This post aims to show you the ropes when it comes to maintaining your automatic transmission.
Clunk! You know that sound. It is what happens when your transmission slips. Your RPM gauge red lines but your car doesn’t move. This can be caused by a variety of different things going on in your transmission. Transmission repair and replacement is very expensive. So be sure to follow these guidelines to keep some money in your pocket.
Maintaining your vehicle is imperative to prolonging the life of your vehicle. The fluids and filters are usually where we start. Every 3,000-5,000 miles we change our oil filter, and every 15,000 miles we change our fuel filter. Our transmission filter and fluid are no different.
Your automatic transmission utilizes gears to make efficient use of the engine’s torque and to keep the engine running at suitable speeds. The fluid in your transmission ensures optimum operating temperature and keeps the gears lubricated. The filter, keeps out dirt and debris. Something to note is that transmission maintenance varies for different vehicles. Many newer vehicles no longer have a transmission filter, or the transmission requires minimal maintenance like a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission). In this post, we will discuss care for a transmission which does have a filter and requires regular maintenance, but be sure to consult your owner’s manual for your specific vehicle requirements.
For vehicles with a transmission filter and fluid requiring flushing, it is important to make sure that you keep the fluid and filter well maintained so that you do not encounter transmission issues in the future.
Some symptoms of transmission issues include:
- Leaking, red fluid
- Vehicle will not go into gear
- Hesitation when shifting gears
- Vehicle slips out of gear while driving*
(*Note: If this does happen to you, don’t try to continue driving. Find a safe place to pull over as soon as possible and have your vehicle towed to your local service station.)
Make sure you bring your vehicle to a service shop that can perform a proper transmission flush. This includes hoisting the vehicle up, removing the pan, replacing the filter and draining all the fluid. By doing this, a skilled mechanic is able to see if there is any metal debris accumulating in the bottom of the pan. This could indicate a larger problem. Although a small amount of debris is normal, you need to clean it out so that it does not clog up the transmission system, leading to shifting issues or gear slippage.
By changing your transmissions fluid and filter every 50,000 km or so, you can prolong the life of your vehicle. But of course, as we always say, consult your owner’s manual for proper maintenance schedules.
If you are interested in the finer details of how the transmission operates in your vehicle, head over to HowStuffWorks.
Don’t forget that if you are a DIYer you will need some tools – check out the assortment here that you may need.
If you would like to receive regular updates from us, you can sign up to receive our emails here: