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Answers to Your Transmission Fluid Replacement Questions

Technician with white gloves placing components in transmission during automatic transmission repair.

Learning the role of transmission fluid in keeping your vehicle running effectively can help minimize the number of costly car repairs in your future. You likely have a number of questions about your car’s fluid and how it lubricates other components, and so to help guide you and ensure you’re making the right choices for your vehicle, we’re answering common questions about transmission oil replacement.

What Does Transmission Fluid Do?

Transmission fluid serves a vital role within your vehicle. The lubricant keeps the transmission from overheating and helps power the transmission through pressure and torque. Transmission oil lubricates the moving parts within the transmission and supports hydraulic pressure and friction to ensure all components perform their roles. 

What Happens if You Don’t Replace Transmission Fluid?

The major risks associated with not replacing your transmission fluid include:

  • Sludge buildup, which damages the clutch in manual transmissions and torque converter in automatics
  • Sluggish performance as vehicle acceleration is impacted by transmission component lubrication 
  • Overheating transmissions due to increased friction between connecting components
  • Slipped gears as gears become mis-aligned, causing difficulty with shifting

How Can I Tell When It’s Time for a Transmission Fluid Replacement?

You’ll know it’s time to visit your local transmission service provider when your vehicle struggles to stay in gear and you experience hard shifting. You may also hear new noises from the transmission including grinding, which indicates your transmission oil is not lubricating connected components and that metal components are touching one another within your transmission. 

Further signs it’s time for a transmission fluid replacement include:

  • A whining noise from the transmission
  • Inability to reverse 
  • A sweet burning odour
  • Vibration when idling

How Often Does Transmission Fluid Need to be Replaced?

The vast majority of manufacturers recommend automatic transmission fluid be replaced every 60,000 to 100,000 Kms. Meanwhile, manual transmission fluid should be replaced every 30,000 to 60,000 Kms. Increasing the frequency of your transmission fluid changes can help protect transmission components and ensure your system runs flawlessly throughout the seasons. 

What Does the Transmission Fluid Replacement Process Involve?

Transmission fluid replacement involves the following steps;

  • Removing the transmission fill/plug to release the old fluid from the pan
  • Replacing the transmission filter
  • Refilling the reservoir with fresh transmission fluid

What’s the Difference Between a Transmission Flush and a Replacement?

You’ve likely heard of both transmission flushes and replacements. Many drivers confuse the two processes. But a transmission flush and transmission replacement are unique transmission maintenance processes. 

The major difference between the two services is the amount of fluid used during the process. Transmission flushes take 10-to-12 quarts of fluid on average, and the process involves pushing fluid through the transmission to clean the interior components. A flush is often the best choice for older transmissions in which fluid can be stuck in the torque converter and won’t be drained during a replacement service.

What are the Differences Between Automatic, Manual, and CVT Transmission Fluid Replacements?

The major difference between automatic and manual transmission fluid is automatic transmission requires a specific type of fluid that both lubricates the internal components and keeps the transmission from overheating while in operation. Manual transmissions typically don’t require a flush in the same way automatic transmissions do. They rely more on gear oil to help lubricate the gears and connecting parts, shafts, and bearings.

CVT fluid must provide the transmission with more lubrication than standard automatic transmission fluid. That’s because CVTs operate via a pulley system featuring belts, which require continuous lubrication to prevent the belts from slipping. So CVT fluid has a different viscosity level than automatic and manual fluids, and should only be used in CVTs. In addition, it’s recommended you replace your CVT fluid more often than automatic and manual transmission fluid, due to the precise level of friction CVTs require.

Turn to Bob’s Driveline for Fast, Expert Transmission Fluid Replacement

Bob’s Driveline serves drivers throughout Langley, Aldergrove, Surrey and the surrounding communities with high quality transmission fluid replacement services. To speak with our Red Seal technicians about transmission fluid and replacement, call our service department today!

Conveniently located in Aldergrove, Langley

Easy access from Highway 1, Abbotsford, Langley, Mission, and Maple Ridge.

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