How is your transmission and what is your experience getting replacement parts...

Heard all kinds of comments about the Smart's transmission (see NY Times). What is going on here? Also have not heard much about the cost and availability of parts- love to hear how others have experienced getting parts like oil/AC filters, replacement parts like side mirrors, etc. Since my nearest option is also a Mercedes dealership in SF who does not have a reputation for service and parts, I sure like to know what I have to look forward to...

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Comment by Mayumi on June 24, 2008 at 12:30pm
I "trusted" my transmission today. Is it okay for the engine to get up to 5500RPM? I'm just not used to the sound when in 2nd gear at 40mph or 3rd gear at 60mph! I guess I'm used to the pitch of a 6-cylinder engine. Thanks Gregory's, Stuart (et. al.) for the advice. I guess my smart is "getting used to me" instead of the other way around :-)
Comment by Pete on June 23, 2008 at 9:42pm
I found letting up on the gas slightly (not up all the way) when the transmission shifts and then re-applying normal pressure after the shift makes for a very smooth ride. works even better in manual mode.
Comment by beatty on June 23, 2008 at 6:22pm
The shifting gets more second nature each day, keeping up is never an issue.
Comment by Stuart Berman on June 23, 2008 at 12:06pm
Mayumi - People that have had their cars for a while report that the transmission 'learns' and feels better after some miles (perhaps 1,000 miles).
I have had my car since Jan 2008 and find that the car shifts very smoothly now and I also no longer try to compensate when the car shifts (like the Gregory's said - do not lift off the gas when the car shifts).

There are more and more online parts availability for accessories as well as maintenance. If you check my web site I have some listed.
Comment by Mayumi on June 22, 2008 at 10:05pm
I've heard that the American fortwo shifts more slowly than the Euro model. The auto-shift from 1st to 2nd rocks the car notably. If I floor it, the computer just doesn't want to get out of 2nd (@ 40+mph) and I have to left off the gas to coax it into 3rd (and again into 4th). (I guess Butch and Denise have a smarter computer than mine :). When I need responsive gear shifting, I switch to manual and can retain the gear I want very easily (4th for passing and hills and the such). I quickly got used to its idiocinracies quickly, expecially since the car can zip along at any speed--other small cars are so unresponsive that every millisecond of an engaged.engine matters.
Comment by Jerry Masters on June 22, 2008 at 7:55pm
2000 miles down and its a normal feel now, I was never one to speed off at a light so the need to spped thru the gears is not needed but when you watch the people behind you I love to just hit the gas in 3rd gear and zip them in the dust....
Comment by Butch & Denise Gregory on June 22, 2008 at 5:34pm
Trans.,, I tried to back off and let it shift, not so good.
When I learned to just hold a consistant amount of gas pedal, the car did everything and it is great. DO NOT LET OFF TO SHIFT,,,, LET the car DO EVERYTHING ABOUT SHIFTING !!!!
Comment by WEE-SUV on June 22, 2008 at 2:30pm
The shifting bothered me a little at first, but after driving it a while I have no complaints.
Comment by toes on June 22, 2008 at 12:56pm
As for spare parts beyond basic consumables: I would try ebay (and include Europe - make sure you are looking at the 451, not 450) ... lots of Smarts over there. Maybe you can team up with other Smarties in your area to order things like body panels (when you want to change the car color) to save shipping.
I would also think that Midas, Grease Monkey, Pep Boys (and others) should catch on soon and offer basic services just like the dealerships (oil and filter changes, etc).
Comment by Michael Foster on June 22, 2008 at 11:54am
A lot of not so good comments on the transmission because a lot of people don't understand what it is. Just a 5 speed manual transmission, it's the way it changes gears that everyone has heartburn over. People that drive strictly automatic transmissions don't like the time between between shifts. People that drive manual transmissions don't like the time between shifts. The physical movements for dis-engaging the clutch, moving from one gear to the next, and re-engaging the clutch is computer controlled. It's not the fastest but very consistent. If you get used to it it becomes second nature.

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