To keep your car in tip-top shape, it’s important for you to have the right fluids in it at all times. These fluids include everything from your engine oil and your power steering fluid to your coolant and your brake fluid. Your transmission fluid is also one of the most essential fluids in your car, and it’s imperative for you to do a transmission fluid change every so often to keep the transmission fluid in your car fresh.
If you don’t get into the habit of doing a transmission fluid change on a regular basis, it’s only going to be a matter of time before you’re forced to deal with transmission issues. You might even ruin your transmission completely if you drive around with old transmission fluid in your car for an extended period of time.
Anyone who owns a car should know what transmission fluid is, how long it’s designed to last, and what signs will show that a transmission fluid change should be done. Take some time to learn about all of these things below so that you don’t end up driving around in a car with old transmission fluid in it.
What Is Transmission Fluid, and Why Is It So Important?
The engine oil that you put into your car is in charge of lubricating all of the different moving parts in your engine. That might lead you to believe that the transmission fluid that you put into your car plays the same role in your transmission. And it does to some degree. But it also does so much more.
Your car’s transmission fluid is designed to do these three things when you put it into your car:
- It helps your transmission shift from one gear to the next when you’re driving your car down the street at different speeds
- It keeps your transmission cool so that it doesn’t ever overheat and cause problems
- It lubricates a lot of the moving parts located in your transmission
If you, at any point, don’t have enough transmission fluid in your car or if you have very old transmission fluid in your car, it might not be able to do these jobs. It’s why you need to be prepared to do a transmission fluid change as needed.
How Long Does Transmission Fluid Last?
Now that you have a general sense of the importance of transmission fluid, it’s time to move on to discussing how long it’s going to last. You need to know approximately how often you’ll need to do a transmission fluid change so that you put it on the calendar and remember to do it.
Every vehicle is a little bit different, which means that some will need to have a transmission fluid done more often than others. But generally speaking, most people will need to do a transmission fluid every 30,000 to 60,000 miles. If you push your car to the limit almost every day, you might have to do it more often than that (think every 15,000 to 20,000 miles!). But even then, your transmission fluid should last you a long time.
As you can see, you won’t have to change your transmission fluid anywhere near as often as you change, say, your engine oil. But that’s a big part of the reason why so many people forget to do it. You should avoid doing this unless you want to start seeing signs that’ll show you that you need a transmission fluid change badly.
What Are the Signs That Show You Need to Do a Transmission Fluid Change?
As long as you change your car’s transmission fluid every 30,000 to 60,000 miles, you shouldn’t have to worry about seeing any signs that you need to do a transmission fluid. But if you push your car well past the 60,000-mile mark without getting around to doing a transmission fluid, you’ll be asking for problems.
Continue reading to see some signs that’ll show you’re in desperate need of a transmission fluid change.
1. You Hear Grinding Sounds Coming From Your Transmission
As you put more and more miles on your car with the same transmission fluid in it, it’s not out of the ordinary for grime and sludge to build up in it. As a result, your transmission itself will start to get a lot of grime and sludge in it, which could very well lead to it making strange sounds when you’re driving around.
More specifically, your transmission is likely going to begin to make grinding sounds when it has dirty transmission fluid in it. You should sneak a peek at your transmission fluid to see if it’s brown or black since those could be clear indications that it’s causing your transmission fluid to make sounds. You’ll want to have it replaced as soon as possible when this is the case.
2. You Struggle to Shift the Gears in Your Transmission
As we touched on a few moments ago, one of the many things that transmission fluid is responsible for doing is helping your transmission to shift from one gear to the next. When you have enough fresh transmission fluid in your car, it should allow you to shift gears seamlessly.
But problems are pretty much sure to arise when you’re in need of a transmission fluid change! You’re going to feel your car’s transmission struggling to go from one gear to the next. If you have a manual transmission, you might even find that you can’t shift gears at all.
This is obviously going to limit your ability to drive your vehicle. It’s also going to put your transmission at risk if you attempt to drive it despite the fact that you need to have a transmission fluid change done. You should take it to an auto repair shop right away so that a mechanic can perform a transmission fluid change for you.
3. You Notice the Gears in Your Transmission Slipping
If you have dirty transmission fluid in your car, it’s not going to be capable of producing the hydraulic power that you need it to produce to keep your vehicle in the right gear. Because of this, you’re going to find that your gears will slip while you’re behind the wheel.
