Transmission Maintenance TipsThe vehicle’s transmission, regardless of manual or automatic, needs proper maintenance in order to work as best it can and for a long time. In this article you will find some advice on how to take care of and prolong the lifespan of your vehicle’s transmission, or at least try and keep it out of the repair shop, hence saving on some costly repairs.
Let us begin with the intervals of time between servicing. If you own a manual transmission car you should take it in for transmission service every 30,000-60,000 miles. If your vehicle is an automatic then the intervals would be bigger, 60,000-100,000 miles. Taking your vehicle more often to the auto shop will not be harmful to it, if anything it could be helpful, and in contrast taking in your vehicle for regular service can actually save you money in the long run.
Moving forward, what could be harmful to your vehicle’s transmission: driving under high-stress conditions may be strenuous on the transmission and the fluid, so if you have to drive under said conditions check your vehicle’s transmission fluid more often. Same could be said if you are overloading the car with items or have a trailer attached to it.
When it comes to transmission life and performance, the best way to make sure everything is just fine is to keep the transmission fluid in the appropriate level marked on the dipstick. Checking the level of said fluid is unfortunately not as easy as checking the oil level, but it is as important. If you decide to check it yourself consult the following list:
- check the level when you have started the car, because the reading might not be valid if the car is cold, the transmission needs to reach a certain temperature, which should be specified in your owner’s manual
- while you check your car needs to be either in Neutral or Park mode, again you need to consult your owner’s manual, because it depends on the make and model
- typically there is a dipstick you can use to check the levels in question, after the transmission has reached the temperature it calls for, take out the dipstick and wipe it with a towel, place it back inside and once again take it out, this will show you how much transmission fluid there actually is, keep your transmission fluid within the marking shown on the dipstick, because lower or higher level may result in problems for the transmission
Bear in mind that as time passes the fluid will need to be flushed and changed altogether, because it deteriorates.
Having problems when shifting gears? You can check the transmission fluid status, since it could be because of it. Apart from checking the levels, you can also check the integrity of the fluid. If the fluid has a burned smell this may be a symptom of overheating, or if it smells like any other fluid, be it gas, coolant, motor oil, you may have a leak. Also, note that transmission fluid does not burn off like oil, so if the levels are not as they should be you could have a leak. Furthermore, check the color of the fluid by wiping it on a piece of paper or cloth along with a fresh fluid sample. If the color is too different this could mean that the fluid in the transmission is contaminated or it has traces of degradation, in which case you will have to take your vehicle to an auto shop to have the transmission serviced.
Follow the simple steps above and enjoy your vehicle, without having to pay excessive bills for repairs.