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When to change my fluid

Knowing When to Change Your Transmission Fluid

As a motor vehicle owner, you know how important it is to keep your transmission in top condition to continue driving your car to and from the places you need to go. Just as you would have your car checked if the ‘Check Engine Light’ were to come on, it is important to keep your eyes on the transmission to keep it running smoothly. An important factor to a smooth-running transmission includes checking the fluid as well as knowing when it is time to change the fluid to keep things geared up for smooth travel. As with any chemical compound, transmission fluid has a lifespan and over time, if it isn’t changed out for fresh fluid, your transmission can start to act up by slipping gears, emitting a burning smell or even locking up altogether.

Many a driver has had to contact an auto transport company to haul their broken-down car to or from one city or state to another because the transmission had gone out on them. Before it gets to this point, how can you know when it’s time to change your transmission fluid and ensure your vehicle continues to roll down the road safely? Here’s a few key points to keep in mind to let you know when to change your transmission fluid to keep your gears moving smooth and your car traveling where you need it to go.

Check the Fluid

It’s very important to check your fluid at regular intervals to make sure it is full and looks good. Every six months is recommended, but you may want to consider checking it when you fill your tank up just to make sure it doesn’t smell burned or look thick or dark.


Check the Color

While you cannot always tell if the transmission fluid is good or bad just by looking at the color of the fluid, it is a good place to start. The darker the color, the more chance you have that the fluid needs to be changed. If you are unsure, it is advised to seek the services of a licensed mechanic to check the fluid for you.


Tough to Shift

If you have an automatic transmission and the shifter seems to be stiff when going from Park to Drive or you have a manual transmission and it seems tough to switch between gears, get the transmission checked quickly.


Slipping Gears

When your transmission fluid gets low or you have dirt and grime built up inside, it can cause the gears to slip. If you notice the gears popping out of gear when you shift from one to another, it may mean it’s past time for a transmission fluid change.


Strange Noises

If you hear a grinding noise when you change gears, or your transmission makes odd or grinding noises during a drive, you need to take the car to a mechanic, preferably a transmission specialist, to have the transmission checked.


Whether you have issues with any of the things listed or not, it is important to have your transmission checked by a professional for preventive measures at least once every six months. While changing the fluid may solve any issues you are experiencing, keep in mind that it will not always remedy every problem and there is always a chance that you will need to have more intensive transmission work done. The best way to avoid a major transmission repair is to make sure you have regular vehicle maintenance and be sure to keep an eye on things between maintenance visits to ensure everything continues running smoothly.