Outside of the fact that your transmission slipping is going to make it challenging to drive your car, it’s also going to make it very dangerous. You never know when it’s going to suddenly slip from one gear to the next. You might end up getting into an accident if your transmission slips at the wrong time and puts you into a lower gear than you need it to be in.
4. You Feel Your Vehicle Surging Because of Your Transmission
When people think of the potential problems that come along with driving around in a car with low transmission fluid levels, they often think about their car not going fast enough. But it’s definitely worth noting that your vehicle might go too fast at times when you need to have a transmission fluid change done.
You might feel your vehicle surging for no good reason when it has dirty transmission fluid in it. Reason being, the transmission fluid won’t be able to flow through your transmission cleanly, which can cause your car to jump forward out of nowhere when you don’t want it to. This is another thing that could possibly lead to you getting into a bad accident.
5. You Sense Delays in Your Vehicle’s Movement Due to Your Transmission
Does it always take an extra second or two for your car to get going after you put it into gear? This happens to a lot of people when they’re trying to get their car moving when a traffic light goes from red to green.
If your vehicle is always stalling on you longer than it should, this is one more sign that you need to arrange to have a transmission fluid change done as soon as you can. This could work wonders for your car and prevent it from stalling on you as you move forward.
What Happens During a Transmission Fluid Change?
If you’ve had transmission fluid changes done in the past, you might be well aware of what happens during one. But since there are some people who don’t always keep cars for 60,000 miles, not everyone knows how a transmission fluid works.
If you’ve noticed any of the signs that we just mentioned and think you might need to have a transmission fluid change done, here is what a mechanic is going to do while replacing your transmission fluid:
- They’ll start by draining all of the old transmission fluid in your car out of it
- They’ll replace the filter for your transmission fluid
- They’ll refill your transmission with fresh transmission fluid
- They’ll inspect your transmission pan while doing all this to see if there is any debris in your transmission (this could indicate the presence of bigger problems in your transmission!)
You might also choose to have what’s called a transmission flush done when you’re in need of a transmission fluid change. This process involves the use of a machine that replaces the transmission fluid in an automatic transmission by utilizing pressure. It’s a more expensive process, but it’s also more effective in most cases since it removes any and all traces of your car’s old transmission fluid.
How Much Does a Transmission Fluid Change Cost?
Any time people hear that they need to have any work done on their car’s transmission, they get worried. And rightfully so! Many transmission-related repairs cost a small fortune.
But you’ll be happy to hear that a transmission fluid change isn’t going to break the bank. Not even close really. On average, you should only have to pay somewhere between $180 and $210 for a transmission fluid change. It’s a very small price to pay for something as vital as transmission fluid.
The only time that you might have to worry about the price of a transmission fluid change is if you haven’t done one in a really long time. You could be forced to pay for more extensive transmission repairs if a mechanic uncovers any problems while doing a transmission fluid change.
What Might Happen If You Don’t Change Transmission Fluid Often Enough?
Let’s say that you don’t ever get around to changing your transmission fluid. What is the worst that could happen? Well, as you might guess, there is a lot that could go wrong!
In a best-case scenario, you’ll find that your transmission won’t respond in the way that you want it to anymore when you’re driving your car. You’ll have a difficult time getting it into the right gears, and it’ll start to make some strange sounds that will concern you.
And in a worst-case scenario, you’ll begin to do a whole lot of damage to your transmission over time as you continue to flood it with dirty transmission fluid. It won’t be long before your transmission starts to give out on you completely. This could put you in a position where you either have to do costly transmission repairs or consider getting rid of your car altogether.
How Can You Sell a Car With a Bad Transmission?
Have you spent a long time driving around in a car with dirty transmission fluid in it and done damage to your transmission as a result? Or do you have a car that is simply on the older side and experiencing transmission problems because of its age? Either way, there is a way that you can sell it despite its transmission troubles!
Cash Cars Buyer specializes in buying old cars that have issues for top dollar. If you would like to see how much you might be able to get for your car, all you have to do is follow these steps:
- Let us know what kind of car you have, how old it is, and how many miles are on it
- Check your email to see how much we would be willing to pay for your car
- Decide if you want to accept or reject the offer that we make to you
- Schedule a place and time for us to pick up your car and pay you for it if you choose to accept our offer
Could it get any easier than that? It’s a good way to clean up the mess you may have made by not getting a transmission fluid change done sooner. Contact us today to get a great offer for your vehicle.