One of the most important things to keep note of in your vehicle is the transmission fluid, whether you drive a manual or an automatic car. Transmission fluid keeps the components of your transmission moving smoothly, which is a crucial aspect of its performance. The transmission is also one of the most expensive parts to replace in a car. Ensuring you have enough quality transmission fluid in your vehicle will save you an expensive trip to the mechanic later.
Thankfully, you shouldn’t have to change your transmission fluid too often. As a general rule, it is a good idea to check whether your transmission fluid needs changing somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 kilometres driven, or every two years. However, it is important to consult your vehicle’s manual and consider what kind of driving you are doing – hard vehicle use could mean you should change your transmission fluid sooner.
As with all of the fluids in your car, your transmission fluid will decrease in quality over time, particularly if you are driving frequently in the city, carrying heavy loads or towing trailers. This occurs because as your transmission’s temperature increases, the heat will strain your transmission fluid. It is also possible for your vehicle to have a transmission fluid leak, in which case you should visit a mechanic immediately to have the issue repaired.
Signs Your Transmission Fluid May Need Changing
There are three major signs to look out for when considering whether your transmission fluid needs replacing.
The colour of your transmission fluid is the easiest indicator to check for whether you should replace it. Although transmission fluid is usually red, it can also be other colours, so it is worth checking early. Over time the liquid will become darker. Once the fluid is getting toward brown, you may want to consider getting it changed.
You should not rely on the colour of transmission fluid alone – if the fluid is starting to smell burnt, you should change it. It is also important to recognise that a burnt smell could indicate mechanical problems with your transmission, which should be investigated by a reliable mechanic.
The last major sign has to do with the quality of your transmission fluid. When you have a close look at the fluid, check for particles or debris of any kind. If you find any, it’s time to consider changing your transmission fluid.
How to Check Transmission Fluid
The easiest way to check your transmission fluid is to bring your car to a trustworthy mechanic, especially since many modern vehicles have a transmission fluid dipstick that is hard to access, given they are underneath the car. If your car has an easily accessible dipstick, you can check the fluid yourself.
When checking the transmission fluid yourself, carefully follow the instructions in your owner’s manual, make sure that the engine is off and be careful of parts that may still be hot. Checking your transmission fluid won’t take long – cautiously remove the dipstick and wipe it using a clean cloth.
Once you have done this, you should also check the fluid level by putting the dipstick back in and out again. If the liquid is low, it is probably worth having a professional assess whether there is a leak.
If you have concerns about your transmission or need to have your transmission fluid checked, the expert team at Bentleigh Automotive Services is here to help. To get in touch with us, simply call (03) 8566 8439 or fill out our online contact form.