If you drive a car with an automatic transmission, part of maintaining your vehicle is having the transmission fluid changed. Failing to change the fluid at the correct intervals can result in premature transmission failure, meaning it can no longer supply power to the wheels by shifting gears. Rebuilding or replacing a failed transmission can cost thousands of dollars. To avoid such a costly repair, you should know when it’s time to take your vehicle in for a transmission fluid change.
1. Check Your Manual
Your car’s owner’s manual outlines when you should take it in for regular maintenance, including transmission fluid changes. Some car manufacturers recommend changing the fluid every 30,000 miles, while others say that the fluid can last up to 100,000 miles. The manual will also specify what kind of transmission fluid your car needs. Filling your transmission with the wrong fluid can cause damage, which is why it’s best to have a professional handle it.
2. Check The Color
Under the hood, most vehicles have two dipsticks to check fluid levels: one for the engine oil, and one for the transmission fluid. Pull out the transmission fluid dipstick and wipe it with a towel to examine the fluid’s color. Fresh transmission fluid is usually red in color and does not have a strong odor. If the fluid is brown, black, or smells burnt, it means you are likely overdue for a fluid change. You should also have the fluid changed if you see metallic particles mixed with the fluid. This indicates that the fluid is beginning to degrade due to prolonged use.
3. Know Your Driving Conditions
Car manuals often tell you when to change the transmission fluid “under normal driving conditions.” Most drivers fall under this category. However, some types of driving put more strain on the transmission than usual. These include frequent stop-and-go city driving, heavy towing or hauling, and driving on dusty or dirty terrain. If these apply to you, then you may have to have your transmission fluid changed more often. A qualified mechanic can assess your needs and advise you when to change the fluid.
Taking care of your automatic transmission through regular fluid changes can help you avoid expensive repairs. If you think it’s time to change your fluid, contact us at Fast Eddies Automotive Repair and make an appointment today.