Editor’s Note: This blog was updated in August of 2021 to reflect current technical and industry knowledge.
No matter the type of vehicle you have, your transmission is important. Your car’s transmission is what changes the gear of an engine and transports the engine's power to the wheels to move the vehicle ahead. To put it simply, the transmission makes your car a car and allows you to push forward.
What Is Transmission Fluid?
When we look at the functions of the transmission system, the transmission fluid is a key component of the system’s operation and overall performance. It’s responsible for lubricating mechanical parts, maintaining fluid pressure, cooling, preventing oxidation, conditioning the gasket, and preventing rust.
Our vehicles would fail to run without a quality transmission system and the correct transmission fluid.
While not exactly a monthly service, it’s important to ensure that you have your transmission fluids checked on a routine basis. This ensures you’re not operating your transmission while your system is low on fluid. Our team at your local Christian Brothers Automotive shop can help you determine the best routine schedule for your vehicle and driving habits.
Which Type of Transmission Fluid Should I Use?
Transmission fluid does a lot for your car’s operation, so it’s important to always double-check your owner’s manual to get the most accurate details about the type of transmission fluid your car needs.
Similar to engine oil, transmission fluid comes in both regularandsynthetic blends. Most new cars today utilize synthetic fluids for their transmission. This is why it’s important to use the fluid recommended by your vehicle manufacturer. This is the best way to ensure your transmission gets exactly what it needs. Every fluid in your car is meant to provide the best lubrication, cooling, and protection for your car’s specific make and model.
When Should I Change Transmission Fluid?
The easiest way to know when you should change your car’s transmission is by referring to your car’s manual. Generally speaking, the majority of manufacturers recommend having your transmission fluid changed every 30,000 to 60,000 miles. If you tow often or are particularly harsh on your transmission, you may need to replace your fluid more often.
A transmission flush is an auto service that removes all the automatic transmission fluid, gunk, and other debris from your vehicle’s transmission. After it’s completely flushed out of your system, the sludge is replaced with brand new, fresh transmission fluid. A transmission fluid change replaces around 50% of your car’s fluid while a transmission flush replaces 100% of your car’s transmission fluid. The flush only takes a few hours to complete and ensures your car’s transmission is working in peak condition. It’s recommended to have a full transmission flush completed no more than every three to five years.
How Do I Know My Transmission Fluid is Low?
Whether you know where the leak is coming from your not, any signs that your car may be low on transmission fluid should be taken seriously and address sooner than later. This ensures your car operates correctly on the road, preventing further damage to your transmission system and
Whether you've experienced a problem with your transmission or noticed dropping levels during a routine check, low levels of transmission fluid are usually caused by leaks in the transmission system itself. From the seals to the driveshaft, there are a few places leaks commonly occur.
Some signs you may have a transmission leak include:
Delay In Acceleration
When working properly, the gears shift in your car with extreme ease. You can barely notice it. If you’ve noticed a delay or slipping in the acceleration of your car when you press on the gas pedal, it’s important to have your transmission system and levels inspected right away. You may also hear grinding and humming noises if the fluids are too low.
Transmission is Very Hot
Our transmissions do a lot of work. While some heat is normal, extreme heat is the sign you may leak. Without the proper amount of fluid, your system can quickly overheat. Keep your eye on your car’s temperature gauge, as well as the temperature of your car’s floorboard.
Check for Leaks
As with any leak in your car, a transmission leak should be taken seriously. When your transmission fluid leaks, dark spots will be seen on the driveway where you normally park. If you notice any type of leak, check your fluid levels and give our team a call.
Check Your Dipstick
If you notice a change in drivability, a quick check of your transmission fluid via your dipstick can give you the peace of mind you may need.
Why is My Transmission Fluid Low?
Usually, there is only one reason why your car’s transmission fluid is low: you have a leak somewhere in your system. The real question is, from where is the fluid leaking?
Some of the most common places transmission fluid leaks from include:
Where Can I Get Transmission Fluid Services?
At Christian Brothers Automotive, we take transmission maintenance very seriously. Since the transmission system is one of the most expensive parts of your vehicle to replace next to your engine, it’s extremely important to schedule regular transmission fluid changes. If you ignore your transmission fluid changes, transmission system damage will quickly follow.