Downshifting with a Kickdown Switch
One of the few annoyances of driving a vehicle with an automatic transmission is that you can't seem to get that quick burst of speed that you can get with a quick downshift from a manual ride. You can easily remedy this by installing a kickdown switch in your vehicle. Once activated, the kickdown switch will downshift into the lowest permissible gear based on a car's current road speed so it could use the full power reserves of its engine. This little device is often used in older vehicles since modern ones have a transmission control unit that uses a sensor to automatically downshift when needed.
Get an OEM kickdown switch
Kickdown switches are very simple devices, so you're better off buying an OEM replacement since they'll be cheaper. If you're planning to install a kickdown switch on your own, then we recommend that you get a complete kit instead. Installing a kickdown switch will require mounts, wires, and other items that might not be present in your vehicle at the moment. To avoid the hassle of fabricating your own mounts or making modifications to your ride, you'll want to get a complete kit instead.
You don't have to spend much
Kickdown switches are one of the cheapest aftermarket components that you can buy online. Prices typically range from as low as $10 for a standalone switch to as high as $50 for a complete kit. Installation may be complicated for some, especially for those who aren't familiar with their vehicle's electrical wiring. If it proves too difficult for you to install a kickdown switch yourself, then you'll have to hire a mechanic to do it for you instead. Don't worry. This is simple procedure for auto repair shops and they'll just charge you a small fee to install it for you.
Experience Better Downshifting with a Kickdown Switch
Depending on the situation, we all need to downshift every now and then to get that burst of speed that we need. Whether it's overtaking someone on the highway or merging on to the freeway, it'll be hard to downshift suddenly when you're driving an older vehicle that has an automatic transmission system. Don't worry. With the right add-on, you can easily solve this problem. Installing a kickdown switch in your vehicle will allow you to downshift much more efficiently, and it shouldn't be expensive to install one yourself. In fact, with just a couple of basic tools and about an hour of your time, you can easily add or replace your own kickdown switch. You'll need some experience with electrical wiring and accessing your vehicle's transmission in order to perform this DIY task. If you aren't familiar with any of these, then you can simply ask a trusted mechanic to install your kickdown switch for you instead.
Difficulty level: Difficult
What you'll need
- 13 gauge wire
- Wire splicer
- Volt meter
- Ratchet and socket set
- Kickdown switch
Step 1: You'll be working with electrical components so you'll need to disconnect your car's battery before you begin any work on your vehicle.
Step 2: You'll then need to find a suitable location for mounting the solenoid for the kickdown switch. We recommend that you place it near the carburetor and in line with your vehicle's throttle linkage for proper operation.
Step 3: You'll then have to mount the kickdown switch assembly onto a throttle bracket boss on the intake manifold. Most kickdown switches have a mount bracket included in their kits. Otherwise, you might have to fabricate one yourself.
Step 4: Once you've mounted the kickdown switch, then you'll have to wire it properly to your car's 12-volt power lead. You'll need to use a volt meter to locate and tap into the power lead itself. Use some 13 gauge wire for this procedure.
Step 5: You'll then have to connect the power lead to one of the terminals on your switch and then connect to other terminal to your transmission.
Step 6: The switch should be "open" when driving under normal conditions, and then closed under full throttle conditions. You'll be able to test this by flooring your gas pedal. Make sure you do this safely.
Step 7: Keep in mind that any number of locations or methods of mounting the kickdown switch are possible as there are no set rules or instructions on where or how to install this add-on.