Tag Archives: Transmission Fluid

Transmission Additives- Do They Work?

When it comes to transmission additives, why are the shelves at most auto suppliers loaded with “miracle” fluids that will allegedly make up for a prior lack of maintenance? Can these additives actually fix a transmission?

Let`s be frank. There are no “miracle” fluids that can substitute for preventative maintenance, this is just common sense. The only way to repair a transmission problem is to properly diagnose it by road testing, scanning the computer, and removing the pan for inspection.

Fluid additives do offer limited benefits for vehicles being used for certain tasks or in certain climates or weather conditions. Here we’ll cover the basics of ATF importance, why most vehicles don’t require these additives and the instances when ATF additives can help.

First of all, a refresher on why we need ATF in the first place. ATF is essential to the smooth running of a vehicle’s transmission. ATF has lubricants, protectants and detergents that protect the transmission and keeps it in good working order.

Generally, most vehicles are simply used to take people to work, school or shopping so don’t need ATF additives. For these everyday activities the manufacturer recommended automatic transmission fluid alone should be enough to protect the transmission in most situations they will encounter. As long as the owner of the vehicle takes the time to makes sure there is enough transmission fluid in it and they change the transmission fluid when it is dirty there should be no need for an automatic transmission fluid additive.

There is no fluid that will:

  • unclog plugged filters
  • free-up stuck valves/solenoids
  • reduce internal corrosion
  • improve shift feel/firmness
  • prolong the life of your transmission
  • replace the friction material on your transmission’s clutch plates
  • put the teeth back on the stripped gears

Keep in mind that most vehicle manufacturers have warnings in their owner’s manuals stating: “Do not use supplemental oil additives, cleaners or other treatments. They are unnecessary and could lead to damage that is not covered by warranty.” Or: “Using supplemental additives is generally unnecessary and can even be harmful. One should never use an additive to attempt to fix a mechanical problem.”

Who could benefit from using additives?

A small majority of vehicle owners could potentially benefit from using these additives. Mainly, vehicles with high mileage which are constantly being used to tow heavy loads in adverse weather conditions. Heat and wear are the enemies of a transmission. Vehicles which are involved in racing or towing heavy loads are hard on transmissions. They often generate excessive heat. While transmissions have built-in systems to mitigate some of this heat and strain these activities cause, the transmissions in vehicles which are under a great deal of stress can often benefit from using automatic transmission fluid additives.

For the owners of these vehicles the minor cost of additives makes using them a no brainer. Hence, there seem to be instances when ATF additives can help yet even in those situations, however, it is essential to get the right ATF additive.

So, the next time someone tells you they have a miraculous transmission additive for sale you’ll know better.

If you’re experiencing any sort of transmission problem, please contact your local Mister Transmission and book an appointment for our FREE 21-Point Multi-Check Inspection.

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How Do I Check My Transmission Fluid Level?

If your vehicle is experiencing any issues, such as hesitating when it shifts gears or if it makes noises while shifting, you don’t necessarily have to get a new transmission. It could be as straightforward as just checking your ATF, or Automatic Transmission Fluid.

Your transmission depends entirely on this distinctive fluid, hence a low fluid level can have a disastrous effect on transmission operation. We recommend you check the level at least once a month. This will enable you to catch a slow fluid leak you may not know you had potentially saving a lot of money in damaged transmission parts. Your car’s owners manual should provide a detailed description on how check your transmission fluid level. If you don’t have an owner’s manual, here’s the basic procedure that will work on just about any car that has a transmission dipstick.

WARNING: Checking the transmission fluid level requires working under the hood of your car with the engine running. This can be very dangerous if you aren’t careful. Watch out for moving components, such as fans, fan belts, pulleys, etc. If you aren’t comfortable with this procedure, always take your car to your local service station to have the transmission fluid checked.

