Do I need a Transmission Service?
YES! Though how often varies by manufacturer and vehicle, and it’s open to some debate.
The manufacturer’s maintenance schedule for many automatic transmissions doesn’t call for fresh fluid until 100,000 miles or, with some Ford transmissions, even 150,000 miles, some call for a service to be done every 30,000 miles, others at 15,000 miles and some don’t recommend a transmission service at all. The only thing for sure is that it depends on how the vehicle is being used. A lot of good honest technicians say that the 100,000 mile service interval is too long and it should be done at least every 50,000 miles. Manual transmissions are a different animal, so it’s best to consult the maintenance schedule in the owner’s manual.
Like other vital automotive fluids, transmission fluid deteriorates over time. Hard use – such as frequent stop-and-go city driving, hauling heavy loads, trailer towing – will accelerate the deterioration. That kind of driving raises the operating temperature of the transmission, and heat puts more strain on the transmission and the fluid, which, along with lubricating the moving parts, facilitates gear shifts and cools the transmission.
If you do a lot of “hard use” driving, you should check the transmission level more often and have a repair shop check the condition of the fluid. Transmission fluid often is typically red but can come in other colors, and as it deteriorates it tends to turn darker. It may also acquire a burned odor that would indicate it needs to be changed or that the transmission is developing mechanical problems. Another indication it needs changing is dirt or other debris in the fluid though when that happens there may be bigger problems.
If you have never changed the transmission fluid in your vehicle and have more than 100,000 miles on the odometer, should you change it now? All Tune & Lube Tempe has seen mixed opinions on this, with some mechanics suggesting you should just leave well alone if you aren’t having shifting problems. Adding fuel to this theory are stories about older transmissions failing shortly after they finally got fresh fluid. We have a hard time accepting that fresh fluid causes transmission failure, so our inclination would be to have it done if you’re planning on keeping the vehicle a few years or longer. However, fresh fluid is not a cure for gears slipping, rough shifting or other mechanical problems, so don’t expect a fluid change to be a magic elixir.
From your local mechanics, All Tune and Lube Total Car Care Tempe. Complete Auto Repair and Maintenance