When Should You Get A Transmission Oil Change?

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Categories: Maintenance

Transmission oil, also known as transmission fluid, plays a vital role in the operation and longevity of a vehicle’s transmission system. Here’s what you should know about transmission oil and when it should be changed:

Function: Transmission oil serves several important functions, including lubricating the various components within the transmission, cooling the transmission, and facilitating smooth gear shifting. It also helps to protect against wear, reduce friction, and maintain proper pressure within the transmission system.

Types of Transmission Oil: There are different types of transmission oil based on the specific transmission system in your vehicle. The most common types include Dexron/Mercon ATF (Automatic Transmission Fluid) for automatic transmissions and gear oil for manual transmissions. It’s crucial to use the recommended type and grade of transmission oil specified in your vehicle’s owner’s manual.

Checking Transmission Oil: Most modern vehicles have a sealed transmission system, meaning there is no dipstick for checking the transmission oil level. In such cases, it is recommended to have a professional mechanic perform a transmission fluid check and change.

Maintenance Schedule: The frequency of transmission oil changes varies depending on the make, model, and driving conditions of your vehicle. Generally, it is advised to follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule. This information can usually be found in the owner’s manual. In the past, the typical interval for changing transmission oil was around every 30,000 to 60,000 miles (48,000 to 97,000 kilometers). However, advancements in transmission technology have extended this interval in some newer vehicles.

Signs of Transmission Oil Issues: While following the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule is crucial, it’s also essential to be aware of signs that may indicate transmission oil problems. These signs include slipping or jerking during gear shifts, delayed engagement when shifting gears, transmission overheating, strange noises, and a burnt smell. If you notice any of these issues, it’s recommended to have your transmission system inspected by a professional.

Severe Driving Conditions: If you frequently drive under severe conditions, such as towing heavy loads, driving in extreme temperatures, or engaging in stop-and-go traffic, it may be necessary to change the transmission oil more frequently. Severe driving conditions can put additional stress on the transmission system, requiring more frequent fluid changes.

Remember, proper maintenance of your vehicle’s transmission system, including regular oil changes, can help ensure smooth and reliable operation, extend the life of your transmission, and prevent costly repairs.