  1. Make sure your car is on level ground.
  2. Start the engine (and don’t turn it off until finished!)
  3. Bring the engine and transmission to normal operating temperature.
  4. Hold your foot on the brake, and work the shifter slowly through the gears.
  5. Put the shifter all the way back into park.
  6. Set the parking brake.
  7. Carefully open the hood.
  8. Find the transmission dipstick.*
  9. Remove the dipstick, and wipe it off with a clean rag or paper towel.
  10. Slide the dipstick all the way back down into the transmission fill tube.
  11. Pull the dipstick back out, and check the fluid level against the markings on the end of the dipstick. (It should be pinkish & almost clear but if it smells burnt or has particles in it, have a mechanic drain and change it).
  12. If the transmission fluid is clear but doesn’t reach the “Full” line on the dipstick, use a funnel to pour just enough transmission fluid down the dipstick tube to reach the line. Don’t overfill!

REMEMBER: Always use the fluid recommended by the manufacturer (see ‘Choosing the Right Transmission Fluid’). Also, if the transmission requires more than a quart, or is using fluid regularly, take your car in to have it checked for leaks.

If you’re ever unsure of the procedure or where to find the transmission dipstick, check with your local Mister Transmission shop. They’ll be happy to show you where the dipstick is, and how to check the fluid level.

LASTLY: Unfortunately, in recent years, many manufacturers have started to eliminate the transmission fluid dipstick. Referred to as sealed units, these transmissions require a much more involved process to check fluid levels than in days gone by. The process often involves electronic testing devices, such as a computer scan tool. This puts checking the transmission fluid level beyond the capabilities of the average car owner. So if your car doesn’t have a dipstick, you should have your local transmission shop or dealership check the transmission fluid level at least a couple times a year, even if you don’t notice a problem with transmission operation.

A FOOTNOTE: It’s also worth mentioning that a faulty transmission and one that’s just low on fluid share many of the same symptoms. But obviously, adding transmission fluid is a lot cheaper than replacing the whole transmission system! Either way, we’re always here to help in any way we can.

 

*Rear wheel drive vehicles — the dipstick will usually be on the passenger’s side of the engine compartment, near the back of the engine.

Front wheel drive vehicles — the dipstick will usually be on the driver’s side of the vehicle, on either side of the transmission.

Visit your nearest Mister Transmission location today!

10827km away
 
  • 15903 Stony Plain Rd. NW
  • Edmonton, AB
  • T5P 3Z7
  • 587-786-6465

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Is Reddish Fluid Leaking from under Your Vehicle?

If your car is “bleeding” red fluid, you need to get to visit a transmission repair shop pronto

Is a reddish-coloured fluid pooling beneath your vehicle where you parked it? Reddish fluid leaking from your car is a telltale sign your transmission has sprung a leak. There’s precious little time to waste: Before you suffer an expensive, full-on transmission failure, your vehicle needs to be serviced.

Automatic transmission systems have many seals and gaskets that are designed to control the flow of the hydraulic fluid. The front and rear seals are the two main seals that keep your transmission system from leaking. Any standing fluid on the ground where your car was parked indicates your transmission has a worn-out seal or gasket.

Knowledge Can Prevent a Breakdown

Understanding how automatic transmissions work can provide you with insight into most complex and intricate system in your car can help to save you time, hassle, and money. Unfamiliar sounds when shifting gears is also an indicator something’s amiss. Every driver should be aware of the warning signs of a faulty transmission.

Without transmission fluid, your car cannot function. A low transmission fluid level or old, dirty transmission fluid can also cause significant problems with gear slippage to major damage on the entire system. If the transmission fluid drops below a particular level, the lubrication is less effective, and the pressure within the transmission decreases. That can inflict real damage to other parts of your transmission.

Be Careful Using Stopgap Measures

If your transmission fluid is low and you choose to top it up before driving to one of our locations, be sure to consult your owner’s manual to learn which type of transmission fluid you should add to your car. Adding the wrong type of fluid can cause your transmission to fail on-the-spot.

If you suspect your vehicle’s automatic transmission isn’t performing property, or if you have questions about preventative transmission maintenance, talk to us. Take advantage of our free 21-point multi-check inspection and avoid the cost and aggravation associated with a failing transmission.

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Why the Ford F150 no Longer has a Transmission Dipstick

Several new vehicles, including the Ford F150, no longer have a transmission dipstick. Read why this is becoming a popular trend and how you can check your transmission fluid when there is no dipstick.

