Transmission fluid is a hydraulic fluid that does 3 things:
- it drives the components in the transmission
- it lubricates components in the transmission
- it collects particles of metal or dirt, which get caught up in the transmission filter. These types of particles would be metal filings, or clutch material.
When transmission fluid gets old, it breaks down and loses it’s ability to perform properly. That’s why it’s important to get a transmission fluid change.
If you don’t get a transmission fluid change, damage to the transmission could occur, leaving you stranded. This is especially important on long trips up the coquihalla highway (ie. your vehicle is loaded with your family and filled to the brim with vacation supplies).
“How Often Should I Get a Transmission Fluid Change”
For years the recommended transmission fluid and filter changes have been 2 years, or 50,000km, which still stands for many transmissions today. However, many new cars have extended life, or synthetic fluid, and can go for longer periods of time between service.
There are even a few transmissions that have no recommended service at all. These are known as sealed transmissions, or “maintenance-free” transmissions, and are becoming more common as newer cars are released.
On sealed transmissions, failures require transmission replacement, not repair, so there’s a disadvantage to having such a convenient transmission. They don’t even have replaceable filters or oil pans, so the only option left when they fail is replacement.
It’s important to check your car’s service manual to confirm how often you should change your transmission fluid, as that’s the only way to know for sure. Whatever the manufacturer recommends is what you want to go with.
Low transmission fluid can sometimes cause a clutch pack to slip (or “flare”). Adding in more fluid can help to fix that problem.
“Can A Transmission Service Fix My Transmission?”
It’s very unlikely. Transmission service is preventative maintenance, and is not the cure for existing problems in your transmission.
In 35+ years of being a mechanic, I have never seen a fluid change fix a transmission problem.
What To Do If You Purchase A Used Car
If you’ve recently purchased a used vehicle and don’t know its history, I would highly recommend servicing it to avoid costly transmission repairs that result from dirty and aged transmission fluid.