Do I need to change my transmission fluid?
A person need not be a master mechanic to understand the importance of a vehicle’s transmission. However, the average vehicle owner might not know that a transmission is filled with fluid to provide lubrication and to dissipate heat. Learning this, you might also be wondering, ‘Do I need to change my transmission fluid?’ Well, the answer is a resounding, maybe. There are many factors that can make such a determination such as the number of miles on the vehicle, the environment in which the vehicle operates, and, most importantly, the manufacturer’s recommendations. Let’s take a look at a few things that might be helpful in taking care of your vehicle.
In a modern car, truck or SUV, it is entirely likely that the transmission fluid will never need to be changed – assuming its being properly maintained. However, an older vehicle with a couple of hundred thousand miles on the odometer will likely have vastly different maintenance needs.
What should transmission fluid look like?
Fresh transmission fluid will look bright pink or red. You can check the condition of the fluid as well as its level using a dipstick, located in the engine bay. If the fluid level is low, that indicates a leak, and you should schedule an appointment with a qualified repair facility.
Transmission fluid that presents as light brown with a little bit of pink in it, means the transmission fluid should be flushed and replaced. Dark brown transmission fluid means the fluid is no longer working as it should and may have metal contaminants in it. A transmission in this condition definitely needs to be looked at by a professional.
Signs Transmission Fluid May Need to be Changed
Automatic Transmission — A healthy transmission will sound like a band playing a tune in time. The sound of the engine speed building and falling should be very predictable in an automatic transmission. An engine that winds up to create a high-pitch sound before falling suddenly could be a sign that there is a problem with the fluid.
Manual Transmission — The number one sign that there is a problem with a manual transmission is that it is difficult to move the shifter to the next gear needed. Old transmission fluid can start to turn into a sludge that creates this issue.
Make an appointment with a Third Cost Auto Group product expert if you need to move on from a vehicle that is costing you more money than it’s worth.