How often should I change transmission fluid?

Your vehicle has a regularly scheduled maintenance interval for your fluids, and you should ensure these fluid exchanges occur within the timeframes specified. By adhering to a routine maintenance schedule, you will most likely extend the life of your transmission and avoid extensive transmission repair work.

Your transmission is most likely the second most expensive component in your vehicle (sometimes even more expensive than an engine) and simple fluid maintenance can aid in its longevity. One of the least expensive and best possible services you can perform on your transmission is to replace the fluid every 30,000 miles.

One of the least expensive and best possible services you can perform on your transmission is to replace the fluid every 30,000 miles. #TDSAuto Click To Tweet

Many manufacturers state that your fluid is a “lifetime fluid”, or fluid can “last 100,000 miles” or more before changing. Realize that the manufacturers main objective is to get you through their warranty period. Most manufacturers offer a 3 year /36-month powertrain warranty. Aside from engine oil, most fluids can run that duration with little to no side effect. Mileage beyond that is when the problems likely begin.

We at Tierra Del Sol Automotive want to help you keep that automobile performing in tip-top condition so it may last you many more years. We believe it is cheaper to maintain your vehicle regularly than “run it until it breaks, then, trade it in”. Now is a great time to come to Tierra Del Sol Automotive and have your transmission fluid inspected for you.

Is it really necessary to change the ATF every 30,000 miles?

You may have heard that an auto repair shop will only recommend transmission services to make money, however, the benefits of more regular transfusions are in the results. 

We believe in the 30,000-mile change recommendation and here’s why: During a Transmission Service at Tierra Del Sol Automotive, we add a cleaner to your dirty transmission fluid at the start of each service. The cleaner will dissolve and suspend deposits that have formed in all parts of your transmission during the service.

Then, we perform a fluid transfusion which forces out the old fluid holding the contaminants and deposits in suspension, and replaces it with clean and fresh ATF that is fortified with seal conditioners, oxidation inhibitors and shift improvers.

BG Products - Quality Auto Repair PartsThis results in no deposit formation, a restored transmission performance, and a potentially longer transmission life. Additionally, because Tierra del Sol Automotive uses BG Products, and if you have your vehicle first serviced prior to reaching 100,000 miles, you’ll be backed by the Lifetime BG Protection Plan.

Why does transmission fluid need to be changed?

Daily driving places high demands on your Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF). ATF, unlike engine oil, is used not only as a lubricant but also as hydraulic fluid capable of propelling your vehicle forward and reward.

ATF is put under very high pressures, created by your transmission oil pump, in order to squeeze or press plates known as clutches, together creating friction thereby spinning different components. Likewise, those same packs of clutches have bands around them, that when squeezed by hydraulic pressure, prevents them from spinning or turning.

In order to apply this degree of force to rapidly spinning components, the oil pump converts low-pressure fluid to high-pressure fluid which flows through the valve body to engage or disengage these components. As a result of all these processes, the ATF transforms it’s liquid energy into mechanical energy. This results in the ATF getting hot, creating a need for a process to cool it back down. Hot ATF is routed to and runs through a cooler located near your car’s radiator and then returns to the transmission where the cycle begins yet again.

As a result of these continual processes, your transmission fluid will break down, or deteriorate over time.  As the fluid degrades, it thins and loses its viscosity. The detergents in your transmission fluid also degrade over time as well. Automotive technicians often use the color fluid in a vehicle compared to new fluids to assist them in determining the condition of a vehicle’s ATF. Deteriorating fluids are thinner, much darker, and can easily be recognized visually.

Old and New Transmission Fluid

Deteriorating transmission fluids are thinner and much darker when compared to fresh and clean ATF

When one, or all of these degradations occur, your automobile may begin to show symptoms indicating the fluid needs servicing or worse yet, result in major repair expenses.

What are the symptoms of failing transmission fluid?

Symptoms of a failing transmission might include

  • slipping
  • hard shifting

Slipping is a condition where vehicle forward progress slows down even though you’re pressing harder on the accelerator pedal. A quick look at the tachometer confirms the engine is “racing at higher RPM’s” and the car is not reacting accordingly.

Hard shifting is another concern. Does it feel like each shift “bangs” or “slam’s” into or out of gear?

Changing automatic transmission fluid is best left to an auto technician equipped with fluid exchanging equipment which uses the vehicle’s transmission pump to replace the fluid more thoroughly than the “do it yourself” drain and fill method. Give Tierra del Sol Automotive a call today and schedule your complimentary Transmission Fluid inspection.