January 28, 2019

Do I Need a Transmission Flush?

There are plenty of fluids that run through your vehicle to keep everything working properly, but one of the lesser discussed ones is transmission fluid. Transmission fluid might not get as much attention as oil or brake fluid, but it is vital to the health and performance of your car. While you typically only need to have a transmission flush every 2 years, there are some situations where you should get one sooner. Do you need a transmission flush?

What Does Transmission Fluid Do?

Transmission fluid is a liquid responsible for lubricating the moving parts inside of your automobile’s transmission. If you have an automatic transmission, transmission fluid is a viscous fluid that moves power from the transmission to the engine and acts as a coolant. If you have a manual transmission, you should check which type of fluid your transmission needs.

How Often Should Your Fluid Be Changed?

You should start by checking your owner’s manual because the answer will depend on what type of transmission you have. A manual transmission typically requires fluid changes every 30,000-60,000 miles under normal use. An automatic transmission typically needs a fluid swap every 60,000 to 100,000 miles depending on the manufacturer.

Why Do You Need a Transmission Flush?

  • Grinding or Odd Noises: If your transmission is filled with grease, sludge or dirt, your car won’t be able to perform correctly. If you hear grinding sounds or other odd noises, you should check the fluid levels while the engine is on. The transmission fluid should appear a bright red shade and not black or brown, which signifies it is time for a flush. As long as the level is fine, the transmission will just need to be flushed to get out grime. If you notice a strange odor when you are checking the transmission fluid level, that’s also a sign you’re due for a flush.
  • Oxidized Fluid: Take a few drops of your transmission fluid and put them on a paper towel. If the fluid disperses, it is perfectly fine. However, if the fluid does not disperse, it has been oxidized and needs to be flushed and replaced.
  • Trouble Shifting Gears: Whether you drive a manual or automatic transmission, problems shifting gears is a sign that you could need a transmission flush. When there is dirt or grime in the system, your system will be slow to respond and it will feel like your gears are shifting too late or too quickly when you’re driving.
  • Slipping Gears: If you have a clogged and dirty transmission, you might be struggling with a lack of hydraulic power like you would without enough fluid. In order for your car to remain in the right gear, you need to have enough pressure built up by the transmission fluid. If your transmission fluid is dirty and grimy, it will not be able to build and maintain adequate pressure and keep your car in gear.
  • Surging: Whenever your transmission is filled with contaminants and dirt, and in need of a flush, you might experience surging. Since the fluid can’t flow properly, your car might constantly surge, jump or fall backward for no apparent reason.
  • Delays: Is your car responding properly when you are shifting gears or driving around? If your vehicle is stalling or stuttering before it moves after putting it in gear, it’s a sign that your transmission fluid might need to be flushed.

Keep Your Automobile in Great Shape with Thunderbird Automotive

Thunderbird Automotive is a leader in auto repair and maintenance in Phoenix, AZ thanks to our awesome customer service, broad range of repair services and expertise. To learn more about our services and get your vehicle checked out, please contact us at (602) 938-3631.

January 28, 2019