How often should I change the transmission fluid or service the transmission in my vehicle?
Manufacturers generally suggest servicing the transmission every 30,000 miles or greater. However, there are factors that can reduce or extend the manufacturers suggestion. Transmissions that are subject to heavier use, such as towing or those that are used in extreme conditions should be serviced every 12,000 to 15,000 miles. Use of higher quality or synthetic fluids may extend the manufacturers suggestion. Always check with a reputable transmission facility for their suggestion.
There is a difference in servicing a transmission and flushing the transmission. Routine service involves dropping the transmission pan and allowing all available fluid to drain out. The transmission filter is changed or if the vehicle has a screen it is cleaned and replaced and a new gasket is put on the transmission pan. Usually about half of the existing fluid remains in the system and new fluid is added to bring the system back to an optimal level.
When transmission fluid shows signs of deterioration a “flush” is recommended. Flushing should be performed on an as-needed basis.
What is the cost of servicing and/or overhauling a transmission?
Costs can always vary, but a routine service should cost approximately $75 to $125. A transmission overhaul, which involves removing the transmission, can range anywhere from $1,800 to $2,500 for later model automobiles. Earlier models can be less. The price also varies depending on the problems found with the transmission.
Who makes the best or most trustworthy transmission?
All vehicle manufacturers have good and bad transmissions and there is always a chance of getting a lemon. Generally, rear-wheel drive models are the better choice. This is because the dimensional size of internal working parts is larger as compared to the front-wheel-drive models.
What can I do to make my transmission last longer?
Regular maintenance is the key to extending the life of a transmission. Another factor is to use a vehicle for its intended purpose.
How do I choose a reputable transmission shop?
A reputable transmission shop is comprised of quality parts, skill, workmanship, and honesty. The new technology of vehicles requires a new technology of diagnostic equipment and constant training.
To choose a competent and reputable transmission shop here are our suggestions:
- Ask around. Talk to your general mechanic, your friends, and your neighbors. You may also want to check with your local Chamber of Commerce for reputable shops.
- Don’t shop on price alone. Cheaper prices sometimes mean cheaper parts. Professionalism and expertise are also worth paying for.
- Ask questions.
- Does the shop offer up-to-date training to their technicians and the latest diagnostic equipment?
- Are the technicians ASE Certified?
- Are the transmission shop and its' technicians members of ATRA (the Automatic Transmission Rebuilders Association)?
- What type of warranty does the transmission shop offer? (Twelve months or 12,000 miles is preferable.)
Following these suggestions and asking these questions will help you make an informed intelligent decision.