You really like your body, right? That vessel you move around in every day? That body of yours is incredibly useful for getting you around and helping you in doing all of the things you like to do. It’s made up of anywhere from 50-70% water. That’s why health professionals will advise you to stay hydrated to remain healthy. The other vessel you use frequently would be your vehicle. And though your car doesn’t need the water you do, it still needs proper fluids to keep it running smoothly and happily for a long time. Ah! Of course! Oil! Yes, your car’s motor oil definitely matters, but it has a very important sidekick (Think of it as Robin to your oil’s Batman)-your transmission fluid. And this other life’s “blood” for your vehicle matters just as much for your favorite car or truck. How often should you check your transmission fluid? How often should you change it? And then the million dollar question-should you believe the schedule set forth for such checks listed in your auto’s manual, including when to service your transmission at all?
Don’t Forget About Me…..
While most folks seem to understand the basic concept of checking oil regularly and making sure clean oil is present in their vehicles at all times, the same cannot be said for transmission fluid. Check your transmission fluid JUST like you would your vehicle’s oil. Did you know that most manufacturers suggest that your transmission fluid can be faulty at 100,000 miles? If you run your vehicle “hard” or do a lot of hauling/towing, these mileage numbers could dip drastically. You can do this yourself, by making sure to watch for darkness and bits of “stuff” floating around in the fluid. That “stuff” includes little bits of metal that degrade the mechanical parts of your vehicle over time. As that fluid runs back through the machinery, it damages the moving parts of your transmission. No good, people.
Read your owners’ manual and look at your recommended schedule for maintenance and also instructions for checking your transmission fluid. Most of us are not equipped to actually change or flush the fluid ourselves, but at least this process gives you a place at which to start. You can KNOW going into your servicing station that your transmission fluid needs help. Either way, you simply must remember to service your transmission as you would other parts of your vehicle. It's crucial to your car's health.
You’re following the guidelines in your manual. You’re all geared towards being a responsible and studious vehicle owner. But is that enough? Probably not. Think about it. Just like milk and eggs’ expiration dates are said to be falsely trimmed back substantially by the food industry in order to promote the public to buy more and sooner, the same too can be said for vehicles. It’s not in your vehicle’s manufacturer’s interest to see you cruising around in your 2013 vehicle in 2030. And it’s not in other vehicle manufacturers’ interest either, as you could be a new car sale sooner for them too, should you switch makers when the time comes to replace your beloved car or truck.
For example, let’s revisit that 100k mile marker suggested earlier by most manufacturers for replacing your transmission fluid. Remember that driving your vehicle hard and towing can drastically lower that mile marker. Try 30k miles on for size! 30k-60k is the new number that many manufacturers- faced with severe criticism from actual mechanics- are beginning to suggest. That’s below warranty time for most of today’s new autos! (Though of course not covered under said warranty). Additionally, if you own a vehicle with a CVT (continuously variable transmission ), you need to be extra cautious about servicing anywhere from 40k-50k miles.
If you’re a vehicle guru, and feel you can replace your transmission fluid yourself, there are tons of videos and advice blogs to help. However, keep in mind that a lot of newer vehicles don’t even have a dipstick enabling your average Joe to even check it to begin with! Ok, well that stinks!
You can certainly have a trusted auto professional do the maintenance here for you. For most people, that’s the best route. Keep in mind here, particularly if you don’t have access to that dipstick so that you can check the fluid yourself, make sure the establishment is trusted! And just like Batman (your engine), Robin (your transmission) needs the best fluids to keep it happy. So just as with motor oil, make sure your servicing station is using quality transmission fluid, both for your traditional transmission or CVT.
Let’s face it, the most costly repairs on any vehicle pop up when a major engine or transmission failure occurs. While you may sigh upon hearing that you have yet another routine fluid to check on your vehicle, and that you most likely need to take it to a servicing station for the maintenance, just try to remember what hundreds of dollars looks like versus thousands. The difference is substantial-sort of like 100,000 miles versus 30,000.