Time and time again, we’ve recommended that customers keep an eye on the level and the condition of their transmission fluid (see: How Do I Check My Transmission Fluid Level?, Transmission Fluid Diagnosis and Changing Transmission Fluids).

We recommend this for several reasons. Mainly, because the more informed you are regarding the warning signs of a transmission problem, the less likely you are going to require a major transmission repair. Checking the fluid will tell you if the fluid is low and the condition of the fluid. Having this knowledge could potentially save you thousands of dollars down the road, not to mention the unwanted hassle.

The issue is, a recently emerging new trend whereby transmission fluid dipsticks have begun disappearing in newer vehicles. One such vehicle is the Ford F150, Canada’s best selling truck.

 

 

 

 

Is the absence of the dipstick just a fad or does it have merit?

There is a lot of controversy surrounding this new dipstick-free trend. Why? Because now there is no way for the consumer to check the condition or the level of the automatic transmission fluid. There is also no way for the consumer to add fluid if it is low. The days of periodically checking your transmission fluid level by pulling a metal dipstick from a tube alongside your engine are rapidly coming to a close.

The industry argument

According to the industry experts, the reason for eliminating the transmission dipstick is that although most consumers may believe they should check their transmission dipstick and fluid level, experts claim that it is actually better for vehicle transmissions to only be serviced by professionals. For example, adding improper fluid to the transmission is actually detrimental to its life, which is why manufacturers decided that getting rid of the dipstick was one way to prevent premature, owner-induced transmission failure in new vehicles.

How to check your transmission fluid when there’s no dipstick

If you have a newer car or truck model that has no transmission dipstick, this is actually evidence that the vehicle’s manufacturer expects the original transmission fluid to last the life of the vehicle.

How do you check?

The location of the transmission fluid check point varies greatly from one car model to the next, so it can be easy to miss if you’re not fully familiar with the vehicle in question. Typically, the handle of this dipstick would be either ring-shaped or T-shaped, and it may have the word “trans” or “transmission” printed on it.

You should consult the owner’s manual for the vehicle to determine whether or not your model has a dipstick less transmission.

If you discover that your vehicle has a dipstick less transmission, and yet you’ve identified that your vehicle is experiencing transmission problems, you’ll need to take it to a specialist with a hydraulic car lift or an underground oil change bay. The transmission fluid check point on a sealed transmission is only accessible from underneath the vehicle. In addition, the vehicle must be level to ensure an accurate reading. Therefore, you cannot lift one side of the car using a standard garage jack; you need to take the vehicle to a specialist with the proper service equipment.

For vehicles with these types of transmissions, you as the consumer are limited in your options to self-diagnose the problem. Because transmissions are such complex systems, our recommendation is to bring your vehicle in to Mister Transmission, where our technicians have the training and the equipment to properly assess the problem.

If you own a vehicle without a transmission dipstick and you are experiencing transmission-related issues, please come see us. We can help you identify the problem and figure out a game plan to get you back on the road.

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Choosing the Right Transmission Fluid

Choosing the right transmission fluid is one of the most important things a driver can do to keep their vehicle safe – and avoid unwanted car repair costs!

How to choose the right transmission fluid

The best place to start is by consulting the owner’s manual. It will note whether the car requires Dextron or Mercon transmission fluid. It’s very important to follow the owner’s manual. For example, some imports won’t accept Mercon, and instead require brand-specific fluid.

Synthetic or conventional transmission fluid?

Car owners also need to choose between synthetic or conventional transmission fluid. Synthetic fluid is more costly, but provides better performance and is more durable at higher temperatures. However, on some older models of cars, it’s actually better to stick with conventional fluid – especially if synthetic has never been introduced. Making the switch can actually do more harm than good, and lead to unwanted transmission repair issues.

Choosing the right brand of transmission fluid

Once the right type (Dextron or Mercon) and quality (synthetic or conventional) of transmission fluid is chosen, the next step is to find the right brand. There are a number of popular and well-regarded manufacturers, including Mobil, Shell, Penzoil, and more.

At Mister Transmission, our mechanics have in-depth knowledge and training, and provide our customers with sound advice on which transmission fluid brand gives them the best performance within their budget, and therefore helps them avoid unwanted car repair issues (including the need to rebuild a transmission) down the road!

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