Wondering if it’s really all that important to change your transmission fluid? Well, spoiler alert: It is! Keeping track of your car’s fluids is one of the most important parts of DIY auto repair, and getting it wrong can spell disaster for your ride. Read on to learn the basics of transmission fluid from the used auto part experts at U Wrench It.
What Exactly Is Transmission Fluid?
Transmission fluid is the lubricating liquid for the moving parts in your transmission. If you have an automatic transmission, the transmission fluid also serves a couple of other purposes as a coolant and hydraulic medium. Transmission fluid is usually colored red or green so you can tell it apart from the other engine fluids (motor oil, wiper fluid, brake fluid, etc.).
Automatic cars are not the only vehicles that require transmission fluid, although automatic and manual vehicles do require different types of transmission fluid. If you choose to maintain your car’s fluids yourself, be sure you’re using the proper fluid for your car. Using the wrong kind can be harmful to your transmission and damage your gearbox.
Car owners with a CVT will also want to pay special attention to the needs of their vehicle. Unlike a traditional automatic that has a set number of gears, a CVT often relies on a belt or pulley system to operate an infinite number of gear ratios. Make sure you use a CVT-specific fluid or you’ll risk big headaches (and repair bills) down the road.
When Should You Change Transmission Fluid?
Unfortunately the answer to this question isn’t that simple. It depends on the make and model of the car, but also on the way you use it. For instance, if you do a lot of stop-and-go city driving (and you probably do, if you live in Atlanta!) your transmission fluid will degrade much faster.
Step one in determining when to change your transmission fluid is to find out the manufacturer’s recommended service intervals for your vehicle. This can range from 30,000 miles to over 100,000 miles!
Transmission fluid does not burn off as engine oil does, and you should definitely not be seeing it under your car. If you notice a red or green puddle under your car, you may have a transmission fluid leak that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.
What Happens If You Don’t Change Your Transmission Fluid?
As you put wear and tear on your car, the transmission fluid will deteriorate, turning a darker color and sometimes developing a burning smell. The fluid can become clouded by particulates and debris, causing shifting problems, gear slipping, and even grinding sounds. (Always a sign that something needs your attention!) Sometimes, a transmission can even shut down as a sort of self-protection feature.
Proper maintenance will help you keep your car in good condition, but of course we never know what life—or the road—will throw at us! Whether you need to source used auto parts in Atlanta or sell a junk car, U Wrench It is here to help. Give us a call at 404-805-0900 or get in touch using our online contact form.