Everything You Need To Know On Changing Transmission Fluid
Transmission fluid is an essential part of any vehicle’s functioning. It lubricates and cools the parts within the transmission system, helping them to work together without overheating or becoming worn down. However, it is important to note that changing your car’s transmission fluid isn’t simply a one-time task. There is a recommended schedule for changing your car’s transmission fluid, which can vary according to your vehicle’s model and how often you take it out for a drive. We’re here to discuss why it’s crucial for you to stick to the appropriate timeline for replacing transmission fluid, all to keep your car running smoothly in the long run. We will also cover everything you need to know on how to identify the need for a fluid change and how you’re able to extend the time between each visit to the workshop for a replacement.
Is It Really Necessary To Change Transmission Fluid?
The transmission fluid in any car is an important component to keep in good condition. The fluid serves several purposes, including lubricating the transmission components, providing hydraulic pressure, and transferring power from the engine to the wheels. As time goes by, the transmission fluid becomes susceptible to being contaminated with dirt, debris, and metal particles, reducing its effectiveness and introducing rapid deterioration of the parts that make up the transmission system. Regularly changing your transmission fluid and keeping up with routine maintenance can be the difference between fleeing issues and severe damages that demand costly repairs. The transmission is one of the most complex mechanisms in the vehicle, designed to handle wear and tear over many years, but without regular care, it could end up failing unexpectedly.
Looking out for the color, smell, and transmission oil level should be necessary, alerting you when it’s time to get the fluid changed before any significant breakdown occurs. Going through your trusted local mechanic will give you a better grasp on problems regarding your transmission while informing you on the type of oil needed for your car, according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Ensuring your transmission fluid gets changed regularly at the appointed time will save you much trouble when it comes to your time and money.
What Happens If You Don’t Change Your Transmission Fluid?
Not having your transmission fluid changed regularly can lead to serious consequences. Without proper maintenance, the fluid can become contaminated and break down over time, causing sludge to form in the transmission. This will inevitably result in gear-shifting problems as well as increased heat levels leading to mechanical and electronic failures. The increase in wear and tear is another problem you could be looking at, with the increased friction and wear on the transmission components potentially causing the premature failure of some parts.
With the transmission fluid used to help cool the transmission by dissipating heat generated by the moving parts, it will not be as effective the longer it goes without being changed. When the fluid is old and contaminated, the transmission system is prone to overheating, causing it to fail and induce further damage to its components. Another effect of the lack of maintaining your transmission fluid is slipping gears. Should the fluid start to run low, the transmission may not be able to engage the gears properly, leading to gear slips, which can result in decreased power and acceleration.
Should no attention be given to these issues, the damage may require expensive repairs or a complete transmission overhaul. Taking the time to check your transmission fluid is a practical step to reducing the chances of having such critical issues over your vehicle.
How Do I Know If My Transmission Fluid Is Bad?
There are a few ways to tell if your transmission fluid is bad. By knowing the signs that point toward problems within the transmission system, you can replace it as soon as possible and preserve your car’s state. Here are some of the most common ones:
Discolored or Cloud Fluid
Transmission fluid in good condition should have a clear and bright red or pink color to it. Should the fluid be discolored or cloudy, it would mean it’s been contaminated with dirt, debris, or metal particles, indicating the need for change.
Should your transmission start to run low or go bad, a car’s gears starting to slip is a tell-tale sign of a need for a replacement. In this case, you would notice your car slipping when shifting in and out of gears and the engine revving more than usual.
Hearing grinding or unusual noises from your transmission when shifting gears can be a sign that the fluid isn’t doing its job of transferring power properly, which warrants the need for a fluid change immediately.
If you notice any of these signs, it’s essential to have your transmission fluid checked and changed accordingly. A run-out transmission fluid will only cause more damage over time, so it’s always beneficial to stay on top of your transmission fluid maintenance by performing routine checks and replacing it on schedule. Any uncertainties should be discussed with a qualified mechanic, who can inspect the fluid and determine if it needs to be changed or if there are other problems concerning the transmission.
The good news is that you don’t need a mechanic to check the condition of the transmission fluid and its current level in the system. First, your car engine should be warmed up and kept running throughout the entire process; however, it could differ depending on the vehicle as some transmission fluid must be checked with the engine off. You will then need to locate the car’s dipstick, which can be found in the engine section. After locating the dipstick, you can remove it and wipe it clean, but be careful as the fluid may be hot. Reinsert the dipstick all the way in, and have it removed again. From there, you can observe the fluid level according to the indicators on the dipstick and its current condition. If your dipstick is sealed, you will have to refer to the car’s manual or have the manufacturer perform the checking instead.
How Much Should A Transmission Service Cost?
