Maintenance Useful tips

How often should I Change my Auto Transmission Fluid?

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Most car owner’s manuals state that changing the transmission isn’t necessary. If this is true, then why are there so many burned out transmissions? If you’re looking for premium protection for your vehicle, expert mechanics recommend changing your transmission fluid at least every 50,000 KMS and 100,000 KMS for newer vehicles. Let’s take a look at why the automatic transmission fluid wears out, and how to detect its usability?

The automatic transmission itself creates a lot of heat with the help of friction. Friction is the result of several things including clutch plates engaging, loads carried by gears and bearings and turning of fluid inside the torque converter. Automatic transmission fluid heats up fast especially when the vehicle is in motion. Regular temperatures at which fluids operate including transmission fluid are around 150 degrees Fahrenheit. If fuel temperatures maintain that level, the auto transmission fluid will last a lifetime or 100,000 KMS easily, but if it shoots up substantially higher, the life of the fluid gets affected.

There is no specific type of driving pattern that can raise these temperatures. In fact, this can be caused even when driving normally, and once that occurs, the car will plummet in performance and deemed unsafe. At high temperatures, automatic transmission fluid starts to burn and gives out a foul burnt toast like odor. As the temperatures affect the fluid, the friction qualities and lubrication characteristics start to depreciate causing resin to appear on the valve body, which results in interference of the dynamics of the transmission.

If the temperature jumps over 250 degrees Fahrenheit, the rubber seals in the transmission begin to get hard resulting in loss of pressure and leaks. At temperatures higher than that, the transmission experiences slipping and starts to overheat. All over the above symptoms combined results in a burnt out clutch and a dead transmission. The only way to repair a transmission when it’s reached this stage is with an overhaul, which is one of the costliest automotive repair jobs.

A good thing to keep in mind is that every 20 degree jump over the normal 175 degrees cuts the lifeline of the automotive fluid in half, so if you notice this happening, it’s time to seek professional assistance to preserve the longevity of your fluid and transmission. For example, if the temperature of the automotive transmission fluid crosses 195 degrees, the lifeline is reduced to 60, 000 KMS, and if it’s over 250 degrees, it won’t last more than 15, ooo KMS. If you think this is some type of trick to get in quicker for an transmission fluid change, car experts claim that most transmission failures are caused by overheating, which is a result of worn out fluid.

Although this rise in temperatures and their drastic results may scare you, good news is that on newer vehicles there is a small heat exchanger located below the radiator that helps cool the transmission fluid. There are also a few gadgets that can be added to cool the transmission fluid such as an auxiliary transmission fluid cooler. This device is easy to install and substantially reduces oil temperatures. The best way to choose the automotive fluid that perfect for your vehicle is referring to the owner’s manual.

Even if the one specified causes your car’s transmission fluid to overheat, it is the one to stick with since automotive manufacturers know best what juice is right for their transmissions. The first step to take and immediately when you notice the vehicles transmission temperatures boost is to have it looked at by a professional rather than troubleshooting it yourself.

-Maintenance, Useful tips

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