“What is it?”
A Transmission Fluid Service is the changing of transmission fluid in the transmission. On most cars these days, this consists of draining the fluid out and then filling it back up to the proper level with the correct type of fluid. Some cars require special draining and filling procedures that require more time and special equipment. Some cars require removal of a pan that the fluid sits in. This pan is bolted to the bottom of the transmission. When the pan is removed, a gasket and filter need to be replaced and the pan needs to be cleaned very thoroughly.
“Why does my car need it?”
A Transmission Fluid Service needs to be done periodically to prolong the life of the transmission. After a period of time and mileage, the transmission fluid loses its ability to clean, lubricate, cool, pressurize, and generally run the transmission. Micro particles and dirt build up inside as the transmission wears which can clog passage ways and filters. If this condition gets bad enough, it will cause the transmission to fail prematurely.
“When does my car need it?”
There are many different opinions on this and car manufacturers specify different mileage/time intervals for transmission fluid services. Some car manufacturers don’t even specify a transmission fluid service at all. Based on our experience and research, we recommend a service every 30,000 miles. If the car manufacturer specifies a mileage/ time interval, then we base our recommendation on that.
“I just had it done not that long ago and now you guys are recommending it. Why?”
If we visually check the condition of your transmission fluid and find it to look dirty, and we have no prior record of doing a transmission fluid service on your car, then we recommend it. If you had one done within the last 30,000 miles or within the manufacturers specified mileage/time interval, then you don’t need one. We cannot always tell by looking at your fluid as to whether or not you need a service. That’s why it is always important to keep good auto maintenance records for your car. Some transmissions do not have a conventional “dip stick” that makes it easy to check the level and condition of the fluid. In those cases we do make the recommendation if we have no prior record of a transmission fluid service being done on your car.
“I had another place tell me that I shouldn’t do a Transmission Fluid Change because I have a lot of miles on my car. Is that right?”
If the transmission has over 80,000 miles on it, and a Transmission Fluid Service has never been done, then there are a lot of particles and dirt that have accumulated inside your transmission. If a Transmission Fluid Service is done now, there is a greater chance that these particles can become lodged in a valve, passageway or other area of the transmission that can cause a problem in shifting or cause slipping or even transmission failure. These types of occurrences are very rare. We inform our customers of the potential of this happening. But there is a much greater risk of a transmission failing prematurely due to little of no maintenance performed. That is why it is very important that a Transmission Fluid Service is done every 30,000 miles or when the car manufacturer specifies.
“Do you guys use a Transmission Flush Machine?”
No. We do not use a flush machine because car manufacturers do not endorse their use. As a matter of fact, some car manufacturers have published TSB’s (Technical Service Bulletins) prohibiting their use due to potential problems that may occur as a result. We follow the car manufacturer’s procedures on how to perform the service on every vehicle.
If you have any questions related to this subject or any auto repair topics, just ask us here at My Mechanic.