Transmission servicing is a crucial part of a vehicle’s maintenance and keeping your car in top condition. This generally includes draining the old transmission fluid, replacing the transmission filter, and filling the transmission with new fluid. However, many car owners don’t know how much they should spend on services for the transmission system. The cost will vary depending on the type of car you own, so be sure to do your research ahead of time. It’s also important to note that more extensive repair work can cost significantly more than a basic service, so if any potential additional costs arise, it could pay off to look around for options before committing. An experienced mechanic or auto shop can provide detailed advice on the best way forward and guide you in making informed decisions about your vehicle’s transmission service. While you’re able to find rough estimates online, it would be advisable to get a definite quotation from a mechanic so you know what you’re getting yourself into, as there are many elements to consider that can affect the pricing of a transmission service.
How Long Is Transmission Fluid Good For?
Transmission fluid typically has an unlimited shelf life, but once it’s been introduced into a vehicle and circulated, its performance and lifespan will depend mainly on how well-maintained it is. Under normal circumstances and regular maintenance, a transmission should have its fluid replaced every 40,000-60,000 miles, which is normally within the time span of two to four years, but it does differ depending on several factors such as the make and model of the vehicle, the type of transmission fluid used, and the driving conditions. That said, understanding your car’s needs may require taking it in for special servicing and assessments from time to time. Fortunately, when it comes to being proactive with your transmission fluids’ lifespan, you won’t need to worry too much as they won’t need to be checked as often as engine oil. You just have to remember this golden rule: change your transmission fluid as the manufacturer recommends. Even if the vehicle is not being driven regularly, the transmission fluid is still susceptible to breaking down over time. If your vehicle has been sitting idle for an extended period, it may be a good idea to check the transmission fluid before you take it out for a ride.
Some car manufacturers use the term “lifetime” transmission fluid for their vehicles, which can be confusing because it suggests that the transmission fluid doesn’t ever need to be changed. However, “lifetime” transmission fluid doesn’t guarantee that it will last for the car’s entire lifetime. In reality, the term refers to the recommended service interval the manufacturer believes the transmission fluid will last under normal driving conditions or, in some other cases, it will mirror the car’s warranty period, which is usually around 100,000 miles or approximately five years. Over time, transmission fluid will eventually break down and lose its ability to lubricate and keep the transmission system running smoothly. Therefore, it is recommended to have the transmission fluid inspected and changed periodically, even if it’s listed as a “lifetime” fluid by manufacturers.
Can You Mix Old Transmission Fluid With New?
You can mix old and new transmission fluids, given that they are of the same type as different brands of transmission fluids can come with different properties, but it would not be encouraged if it can be avoided. Mixing old and new fluid can cause deposits to form in the transmission system, which can lead to poor shifting performance or even transmission failure. When new transmission fluid is added to a system that contains old or contaminated fluid, it can end up diluting the properties of the new fluid and reduce its ability to function correctly. When there is a mix of different transmission fluid brands, some significant problems could arise as using the wrong transmission fluid can cause damage to gaskets and seals, eventually leading to leaks in the system.
In other circumstances, a partial drain-and-fill approach may be used to replace some of the old fluid with new fluid. Nonetheless, it’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations to ensure the ideal performance and longevity of the transmission. Your vehicle’s owner’s manual can give you insights and an understanding of the best approach to managing the car’s transmission fluid.
Benefits Of Regularly Maintaining Your Transmission Fluid
While the need to replace transmission fluid may not come all that often, it can still be a hassle to deal with, but you will reap the benefits in taking the time to care for your car’s transmission system regularly. For one, a fresh transmission fluid will help to keep the system running smoothly, leading to better acceleration, smoother shifting, and improved overall performance. Changing the fluid at the appointed time and schedule can also aid with extending the lifespan of your transmission by reducing wear and tear and preventing damage from heat and friction. Neglect in changing the transmission fluid can drastically increase the risk of breakdowns and other problems, such as slipping, rough shifting, and the entire system failing. Proper maintenance can prevent these issues and keep you safe whenever you’re at the wheel. Another added benefit is that a transmission taken care of meticulously can improve fuel efficiency by reducing the amount of energy required to shift gears and function. Finally, a transmission repair can be costly. Checking up on it frequently can prevent the need for major repairs or even a complete transmission replacement.
Get A Transmission Fluid Replacement At Jackson Powertrain
Leave it to our mechanics here at Jackson Powertrain to resolve all your issues regarding your transmission system. With over 40 years of experience and expertise, we are your trusted and reliable stop for getting any automotive job done right, utilizing the latest technology to diagnose problems in the transmission system and then providing our effective solutions. Drop by our workshop today.