pouring transmission fluid in funnel

How to Know When to Change Transmission Fluid in Your Vehicle

Ask the Pros at AA Automatic Transmissions in Christiansburg

When Is the Last Time You Checked the Transmission Fluid?

As a vehicle owner, do you know when to change transmission fluid? You may think that this is something that your mechanic will just do during your inspection. While this may be true, the transmission fluid or transmission itself can have problems between inspections, meaning that you need to know how to find any issues.

This month we’re going to cover how to tell when your transmission fluid needs changing. Some vehicles make it easy to check at home, while some may have a sealed transmission. If that’s the case, be sure to bring it in to a professional.

There are many different things that can affect the transmission, so it’s good to have an understanding of how it works. It’s best to find a mechanic that specializes in transmissions and can provide proper repairs, too.


Signs that It’s Time for a Transmission Flush

If you’re not sure about when to change the transmission fluid, there are a few telltale signs that it needs some attention. These can include, but are not limited to:

  • Transmission slips
  • Not switching gears or a delay
  • Overheating
  • Fluid leaks
  • Burning smell coming from the hood of the vehicle
  • Dark or burnt-looking fluid
  • Driving over 20,000 miles


If you notice any of these signs, make an appointment with AA Automatic Transmissions for a transmission flush. A lack of fluid can be detrimental to the transmission, ending with expensive repairs.


Your Transmission Gives the Vehicle Power – Keep It Maintained

The transmission is what gives your vehicle speed and power. A faulty transmission can in fact leave you sitting, so it’s important to have routine maintenance. You may wonder, what’s the easiest way to maintain your transmission? The easiest way is by keeping fluid levels normal and checking for any leaks or burning.

Like the engine, the transmission needs oil to function. This oil is what is known as transmission fluid. Without it, the transmission can ultimately overheat and need replacement in the long run. Remember to have routine maintenance to avoid these repairs, and speak with a mechanic if there are any small issues at hand.


How Much You Drive Can Determine When to Change the Fluid

Depending on how much you drive, you may need to change the transmission fluid more often. Many manufacturers recommend changing every 20,000 miles, but if you go over this mileage yearly, then you should keep a closer eye on the transmission fluid. Large trucks and travel vehicles are prime candidates for yearly transmission flush.

If you do not travel often, read your driver’s manual for manufacturer recommendations. Be aware that automatic and manual transmission vehicles may have different recommendations.


Checking the Transmission Fluid at Home

No matter how much auto experience you have, it’s easy to check on the transmission fluid at home. Car and Driver provides a detailed, step-by-step guide to checking the transmission fluid. Be sure that you’re checking the transmission and not the engine fluid, as they are two very different things. Your driver’s manual may help to indicate where the transmission dipstick is or whether or not it’s accessible.

Good fluid will hit the full mark on the dipstick. It should be a reddish pink color. A darker color than this means that it will soon need to be flushed and replaced. If the fluid smells burnt, this is also a sign that it needs replacing. Low fluid level could indicate a leak, which will need professional attention.


What Happens Without Regular Transmission Maintenance?

There are some things that can happen when your transmission goes without regular maintenance. Without the proper fluid, the transmission will slowly stop working. You may notice more frequent slips, delay in shifting gears, and overheating. The Transmission Repair Cost Guide breaks down these issues and provides some examples on how to repair them. Remember that transmissions are very intricate and can be very expensive to repair and rebuild, so catching these problems quickly is important.


Automatic vs. Manual Transmission Fluid

The make and model of your vehicle can determine the kind of transmission fluid it needs. Automatic and manual transmissions may use the same type, but be sure to consult your driver’s manual first. This will let you know the right fluid to use. Automatic vehicles use torque converters that require fluid as well. Your mechanic will be able to check the fluid levels and make sure that the transmission can function properly.

Keep in mind that different vehicles will require different types of transmission fluid. Read your driver’s manual or read about the transmission fluid before putting it in your vehicle. Some fluids will not work on foreign cars, manual transmissions, or other aspects of your vehicle. If you’re unsure of what type of fluid to buy, ask the experts at AA Automatic Transmissions.


Visit AA Automatic Transmissions for Fluids and Repair

Have we answered your questions on when to change transmission fluid? When it comes time for a transmission flush or for repairs, visit AA Automatic Transmissions in Christiansburg, VA. Our mechanics have years of experience in handling transmissions and are here to get your vehicle up and running in no time. We can repair leaks, check fluid, repair clutches, and much more.


Does your vehicle need repairs? Call AA Automatic Transmissions in Christiansburg, VA, at (540) 382-5959 or follow us on Facebook for updates. Ask us about when to change transmission fluid.