The Importance of Changing Transmission Fluid
The transmission is one of the key components of a car’s engine. Whether automatic or manual, the transmission’s important duty is for shifting gears, giving the engine power and the appropriate level to drive at a given speed.
An automatic transmission shifts automatically for you as you accelerate or de-accelerate, while a manual transmission relies on the driver to shift.
Because of its integral role in the operation of your vehicle, replacing or repairing a transmission is an expensive proposition. To avoid finding yourself on the bad end of a big bill, changing the transmission at appropriate intervals is essential.
What is Transmission Fluid?
Transmission fluid is, in part, a lubricant that makes the parts inside your transmission move smoothly. If you have an automatic transmission, the fluid also works as a coolant and a viscous fluid transmitting power from the engine to the transmission.
Among the very important functions transmission fluid serves are to actuate gear changes and remove heat caused by friction of the parts inside the transmission.
A manual transmission fluid uses a mix of base oil and additives to lubricate gears so that when the driver shifts, the transmission performs correctly. Most automatic transmission fluids also include chemicals for different transmissions, to help effectively shift automatically.
What Damage is Caused by Not Changing Transmission Fluid?
As a vehicle ages, the transmission will undergo wear and tear. Over time, the fluid becomes thinner and contaminated and can cause premature wear on the transmission.
Stop-and-go driving, hauling loads and trailers, and other hard use are especially tough on all fluids in a car, and transmission fluid is no exception. The harder the driving, the hotter the transmission’s operating temperature, and the more strain there is on the transmission and its fluid.
Metal shavings and other contaminants work their way into the transmission fluid. If the fluid isn’t changed on schedule, the transmission’s life will shorten.
Besides shavings and contaminants in the fluid, if you have a leak, the amount of fluid may run low, which can cause the transmission to shift poorly or stop shifting.
What Maintenance is Required?
The good news is that unlike oil, transmission fluid only needs changing infrequently. Depending on the age, condition, and type of car, this could vary anywhere from every 30,000 all the way up to 150,000 miles—depending on the owner’s manual and who you ask.
If you engage in a lot of hard driving, consider having your fluid checked fairly often. Because many cars do not have a transmission fluid dipstick to enable owners to monitor the level themselves, checking and changing the fluid is an involved process. It is advisable to take your vehicle to a reputable service center.
It is easier to change the transmission fluid for a manual transmission than for an automatic, but either way, doing so is typically above the expertise level of most car owners.
Mr. Transmission offers different levels of transmission service—from fluid and filter exchange to fluid and filter flush—to keep your transmission in road-ready condition. Our transmission maintenance services can help provide smoother shifting, improved performance, component failure reduction, and give your vehicle a longer life.