Transmission fluid changes are required for all cars, regardless of whether you drive a car with a manual or automatic transmission. Car makers usually recommend the time interval or mileage after which old transmission fluid should be removed and replaced with fresh fluid, but you may require a transmission fluid change sooner than the manufacturer-recommended schedule.
If you own an automatic car, here are a few common warning signs indicating it may be time for you to change your transmission fluid.
Difficulty shifting gears
Serving as a hydraulic fluid, automatic transmission fluid is what facilitates smooth shifting of gears while you are on the road. If you start experiencing problems, such as delays in acceleration when you shift gears, it is possible that your transmission fluid is overly worn and needs to be replaced.
Transmission running too hot
Aside from serving as a hydraulic fluid, transmission fluid also helps cool the transmission and lube moving components. This helps prevent frictional heat that may be produced when moving parts rub against each other.
If you notice that your transmission system is running too hot, it is likely that the transmission fluid is defective and no longer effective at its job, and therefore requires replacement.
While your transmission system is in good working shape, it operates almost noiselessly. Squealing or grinding noises while shifting gears may be a sign that moving parts rub against each other because of insufficient lubrication. Fresh transmission fluid can help remedy the problem.
Burnt transmission fluid odour
If your transmission has acquired a burnt smell, it will need to be replaced immediately. However, burnt transmission fluid is usually a sign of existing transmission problems, so it is important to ask a qualified mechanic to check and repair your transmission before you can add new fluid to it.
Sludgy transmission fluid
If your transmission fluid is laden with dirt and other debris, it will easily clog up your transmission filter, and this will hurt the performance of your transmission system. A transmission fluid change will help get your transmission running efficiently again.
If you notice one or more of these symptoms, take your car to a qualified mechanic for transmission inspection and repair service. Most mechanic shops have transmission flushing machines that can remove almost all of the old fluid from your transmission while replacing it with fresh fluid without creating the mess associated with a pan-drop transmission flush.