


If the transmission operating temperature exceedsacceptable limits, the vehicle computer will overrideOVERDRIVE and “3” DRIVE range by changingshift points. This is done to prevent transmissiondamage due to overheating.

Reset Mode - Electronic Transmission

The transmission is monitored electronically for abnormalconditions. If a condition is detected that could causedamage, the transmission automatically shifts into secondgear. The transmission remains in second gear (thirdgear with a six-speed automatic) despite the forward gearselected. PARK, REVERSE, and NEUTRAL will continueto operate. This Reset feature allows the vehicle to bedriven to a dealer for service without damaging thetransmission.

In the event that the problem has been momentary, thetransmission can be reset to regain all forward gears.

1. Stop the vehicle.

2. Shift into PARK.

3. Turn the ignition OFF, and restart the engine.

4. Shift into the desired gear range and resume driving.

NOTE: Even if the transmission can be reset, it isrecommended that you visit a dealer at your earliestpossible convenience. Your dealer has diagnostic equipmentto determine if the problem could recur.

If the transmission cannot be reset, dealer service isrequired.

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