Understanding And Maintaining Your Transmission Fluid

Automotive Blog

With all the different tasks needed to maintain your car, it is easy to see how owning a vehicle can be overwhelming. From changing the oil and detailing the interior and exterior, these tasks keep your vehicle running and looking well. Unfortunately, you may not be putting enough time and energy into the car's transmission. While surprising to hear, 9 out of 10 transmission failures occur due to an issue with the transmission fluid. Thankfully, proper understanding on why and how to change your transmission fluid will reduce the risk of a complete failure.

Signs of a Problem

Your transmission fluid provides lubrication to your transmission, allowing your gears and other moving parts to operate in an effective manner. In addition, the fluid acts as a coolant, protecting your transmission and engine from extreme conditions.

If your fluid is low, dirty, or discolored, you may experience the following while operating your car:

  • Rough Shifting
  • Slipping
  • Clicking, Popping, and Grinding while Shifting

These issues may be present in both automatic and manual transmissions. On average, you will need to replace automatic transmission fluid every 25,000 to 30,000 miles. To determine if you have a transmission issue, remove the fluid dipstick. If the fluid appears discolored and dark, flush out the old and replace with new fluid.

Replacing Transmission Fluid

Visit your local auto repair technician to replace your transmission fluid. However, if you feel comfortable, you can complete the task at home.

Park your vehicle in a flat area, such as inside an opened garage or on your driveway. Line the surface under your car with flattened cardboard boxes or old newspapers. This will protect the garage floor or driveway from spilled transmission fluid that may stain the concrete.

Also, place a drip pan directly under the transmission pan. Consult your vehicle's manual to determine the location of your transmission fluid reservoir under the car.

Slide under your car and use a wrench to undo the bolts securing the transmission reservoir cover. Remove the cover slowly, preventing the transmission fluid from spilling out fast. Make sure the drip pan is lined up correctly. Allow all of the fluid to flow out of the reservoir before removing the filter and O-ring.

Place in a new filter and O-ring, using auto grease to secure both back into place. Reconnect the reservoir cover using the same bolts.

Move to the top of your car and lift the hood to reveal the engine. Unscrew the cap on the transmission fluid reservoir and begin adding new fluid.

After adding the new fluid, start your vehicle's engine and allow it to idle for a few minutes. After the time, check your dipstick to ensure it is full and the fluid appears clean.

Your transmission is an imperative part of your car's operation, so proper maintenance is key. With these tips, you will not only understand the importance, but also learn how to maintain your transmission by flushing out the fluid. 

For assistance, talk to a professional like McCarty's Transmision Service Inc.


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