Transmissions are an often overlooked maintenance item, but an incredibly important one.
Transmission fluid acts as a hydraulic fluid, lubricant, and coolant for your vehicles’ transmission, but that doesn’t mean it lasts forever. Transmission fluid has a shelf life too just like any other fluid in your car and breaks down over time from the heat, use, and contaminants. If left alone, it can start to cause erratic behaviour with your transmission such as shifting issues, slipping, and overheating. And if left too long, complete transmission failure will occur, which inevitably means an unpleasant and expensive bill.
When to Change Transmission Fluid
Transmission fluid problems are silent villains. They creep up on the system and can generate very serious dilemmas if handled too late. This is when a car owner needs to be more proactive. A very simple test is to inspect the colour of the fluid. Good transmission fluid has a red colour; brown indicates replace soon, and black means complete failure is imminent. Concerns with shifting gears will obviously let you know there is difficulty in the transmission fluid.
If you ask around, you’ll often get different opinions on when to change the transmission fluid. Some car manufacturers recommend getting a fluid change every 150,000 or even 180,000 km, but that is far too long when you think about it. The average driver logs about 15,000 to 20,000 kilometres per year, so if you were to get a fluid change every 150,000 kilometres, who knows what condition the fluid will be like then!
That’s why we usually recommend getting a transmission fluid change every 48,000 to 96,000 kilometres or once every 3 to 4 years. This is the optimal schedule for the average driver and will allow your transmission to run on healthy fluid constantly, which ultimately means a longer lasting and more efficient transmission as well as your wallet being saved from a $4000 (or more) invoice.
If you do unfortunately suffer from a transmission failure, we can provide you with expert advice and service to either repair your transmission or, in some cases, if you are better off looking for a new vehicle.