Transmission Repair – When Should I Change My Transmission Fluid?

Proper transmission care is essential to keep your car operating at its full potential. An important aspect of that care involves one key component: transmission fluid. Like with engine oil, your car needs sufficient transmission fluid to keep it running smoothly.  

Keep reading to learn what transmission fluid does, how to check it, and when to get it replaced

What does Transmission Fluid Do? 

Transmission fluid has two primary functions in your vehicle: lubricate and cool components and provide the right amount of friction in the transmission to operate correctly. This allows your transmission to experience smooth shifts between gears and regulate a consistent temperature. Without adequate fluid, your transmission can overheat or experience difficulties in switching gears. Over time, this will put stress on the gears in the vehicle and ultimately lead to transmission failure, which is a time-consuming and expensive issue to fix.   

How Often Should I Change My Transmission Fluid? 

Every vehicle has a different recommendation for the frequency of transmission fluid changes according to the model, make, and use. As a general rule of thumb, most vehicles need a fluid change every 30,000 to 40,000 miles or 5 years. If you drive primarily in a city with stop-and-go traffic or frequently tow heavy objects, you may need to service your vehicle more regularly. 

Consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual for specific instructions on when to change your transmission fluid. 

How do you Check Your Transmission Fluid? 

Even if you’re within the recommended time frame for changing your transmission fluid, it’s always a good idea to ensure your levels are adequate – especially if your car is not operating as it should. 

Indicators of Low Transmission Fluid 

Low transmission fluid can exhibit itself in a variety of symptoms: 

  • Knocking sounds in the engine 
  • Trouble shifting gears 
  • Slipping gears 
  • Overheating 
  • Leaking transmission fluid 

If any of these issues present themselves, your vehicle may require transmission maintenance or repair. Before you race down to your local auto shop in a panic, start by inspecting your transmission fluid. 

Transmission Fluid Inspection 

Most cars require a running engine to check the transmission fluid. If you’re unsure about your vehicle, consult your owner’s manual before you begin. Once your car is parked on a level surface and your engine is running, you can begin your fluid inspection. 

First, locate the transmission dipstick in your vehicle. Then, using a clean cloth, wipe the transmission fluid off the dipstick. Once it’s clean of any fluid, reinsert the dipstick fully and remove it once again. At this point, you should be able to see the red transmission fluid clearly on the dipstick, stopping somewhere between the labels “full,” “low,” or “fill.” 

Do you need transmission repair? 

In some cases, your car may need more than a simple transmission fluid change. If you notice the following issues during your fluid inspection, your vehicle may require transmission repair: 

  • Brown or black fluid 
  • A burnt smell 
  • Foam in the fluid 
  • Grit or metal in the fluid

If you notice any of these signs, take your vehicle to a professional that specializes in transmissions. It’s best to catch these issues early to ensure better durability and protection over your car in the long run – not to mention the time and money saved by avoiding major transmission problems. 

City Auto Repair: Gainesville’s Transmission Experts 

Whether you need a transmission fluid change or transmission repair, City Auto Repair is ready to help! Our technicians are experts in transmissions and are committed to getting your car in tip-top shape. Don’t put your vehicle at risk – let City Auto Repair service your car and get it back on the road!