Maintaining Your Transmission
This area will be our most visited page
as there are many different opinions regarding this topic. Lets start
with the basics.
Why should we service automatic transmissions?
complex assemblies. They incorporate gears, shafts, pumps, precision
valves, solenoids (electric valves) and many other precision components.
Transmissions are expensive.
Driving habits and use varies.
We tend to keep our vehicles longer. 100,000 miles was very high
mileage in early years. Today's vehicles last much longer and
200,00-300,000 service life is normal now.
We drive more miles per year then we did 20 years ago! We are a
society "on the go!"
Transmissions have internal filters:
Myth: they do not require
Transmission filters are most often forgotten (never replaced).
Because most are located in the sump, replacement often requires
removing an oil pan. This takes time and is messy. In
fact, a few transmissions need to be disassemble to do this (very
costly). Filter manufacturers design the best filters they can, but
it is not possible to design a filter that will last forever and
keep the transmission squeaky clean indefinitely. Eventually,
transmission filters need to be replaced! Transmission filters have
no method of allowing fluid to flow if
they get restricted (clogged up). In order to make the filter last
for 100,000 miles, it has to be "loose enough" to collect normal
wear material, but not restrict flow. Unfortunately, as the filter
accumulates wear particles, it's efficiency to capture wear
particles decreases. Normal wear particles now are circulated in the
transmission fluid. Transmission performance and life can suffer.
today are fairly simple.
- Remove pan (when present)
- Clean the transmission internal magnet and pan
- Replace internal filter (external also, if equipped)
- Fill with proper fluid that meets transmission
This process has become very popular,
especially at quick lube centers. It's like a blood transfusion to a
human being. Often this service is performed without replacing the
internal filter, cleaning the pan or internal magnet. We hear that
the filter is addressed by "back flushing" the filter. This is not
possible and do not believe that.
Today's transmissions are very sensitive to
the fluids we use. Shift feel is often "calibrated" by additives in
the fluid. The wrong fluid can cause harsh or even slipping shifts
(although rare). In addition, we now have fluids that incorporate
synthetic and synthetic blends. The primary purpose is to extend
fluid life. Synthetic fluids are also helpful in lowering operating
temperatures and increasing component life (increased lubrication
When to service YOUR transmission (?):
For years, we recommended 36,000 miles or 3 years, whichever
occurs first. This works fine today as it has for years! If you
follow this suggested period, only the fluid drained need be
replaced (no flush required).
Many vehicles are filled from the factory with "Long Life" fluid.
If this applies to your vehicle, then you may consider extending the
interval to 50,000-75,000 miles or 50-75 months. Use your owners
manual as a guide. Keep in mind, how you use your vehicle
plays a roll. Short runs with little mileage is harder then extended
highway driving. Towing and hard working applications need more
Synthetic fluids extend service life of the fluid, not the
filter! We suggest not extending beyond 75,000 miles.
Some vehicles are equipped with a second filter. These are a
great asset to the transmission. These transmissions are very clean
and often give trouble free service. We use NTZ in-line filters on
all of our rebuilt transmissions. These are excellent in keeping
transmissions clean. They can be added to most vehicles easily and
would assure you of a very clean transmission!