Some drivers may not realize the importance of transmission fluid and may wonder if a transmission fluid change is really necessary. First of all, the transmission fluid in your vehicle acts as a lubricant for all of the moving parts inside the transmission, cooling as it goes. Secondly, in automobiles with automatic transmissions, this fluid also transmits power from the engine to the transmission.
There is a little difference in the transmission service that is required for manual transmissions versus automatic transmissions, as explained below:
- Manuals: Your auto mechanic (and your owner’s manual) typically recommend a transmission fluid change around every 60,000 miles. As the miles add up, so does the contamination in the fluid. This causes the synchronizers, bearings, and gears in the transmission to wear out. The resulting metal particles will continue to float around in the lubricant causing the fluid to lose its effectiveness to lubricate and cool, thus shortening the life of your transmission.
- Automatic: A transmission fluid change for automatics can vary, possibly never, depending on the age, make, and model of your vehicle. However, more heat is generated in automatic transmissions, causing the transmission fluid to deteriorate and break down, becoming contaminated with worn bits of the transmission.
If you have never changed the transmission fluid in your vehicle and have more than 100,000 miles on the odometer, should you change it now? There are mixed opinions on this; some mechanics suggest to not bother if you aren't having shifting problems. Some mechanics recommend a transmission fluid change if you plan to keep your vehicle for several more years. Ask your mechanic for professional advice.
The typical transmission service interval is between every 60,000 to 100,000 miles, but it is important to check the fluid level between service intervals. Letting your car run low on transmission fluid can cause the transmission to shift improperly—or not at all. It also can harm the internal parts of your transmission, which are not being properly lubricated. Unfortunately, you may not hear any noises or have other clues that your transmission is low on fluid until it's too late.
Are you wondering if a transmission fluid change is really necessary? Contact our ASE Certified technicians at Dependable Car Care for more information about transmission service and to schedule an appointment. Our auto shop proudly serves residents in the community of Ventura, CA, and surrounding area.