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Automatic Transmission Maintenance

Automatic Transmission Service

The most expensive "part" on your car is the engine. Next is the transmission. Both have a type of lubricating oil which should be changed at recommended intervals to make them last as long as possible without a major repair. The transmission oil – or fluid – does not have to be serviced nearly as often as the engine oil, but it certainly should not go past it's due mileage.

Purpose of the transmission

The purpose of your transmission (and several other attached components) is to properly apply the power of the engine to the drive wheels. There are many moving parts inside it which are lubricated by the transmission fluid. Over time and miles, the fluid gets dirty and loses its ability to lubricate properly and to prevent damaging high temperatures within the transmission.

Fluid inspection

The fluid should be inspected at regular intervals per your owner's manual guidelines. Professional shops typically do this when performing maintenance inspections. The fluid should also be replaced at specific intervals; however, it should be replaced sooner if the fluid appears dirty, has a burned odor or is discolored in some other way. Depending on fluid condition further inspection may be recommended to find the cause of premature fluid deterioration.

Transmission filters

Almost all transmissions have a filter. Depending on the type the filter may be designed to last the life of the transmission or may be the kind that has a recommended service interval. If the filter is easily accessible when the fluid is serviced replacement is usually an inexpensive way to ensure that the new fluid stays clean longer.

Transmission symptoms

While deteriorated fluid and restricted filters can cause a transmission to perform incorrectly most symptoms will not be corrected by fluid or filter service. In most cases some other kind of part will need to be replaced and that often requires removal of the transmission. Regular maintenance will prevent parts from failing prematurely.

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