Taking Care Of My Car

Servicing The Transmission In Your Car To Ensure Smooth Operation

The transmission in your vehicle is responsible for transferring the power from the engine to the drive axle. With normal use, it doesn't need much attention, but it is vital to keep an eye on it and follow the manufacturer's recommendations for care and maintenance.

Normal Use

Driving your car or truck daily will put wear and tear on your transmission, but most modern automatic transmissions only need service after fifty thousand miles or so. Using a high-quality transmission fluid can extend the life of the transmission and reduce the need for service even further. 

The manufacturer lists the service intervals for your automatic transmission in the owner's manual that comes with your car or truck for reference. However, if the transmission is functioning erratically, you may need to take it in for service early than recommended. 

Normal use will not put a lot of stress on the transmission, but as you drive, there is some wear inside, and the friction material from the clutches can start to build up on the transmission filter, making it hard for the unit to shift correctly. Generally, a transmission filter and oil change will fix the issue and get you back on the road. 

Towing Or Pulling Loads

Using your car or truck to tow a trailer or pull a load is okay if you stay within the recommended weight range that the manufacturer specifies. The transmission is strong enough to handle some additional load, and if you regularly overload it with a trailer that is too larger or over the weight limit for the vehicle, you will add a lot of stress to the transmission.

The added weight and strain can cause the transmission to run hotter than it should, and the transmission fluid can break down and lose viscosity quickly. As the transmission oil thins out, it becomes less effective, and the pressure inside the transmission falls, causing it to slip, miss shifts, or fail. 

A vehicle used for towing regularly may require additional service on many systems. However, the transmission is critical, and checking the oil level and condition more often can indicate impending problems that you might otherwise miss. If the transmission fluid or oil is dark in color, smells burnt, or deals gritty can signal to wear inside the transmission and warrants further inspection and service at the transmission shop in your area. 

Synthetic Oil Or Fluid

Changing the transmission fluid or oil to a synthetic can impact the function of the transmission. Synthetic lubricants offer more protection against heat and last longer under adverse conditions. If you are going to tow, pull, or put a lot of miles on your vehicle, talk to your transmission shop or mechanic about replacing the transmission fluid to protect your vehicle.