There has always been some debate about the pros and cons of routinely changing transmission fluid, based on the recommendations in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. One of the many suspicions that is rumored is that doing so will cause your car to have transmission problems dreaded before. To debunk those conspiracy theories, let’s get to the nitty-gritty and explore, together, why it makes absolutely sense to change it regularly; And how not doing so could make your car run slow, which could cost you precious pennies in the long run!
1) Heat is the enemy
The number one reason manufacturers recommend that you change your transmission fluid regularly is because it degrades as it continuously heats up while driving. There are extensive studies on the precise temperatures at which its effectiveness actually diminishes. Suffice it to say, most owner’s manuals properly recommend changing the fluid every 30,000 miles. There is an exception to this rule: Newer vehicles using Dexron III ATF fluid can often go up to 100,000 miles before needing to be replaced. As you drive and the transmission warms up, the viscosity of your fluid changes; Over time, this heat causes the transmissions to burn out and this is the leading cause of transmission repairs today – burned-out transmissions.
2) dirt and mud
As your transmission continues to heat up and keeps breaking down, your car’s transmission components begin to get stuck with dirt and mud. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that dirt and mud will clog your transmission gears, causing unnatural wear and tear on your vehicle’s transmission. If you want your transmission to continue to run smoothly, keeping it clean is vital.
3) Leaky seals and putrid odors
No, I am not talking about a horror movie here. A machine in good condition is one whose owner regularly checks the transmission fluid levels; yes, using the dipstick! Ideally, you should check the transmission fluid level when the engine is warm and idling. The transmission fluid should be bright red in color and should smell sweet, not putrid or rancid. It should not be brown or black or even dark red. It should look like the tip of the spindle after Sleeping Beauty pricks her finger. If the transmission fluid level is low or the color is wrong, it’s time to change the transmission fluid and check (or have the mechanic check) all the seals around the transmission for leaks.
If you want your transmission to last the life of the car, it is imperative that you change the transmission fluid regularly, following the guidelines in the owner’s manual and a few common sense rules. In today’s world of disposable everything, neglecting your transmission can be a rude awakening for your wallet. The potential costs associated with ignoring routine maintenance guidelines on your broadcast could add up to thousands of dollars that would be best spent on a nice warm vacation in a sunny location this summer.