Most people are pretty good about getting their oil changed and tires rotated. Those are fairly easy services to remember every 5,000-6,000 miles, depending on the vehicle. A majority of new cars have maintenance reminders to let you know when service is required. One maintenance service that can be a little trickier to remember is the transmission. It doesn’t have to be serviced nearly as often as the engine. However, taking care of your transmission system is just as important. The engine and the transmission are the two most important systems in your vehicle. If either is having problems, you won’t be getting very far down the road!
Monitor Your Transmission Health
There are some steps you can take on your own to monitor your transmission. You can check under the vehicle for fluid leaks. Transmission fluid is generally bright red in color and easy to identify compared to engine oil or radiator coolant. Any transmission fluid leak should be taken very seriously. You will want to get it inspected and repaired before it leads to much bigger transmission problems. You can also check your own transmission fluid levels and qualify. If the fluid is low, full of dirt/debris/metal shavings or is thick and burnt, it is cause for concern.
How Often Should My Transmission Be Serviced?
In general, a standard transmission service is recommended every 30,000 to 60,000 miles. This interval may vary based on the age, mileage, make and model, as well as how the vehicle is driven. Older cars and trucks with a lot of miles on them may need servicing more often then newer vehicles. Work trucks and those carrying heavy loads or trailers may also need a little extra care because they are putting more strain on the transmission day in and day out. Transmission service is necessary for all types of transmissions, including automatic, manual and CVT.
What is a Standard Transmission Service?
A standard transmission service will entail removing the transmission pan from the housing. The pan should be professionally cleaned with all old fluid removed and replaced. The transmission filter and pan gasket should also be replaced with new parts. Full transmission fluid line flushes are only recommended in extreme situations. If your vehicle is relatively healthy and your mechanic recommends a flush, you may want to seek a second opinion before spending that kind of money. In most cases, putting fresh automatic transmission fluid (ATF) in the pan will help naturally clear out any bad fluid left in the lines.
If you think you might have a transmission problem, it’s best to get your vehicle checked out by a transmission expert as soon as you can. You might have shifting problems, be slipping between gears, experiencing sluggish acceleration or hear strange noises like clunks and grinding. Any of these could be signs of serious transmission problems. It’s usually best to recognize and address transmission issues early. You may be able to resolve the problem with a simple fix or routine service rather than having to pay for major repairs or a full transmission rebuild.
For all your transmission maintenance needs in the Central Valley, call Ralph’s Transmission in Modesto at 209.526.1909 or schedule your service appointment online.