Q: How often should I change my transmission fluid?
A: It is recommended that your change your transmission fluid every 30,000 miles or when your manufacturer recommends this service.
The modern automatic transmission is by far, the most complicated mechanical component in today's automobile. Automatic transmissions contain mechanical systems, hydraulic systems, electrical systems and computer controls, all working together in perfect harmony which goes virtually unnoticed until there is a problem. The transmission is a device that is connected to the back of the engine and sends the power from the engine to the drive wheels. An automobile engine runs at its best at a certain RPM (Revolutions Per Minute) range and it is the transmission's job to make sure that the power is delivered to the wheels while keeping the engine within that range. It does this through various gear combinations. In first gear, the engine turns much faster in relation to the drive wheels, while in high gear the engine is loafing even though the car may be going in excess of 70 MPH. In addition to the various forward gears, a transmission also has a neutral position which disconnects the engine from the drive wheels, and reverse, which causes the drive wheels to turn in the opposite direction allowing you to back up.
Our transmission services
Transmission fluid exchange changes out virtually all of the fluid in your vehicle and is done through the cooler lines. Note that there are many different types of transmission fluids available; we use a synthetic fluid that meets or exceeds most manufacturer specifications. For the few that require a different type of fluid, we use Original Equipment type fluid.
Some of these fluids cost upwards of $15 per quart so we do have to charge more to service those vehicles. A transmission pan service only changes about 30% of the fluid in your transmission but allows access to change the filter and gasket. A pan service or a full fluid exchange can be done either separately or in conjunction with each other, these are two separate services.
Transmission ServicePosted January 18, 2012 9:59 AM
Let's talk about transmission service. It can be easy to forget about getting your transmission serviced because it doesn't need it very often. It's easy to remember to change the engine oil - you know, every 3,000 miles or 5,000 kilometers. Proper transmission servicing keeps your car running smoothly and helps you avoid costly repairs down the road.
The transmission undergoes a lot of stress. The grit you see in used transmission fluid is actually bits of metal that wear off the gears in the transmission. In addition to that, the transmission operates at very high temperatures. Usually it's 100 to 150 degrees higher than engine temperatures. Those high temperatures eventually cause the transmission fluid to start to break down and loose efficiency.
As the fluid gets older, it gets gritty and doesn't lubricate and cool the transmission as well - leading to even more wear. The fluid can actually get sludgy and plug up the maze of fluid passages inside the transmission. At best, your transmission won't operate smoothly. At worse, it could lead to costly damage.
When your transmission is running properly, it transfers more power from your engine to the drive wheels and improves fuel economy. That's why manufacturers recommend changing your transmission fluid at regular intervals. Your owner's manual has a schedule for transmission service and, of course, your service center can tell you what the manufacturer recommends.
Hot and dusty conditions; towing, hauling, stop and go conditions, and jack rabbit starts all increase the load on the transmission and its internal temperature. That means you need to change the fluid more often. A good rule of thumb is every 30,000 miles, 50,000 kilometers or two years. If your manufacturer suggests more frequent intervals or if you're driving under severe service conditions, you will need to change it more often. Some transmission fluids do not need to be changed until 100,000 miles or even ever. Always check what your manufacturer recommends.
Most service centers have the ability to perform a transmission service while you wait and the cost is quite reasonable. It's downright cheap when you think about how much a major transmission repair can cost! Your service technician will know the right type of transmission fluid to use. If it's getting to be time to have your transmission serviced, do your car a favor and have it done. If not this time, then on your next service stop.