Hi there, I've had my 1.4 automatic titanium for a few weeks now and am very pleased with the auto box. Not sure about the brake fluid though. I'm no mechanic but I would have thought it should only need checking on its yearly service unless you happen to have some problem with it. better check with a mechanic though. Regards over-riding the auto box for making the manual changes you simply flick it sideways, towards you the driver, it then tells you on the dashboard what gear it is in. you can then change gear manually by flicking it slightly forwards or backwards ( + or - ) to change up or down when you want to. Its like a sequential type. However, for example if you tried to change up from 3rd to 4th but were going too slow it will remain in 3rd and you need to wait until you have increased speed a little (usually about 30 mph) Or if you want to remain in 3rd (to accelerate quicker and for longer) just simply leave it in 3rd. On the otherhand though when you have it in manual mode (lets say in 4th) and you slow down to make a turn or whatever, although you are in manual mode it will change down a gear, or two, itself. So even in manual you dont have to think or worry what ACTUAL gear you are in you simply have the choice of sequentially changing up or down a gear should you choose to. When you want to be back in fully auto mode at any point at all just tap it to the left again, back into D. I much prefer it to other standard auto boxes I've had where you literally have to choose between manual 1, or 2, or 3. Might look a little complicated when you see it written like I have here but in practice it is really simple and easy. I got used to it very quickly. Its really smooth too.