Three Simple Tips To Keep Your Automatic Transmission In Tip-Top Shape

Many people don't realize that in order to keep their car's transmission working properly, the transmission needs to be properly maintained. If you don't take care of your car's automatic transmission, problems are more likely to arise. So, in order to avoid paying for auto transmission repair services more frequently than needed, check out these tips to help you keep your car's transmission running in tip-top shape.

Look for Leaks

You should check the ground in your parking space on a regular basis to see if transmission fluid is leaking from your car. Transmission fluid is typically a thin, reddish liquid. However, if it's almost time for your transmission fluid to be changed, it might appear to be light brown and thick. Power steering fluid leaks are often mistaken for transmission fluid leaks because the fluids are similar in appearance. However, power steering fluid leaks from the front of your car, while transmission fluid leaks from the middle of the car. If you notice a leak that you think could be transmission fluid, you should take your car to an auto transmission repair service shop as soon as possible. If the leak is caught soon enough, there's a chance that the transmission could be repaired instead of replaced.

Check the Transmission Fluid

You should check your transmission fluid on a regular basis to make sure there is the right amount of fluid in the car and that the fluid isn't worn down. Checking a vehicle's transmission fluid level is similar to checking a car's oil. However, the process isn't the same for all vehicles, so you need to consult your owner's manual to determine the right procedure for your car.

There are two important details to look for in the owner's manual: the location of the transmission fluid dipstick and whether you need the car to be on or off while you check the transmission fluid. If your car doesn't have a transmission fluid dipstick -- some newer models don't -- you will need to take the vehicle to a transmission repair shop to have the fluid checked. Once you determine where the transmission fluid dipstick is located and whether the car should be on or off you will:

  1. Make sure the vehicle is sitting on a flat surface.
  2. Pull the dipstick out, wipe it off, and put it back.
  3. Pull the dipstick out again to read the fluid level. The minimum and maximum level is marked on the dipstick. The fluid level should sit in between the two marks.

You also need to check the color, thickness, and smell of the fluid. Allowing the fluid to drip from the dipstick onto a white cloth or paper towel makes the process easy. If the fluid looks brown, thick, or smells burnt, you need to take your vehicle to the transmission repair shop to have the transmission flushed.

Have Your Transmission Flushed

The Automatic Transmission Rebuilders Association claims that approximately 90 percent of automatic transmission failures result from the transmission overheating, which happens when the transmission fluid breaks down and is no longer lubricating the transmission properly. To avoid this, you should get your transmission flushed completely and the filter changed as indicated in your owner's manual. Some manufacturers recommend that the transmission fluid be changed in automatic transmissions every 30,000 miles, while other manufacturers may indicate that the transmission fluid doesn't need to be changed. However, the typical service time for flushing an automatic transmission is between 60,000 and 100,000 miles. If you've checked your transmission fluid, and noticed that it looks worn down, you should definitely have the transmission flushed as soon as possible.

Remember, vehicles with automatic transmissions rely on the transmission fluid to keep the transmission running properly. So, it's important that you ensure your vehicle always has the right level of transmission fluid and that it's replaced as needed. This way, your transmission lasts as long as possible. For more information, talk to an auto transmission repair professional.