The kickdown cable is one of the essential parts of your car's transmission system and should be replaced immediately once it gets frayed or damaged. Here are some tips to consider when buying a kickdown cable for your vehicle:
Getting the right length
It is very important that the automatic transmission kickdown cable matches the exact specifications of your car's transmission. This is because the kickdown cable has to be set at a certain length between the butterfly arm of the carburetor (or throttle body for engines with fuel injection) and the transmission with just a slight amount of play for final adjustment. If the cable is too slack, the transmission will take more time to shift into the next gear. But if the cable is too tight, the kick down may happen too early, leading to loss of power as well as potential damage to the engine and transmission components. You can usually find information regarding the ideal length of the kickdown cable in your car's owner's manual, although you can also use the old kickdown cable as reference (provided of course that it is still in one piece)
OEM versus performance aftermarket cables
When it comes to replacement automatic transmission kickdown cables, most dealerships would recommend original equipment manufacturer cables or OEM. OEM parts are made exactly to the specifications of the car manufacturer, so with an OEM cable, you can expect it to perform the same as with the factory cable you have to replace.
Performance aftermarket cables, on the other hand, are not sourced from the car manufacturer and are advertised to be better than the original. Some performance kickdown cables on the market, for example, are made from spread bore braided stainless-steel and covered with an extruded liner to extend their lifespan, as well as aluminum fittings and ferrule to prevent the cable ends from getting frayed. These aftermarket cables are also designed to work in tandem with the aftermarket transmission components from the same brand. However, because they are not sourced from the manufacturer, these performance cables are not guaranteed to work as well as, let alone better than, OEM kickdown cables.
If you are looking for additional performance or are planning to replace your transmission components with aftermarket parts, an aftermarket kickdown cable would be a suitable option. However, if you want the assurance that the kickdown cable will perform as it is intended in your car, an OEM cable would be a better choice.