“When do I need to change my transmission fluid?” It’s one of the most common questions that we get asked here at Mister Transmission. It’s a good question to ask. Your transmission fluid is vitally important to the wellbeing and efficacy of your transmission. But the answer to that question is nuanced; there’s not one simple answer. However, this article will attempt, in the broadest terms possible, to describe the times and situations when you should change your transmission fluid.
Your transmission fluid is important for two reasons. First, your transmission won’t work without it, so that makes it pretty important. Depleted or degraded transmission fluid can damage your transmission and reduce its efficiency. But beyond that, your transmission fluid is key to demonstrating if you have a transmission problem. For example, if you have degraded transmission fluid then there is probably something wrong within your transmission to have caused this.
That is why checking your transmission fluid is key to maintaining your transmission. You should check your transmission fluid every month. Use your dipstick to check your transmission fluid levels. If it is low, top it up. If you find that you’re topping up your fluid every single month, you probably have a leak somewhere. Good transmission fluid is reddish-clear and has a neutral odour. Foul smelling and/or opaque fluid is a sign of a problem. If you see such fluid during your transmission check, you should bring your vehicle in to have your transmission fluid changed and to have your transmission checked for problems.
Sometimes there are issues with your transmission that you can’t tell by yourself. This is why bringing your vehicle in for regular transmission service is important. At Mister Transmission we provide a Multi-Check Inspection, an exhaustive inspection of your transmission. The last step of the Multi-Check Inspection will determine the condition of your transmission.
Some transmission manufacturers boast that the fluid in their transmissions need never be changed because it is a completely closed system. These claims don’t stand if there is something wrong with your transmission, though. Even so, sometimes transmission technicians will recommend changing the fluid in such transmissions anyway, just to be safe. Most auto manufacturers recommend changing your transmission fluid every 45,000 to 90,000 kilometres. That’s a big range. At Mister Transmission, we recommend erring on the smaller side of that range. If you regularly drive in harsh conditions or drive a truck that tows material, you will probably want to change your transmission fluid even more frequently than that,
Ultimately, every vehicle, transmission, and drivers are different. There is no universal rule that pertains to all vehicles, so ask your transmission technicians what they think. If you notice that your transmission fluid is damaged, have it changed and have your transmission inspected. If you’ve gone 45,000 kilometres without incident, you might as well have it changed just to be safe.
If you have more questions about transmission fluid, please contact us.