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Is It Time to Flush Your Transmission Fluid?

The transmission is one of the most important components of the vehicle. Without a healthy transmission, there are a number of issues that can be created. The more miles you’ve put on your car means that you should be giving more attention to your car, as well.

Transmission fluid plays an important role. It helps keep the moving parts of the car properly lubricated and cool. Transmission fluid can eventually lose its ability to properly lubricate because it is constantly being pumped, pressurized, moved, and squeezed through small passages. Sometimes, the fluid can even pick up tiny particles, which can build up in the fluid and cause excessive wear on various components. Even bad driving habits can speed up its deterioration.

Many of us forget about the maintenance when it comes to transmission fluid. Transmission fluid doesn’t need to be changed as often as the oil, so no wonder it tends to slip people’s minds. How do you know if it’s time to flush your transmission fluid?

There are many signs that can help you know.


There is a lot of debate on when you should flush your fluid. The make, model, and transmission can play a big role in determining the right time for a flush. The manufacturer's maintenance schedule for many automatic transmissions doesn't call for fresh fluid until 100,000 miles. Some Ford transmissions can even go 150,000 miles before needing fresh fluid. However, there are a lot of mechanics who say you should be changing out the fluid every 50,000 miles.

Remember, automatic and manual transmissions are totally different. A good rule of thumb is to check your owner’s manual to make sure you are following the proper timeline suggested.

Grinding or Weird Noises

Does your transmission make weird noises while you’re driving? If a transmission is contaminated with dirt, grease, and sludge, it can give off similar symptoms as a car with low transmission fluid levels. The easiest way to check if it is due to the transmission fluid is to pull over, put the car in park, and check the fluid level while the engine is still running. The transmission fluid should be a bright red color. If it looks dark, it is dirty and should be replaced. If your level is good, you probably just need to flush the fluid.

Gear Shifting Issues

You don’t need to drive a manual transmission for your car to experience problems with the gear shift. Regardless of what type of car you drive, every car needs clean transmission fluid to run well. If the fluid is contaminated, it can make the car have a slow response. This means your gears can either shift too fast or too slow. If you drive standard, it might be extremely difficult to even switch gears.

Slipping Gears

As long as the transmission has enough pressure, it should be able to stay in the appropriate gear. A dirty transmission can cause poor hydraulic power by mixing the contaminants with the transmission fluid. However, slipping gears can also be due to low transmission fluid levels.

Vehicle Surging

Surging of your vehicle can be caused by – you guessed it – contaminants throughout the transmission! Dirty transmission interferes with the transmission fluid’s flow and can cause your vehicle to jump forward or backward randomly. This is due to inconsistent flow of clean transmission fluid, which is required to ensure the gears and other moving parts inside the transmission bell housing are smoothly operating.

Delay in Movement

Another sign of contamination is when the vehicle slightly stalls before moving after it has been put in gear. If the transmission seems to be working fine, you might just need a transmission flush.

Transmission SA

Fresh fluid is not always the answer to these problems. Cars are very complex – especially transmissions. In fact, flushing out the transmission fluid is difficult and can take a lot of time. It also requires the use of a wrench and a nozzle. The vehicle will need to be supported, and the dirty fluid will need to be drained and properly thrown away. You will also need to inspect the fluid filter and gaskets.

Before you begin to work on your own transmission, you should call a transmission repair professional to take a look at your vehicle. A professional will be able to check various areas of the car and run different tests to determine the cause of the problem.

If you live in San Antonio, visit the professional mechanics at Transmission SA. We are a discount transmission repair shop that puts the customers first. Call 210-239-1600 for more information or visit our website for the latest offers.