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Changing Transmission Fluid

by | Dec 20, 2022 | Best Western Transmission

Most vehicle owners know that changing their transmission fluid is an important maintenance consideration, especially if their driving habits dictate more frequent service.  However, many drivers do not service their transmissions on a timely basis, or may not service it at all until they begin to develop problems.  In this month’s blog, we look at why the timing of transmission maintenance is vital to extending the longevity of your vehicle’s transmission.

The Importance of Transmission Fluid

Transmission fluid is essential to your manual or automatic transmission to provide it with lubrication and temperature control. Transmission fluid requires changing for several reasons:

  • The efficacy of the fluid deteriorates over time and the fluid gets dirty with various contaminants.
  • Your ability to shift is directly impacted by low, dirty, or no transmission fluid.
  • If the fluid is dirty, it is not able to provide adequate cooling to your transmission parts.
  • You may have leaks that are diminishing your fluid supply, and this will affect your transmission.

The Timing of Transmission Fluid Replacement

Effective maintenance includes changing your vehicle’s transmission fluid between 30,000-60,000 miles.  That interval has been standard but newer vehicles are sometimes recommended between 50,000-100,00 miles.  If you neglect a reasonable timeframe for fluid replacement, you can cause damage to your transmission by replacing it too late.

Why does replacing transmission fluid late cause a problem?  Let’s consider a brief scenario. 

A frequent long-distance driver has neglected his vehicle’s transmission servicing and starts to notice some slipping of the gears.  After inspection of the transmission fluid, he realizes it is dirty and so he changes the fluid.  Upon changing the fluid, he notices that his gears are continuing to slip on one of his long-distance trips.  He’s not sure why this is happening…

If a transmission is neglected and the fluid is replaced late in the game, this may cause further complications.  This is because over time, a worn clutch produces metal shavings that interfere with your transmission.  In this example, the problem continued because the shavings were helping the transmission to shift gears by providing gripping ability to the gears.  When the fluid was replaced and the shavings removed, it caused the opposite effect on the transmission.

Changing your transmission fluid does not cause problems for your transmission, but there may sometimes be cases where the timing of the replacement can further affect the functioning of your transmission.  In situations where the transmission service is neglected, it is always advisable to discuss your options with a service professional to establish an appropriate plan of action.

If you have neglected your transmission service, or have concerns about fluid replacement, contact the service professionals at Best Western Transmissions to schedule an appointment.   We will inspect your transmission and make recommendations for any repair or replacement.