How Often Do You Need to Change Your Transmission Fluid?

Owning a car means keeping track of all maintenance, including when to change your transmission fluid. Your transmission fluid plays a vital role in your vehicle’s performance. When it’s not at peak performance, neither will your vehicle.


We’re going to cover several important areas when it comes to your transmission fluid. These include:

  • Why transmission fluid is important
  • Signs you need to change your transmission fluid
  • How frequently you should change it
  • How Reliable Import Service Can Help

Let’s get started so that you can learn more about the transmission fluid in your vehicle and why it’s important to change it.

Why is Transmission Fluid Important?

Transmission fluid plays an important role in your vehicle’s maintenance. It keeps mechanical components cool and lubricated whether you have an automatic transmission or a manual one. 

Without transmission fluid, the bearings of your transmission and the metal parts would grind against one another. This creates heat and can cause them to break down. Transmission fluid also creates hydraulic pressure that allows the transmission to do its job.

Signs You Need to Change Your Transmission Fluid

When you bring your car in for service, the technician should check all fluids, including your transmission fluid, to see if it needs to be changed. You can also check it yourself if you feel like something is not working properly.

Fresh transmission fluid is typically bright red. If yours looks brown or blackish, you’ll want to have a trusted technician inspect your transmission and the fluid.

Your car will also give you small hints that something is wrong and needs to be addressed. These are a few of the signs that you need to change your transmission fluid:

  • Puddles under your car because your car is leaking transmission fluid
  • Warning light or check engine light on your dashboard indicating your car needs service
  • Roaring signs as you accelerate
  • Whining sounds (indicate low transmission fluid)
  • Difficult in shifting and handling
  • Shift slips
  • Rumbling as you accelerate from a parked position
  • Unexpected surging forwards or backward
  • Slight burning smell that could signify burnt oil

If you notice any of these things in your vehicle, you’ll want to get it serviced as soon as possible. Ignoring warning signs can lead to bigger problems down the road.

How Frequently Do I Need to Change My Transmission Fluid?

You should always check your manufacturer’s recommended service intervals for when transmission fluid on your specific vehicle should be changed because they can vary greatly. Some cars and trucks should have their transmission fluid changed every 30,000 miles while others can go up to 100,000 miles. 

It’s never a bad thing to change your transmission fluid early. If you have a manual transmission and use your vehicle a lot, you may want to change your fluid every 15,000 miles. New vehicles, specifically those with automatic gearboxes, have transmissions that are practically sealed shut, so the transmission fluid is meant to last the lifespan of the car.

Why You May Need Fresh Transmission Fluid

As the fluid ages, it can lose its lubricating and cooling functions. Also, it can collect tiny metal shavings from moving parts and debris that has built up inside the transmission. This can impact how well your car shifts.

While fresh transmission fluid can improve shift quality and increase the lifespan of your transmission, your vehicle may have other issues that also need to be addressed.

What Type of Transmission Fluid Should I Use?

Automatic transmission fluid is the most common in vehicles that have automatic and manual transmissions. There are different types of fluids depending on their quality. The type you should use will depend on your vehicle and its model. Transmission fluid comes in regular and synthetic blends. Many new cars use synthetic fluids for their transmission. 

There is also a CVT transmission fluid. This is an advanced version of transmission oil made to work with SUVs, trucks, and advanced cars. You’ll want to consult with an expert to determine the best type of transmission fluid for your vehicle.

F.A.Q about Transmission Fluid

What happens if I don’t change my transmission fluid?

If you don’t change your transmission fluid, the fluid levels can run low. Plus, your car can break down and not perform properly. Your car may stop shifting and may overheat. Many people don’t know there is a problem until the damage is done. That’s why it’s important to keep up with regular maintenance for your vehicle.

What are some of the most common places for transmission fluid leaks?

Some of the most common places for transmission fluid leaks include the pan gasket, seals, drain, plug, and fluid lines.

Does the fluid need to be flushed out of the transmission?

When recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer, you’ll want to flush the transmission fluid. As your transmission parts wear down, they break down into fluid. This contaminates the fluid which is why your fluid should be flushed out.

Can I change the transmission fluid myself?

It’s best to leave changing your transmission fluid to the experts. Your car may need to be placed on a lift to change the fluid. Plus, the fill plug may be difficult to remove and replace. These are things you don’t want to deal with yourself.

Trust Reliable Import Service to Change Your Transmission Fluid

When you need to change your transmission fluid in Raleigh, you can trust Reliable Import Service to get the job done. Our technicians have experience working on a variety of imported vehicles and are familiar with transmission problems and the type of transmission fluid you should use for your vehicle. After inspecting your vehicle, our technicians will know when is the right time to change your transmission fluid.

Call us today at [phone] or reach out to us online to schedule your appointment today! You’ll see why so many in Raleigh come to Reliable Import Service for all of their vehicle maintenance and repair needs.


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