Fluids are essential to help your vehicle run smoothly, and one of the most important ones is the transmission fluid. While some people disagree, professionals recommend that you change it as per your owner’s manual recommendations. However, many people aren’t sure how often they should do it, especially when some vehicles and manufacturers have widely varying ideas.
When to Check Levels
Again, if you ask a variety of professionals in the industry, you’re likely to get a variety of answers. However, there are some things to consider, as well.
You should be aware that transmission fluid, as well as other vital fluids, deteriorate over time. If you use the transmission hard, such as during stop-n-go traffic, trailer towing, or hauling heavier loads, deterioration is likely to occur sooner. For one, this type of driving raises the temperature of the transmission. The heat it generates puts more strain on the fluid and the transmission itself.
While engine oil is primarily a lubricant, the transmission fluid acts as more than just oil. It also helps you change gears, lubricates any moving parts, and cools the transmission down as you use it.
Therefore, if you drive routinely under more high-stress conditions, it’s best to check your transmission fluid levels more frequently. If you can’t do so yourself, you should have a mechanic check the fluid’s condition. Most of the time, the fluid is red, but you can find other colors. Usually, it turns darker as it starts to deteriorate. You may also notice a strong burnt odor, which could indicate that it should be changed or that the transmission itself is developing issues.
Another indication that you should change your transmission fluid is if you notice debris or particles in the fluid.
When you go to your mechanic for an oil change or other services, they are likely to recommend that you get a transmission flush or fluid change. While it is in your best interest to listen to them, you shouldn’t blindly accept. If they don’t do so already, ask to see the transmission fluid’s color and any debris or particles left behind. You should also check your owner’s manual and determine when you last had a flush.
You aren’t obligated to get the fluid changed and may want to hold off for a few more months or weeks. Along with such, you can take this time to comparison shop to find the best deal.