An outside look at a car part outside of the vehicle.It’s the new year and many of us have made resolutions. For most, these resolutions revolve around living a healthier lifestyle. You may want to cut out sugars and carbs. You want to exercise more and lose weight. These are great resolutions to have, especially if you stick with them.

Another resolution you may want to make is to keep your vehicle’s transmission healthier. It’s really not hard to do and it could save you some serious headaches (and expenses) down the road. A failing transmission can be costly to repair or replace, and it could leave you stranded at an inconvenient time. With this in mind, let’s take a look at a few simple steps you can take to have a better, healthier transmission as long as you own your car or truck.

Step 1: Regular Health Checks

Any time you bring your vehicle in for automotive services like an oil change, make sure they are checking your transmission. You can also monitor your transmission fluid level and quality yourself fairly easily in most vehicles. The fluid is often a significant indicator of transmission health.

Step 2: Take Care of Your Engine

Problems with your engine will ultimately affect the transmission system, as well. Keep your engine in good shape with regular oil changes and tune-ups. This will help your entire vehicle run more efficiently.

Step 3: Watch Your Driving Habits

Many transmission problems occur because of how the driver uses the vehicle. Aggressive acceleration/deceleration, sloppy shifting in manual transmission trucks, towing loads that may be too heavy, driving in a lot of stop-and-go traffic, and driving up steep inclines are all common ways to put extra strain on your transmission system. Pay attention to your driving habits and don’t push your vehicle harder than you need to.

Step 4: Pay Attention

Speaking of paying attention, that is another thing you can do to keep your transmission in great shape. Learn to recognize signs of potential transmission issues like slipping gears, grinding gears, loss of acceleration power, strange noises, inability to shift into certain gears and more. If something feels off, get your vehicle inspected by a transmission specialist to determine the problem (if any) and repair it before it develops into something much worse.

Step 5: Take Care of Your Transmission

You should get your transmission serviced every 30,000-60,000 miles, depending on the age, type and mileage of the vehicle. Trucks that regularly carry heavy loads may require servicing more often than a family sedan that isn’t ever driven too hard. A standard transmission service entails cleaning the transmission pan and replacing the transmission fluid, filter and pan gasket. If any repairs are needed beyond standard servicing, take care of those as soon as possible to avoid bigger transmission issues in the future.

These are some of the basic steps you can take to keep your transmission healthy this year and for many more years to come.

For all your Central Valley transmission maintenance, repair and inspection needs, turn to Ralph’s Transmission in downtown Modesto. You can call us any time at 209.526.1909 or schedule your service appointment online.