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Transmission Fluid and When should we Change It?

What is Transmission Fluid

Transmission fluid is a type of lubricant that is used to reduce friction in the transmission system. This reduces the wear and tear on the gears, bearings, and other parts that make up the transmission. It lubricates the gears of a car to allow them to move smoothly. When transmission fluid becomes dirty, the transmission can't work as well and may even cause damage.

The fluid itself is a mixture of oil and water which are combined to form a viscous liquid. Some additives are also added to help with cooling, lubrication, and providing extra protection from corrosion.

Dirty transmission fluid will make it harder for your car's engine to turn the gears. This will affect your car's performance and fuel efficiency. It may also cause damage to your transmission or other parts of your vehicle.

The type of transmission fluid that you should use depends on what type of vehicle you have. Some vehicles have specific requirements for their fluids such as choosing synthetic or conventional oil depending on their engine type or age.

It is important to change your transmission fluid regularly according to your car's manufacturer recommendations because it can break down over time which can lead to leaks or other issues with your vehicle.

When Should you Change your Transmission Fluid?

Transmission fluid will weaken with time. You should change it frequently to prevent any damage to your transmission. Now to answer the question of, how often one should change their transmission fluid, it usually depends on how heavily the transmission has been used. If you live in city and mainly drive on heavy traffic roads, then you probably use break a lot and regularly stop and go. This increases the operating temperature of your transmission and puts a lot of pressure on the transmission fluid.

Other reasons such as carrying a hefty weight in your vehicle with high torque or pulling a trailer whit your vehicle will obviously increase this pressure on transmission fluid as well. Any heavy use will speed up the weakening of the transmission fluid. A change in transmission fluid is advised after every 90.000 km but this range can differ as per your vehicle's make and model, so always check your owner’s manual to check what range is suggested.

How to check if your transmission fluid needs a change

To check whether your transmission fluid is in a decent condition, you need to check a few things:

  • Check the colour of the transmission fluid. Transmission fluids are usually of a light red colour. When it starts to weaken, the colour will become much darker as the fluid is getting more burned. This would mean that you need to change the fluid as soon as possible.
  • Transmission fluid usually has a very sweet and petroleum-like smell to it, if it starts to smell bad or smells like it is been charred or burnet, you definitely need to change your transmission fluid.
  • If you drive an automatic and you notice some differences while driving, like transmission slips, irregular, and loud shifting, and absence of drive engagement, you should have a look at your transmission fluid.
  • The consistency of transmission fluid should be smooth, if you notice small particles or other debris, you need to replace the fluid soon.

Flushing out or draining fluid

When you have decided you transmission fluid is ready for a change, you have two options to choose from on how to do this.

·      Flushing out the old fluid is a process of getting rid of the old fluid and replacing it with new fluid. The process may take less than an hour depending on how much fluid is in the transmission. The process can be done by a person or with help from a machine. Flushing out old transmission fluid is a process that takes time and patience. It can be done by adding new transmission fluid to the system and letting it circulate for some time before draining it. But if your transmission fluid is dark in colour and burnet, it is advisable to drain it instead of flushing it as the burned fluid can clog the body of valve.

·      Drain old transmission fluid is also known as draining the pan and changing the filter. This process takes longer to complete and will require more time to drain all of the old transmission fluid out before adding new transmission fluid. This method does not require any tools and it can be done with a bucket and a hose. First, one has to remove the drain plug on top of their car’s radiator or at the bottom of their radiator near where it connects to the engine block and drain the fluid, after draining the filter will be changed too. This process does not remove all the fluid and almost 50% of it remains.

You can check the owners´ manual to find out whether the manufacturer recommends flushing or draining of transmission fluid.

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