Your vehicle’s transmission is tasked with converting power from the engine to the output shaft as efficiently as possible. This complex assembly of gears relies on specialized fluid to keep friction at a minimum while keeping the transmission cool enough to operate with little wear and tear. However, transmission fluid doesn’t last forever, and most vehicles require regular transmission fluid flushes — especially manual transmission vehicles where use can be more impactful.

Having the fluid within your transmission housing flushed and replenished with new fluid is one of the best ways to keep your vehicle operating smoothly for as many miles as possible. Because smooth shifting relies on a cooled, lubricated transmission, there is a constant need for clean, well-maintained transmission fluid to do the job. Unfortunately, over time, leaks in the transmission can develop, and debris can collect within the transmission. The symptoms may not seem obvious at first, but as more and more fluid is lost and debris continually builds up, the transmission has a harder and harder time smoothly shifting gears. Finding these leaks and flushing transmissions are part of our comprehensive suite of automotive services provided by the friendly staff at Thompson Automotive here in Englewood.

If you’re ready to have your vehicle’s transmission fluid flushed, or if you’re curious about the recommended interval for your specific vehicle and the demands you place on its engine, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We can answer your questions and schedule an appointment to get your vehicle into the auto shop! We specialize in providing service for Acura, Honda, Lexus, Mitsubishi, Subaru, and Toyota vehicles. If you’re still curious about the importance of routine transmission fluid flushes, feel free to continue reading for additional information.

Full-Service Transmission Fluid Flushes

Depending on the type of transmission in your vehicle — automatic, CVT, or manual — a transmission fluid service may be performed by various methods in order to replace the old fluid with the correctly rated fluid per manufacturer recommendations.

For a manual or CVT transmission a basic drain and fill is all that is required. But for an automatic transmission there are two different methods that may be used. The first option is to drain the old fluid by dropping the oil pan. Next the technician would reseal the oil pan, and then fill the transmission with the correct fluid. The problem with this method is that less than half of the fluid capacity will come out, so you end up mixing old fluid with the new! We believe our customers deserve a far better service, so we perform the second option: a complete transmission flush using BG Automatic Transmission Fluid Flush System.

If you’re not sure about the condition of your transmission fluid, just stop into Thompson Automotive and receive an evaluation of your transmission. We’ll do the work of checking to see what the manufacturer recommends for your specific vehicle make and model, and we’ll match that with the right service or repairs, so you can get back on the road as soon as possible.

Common Fluid Flush Recommendations

Your vehicle’s recommended transmission fluid flush interval will vary depending on the make and model of your car, and whether or not it is an automatic or manual transmission. How you use your vehicle may also have an impact on the transmission and fluid — especially in manual vehicles. Below, we’ve listed general guidelines for manual and automatic transmission vehicles.

Manual Vehicle Fluid Flush Recommendations

Most vehicle manufacturers recommend replacing your transmission fluid every 30,000 miles to 60,000 miles, depending on the make, model and age of the vehicle. For those who drive more aggressively, you should consider bringing your car into the shop for a fluid flush every 15,000 miles or so. Manual vehicles have a shorter recommended service interval, since the gears, bearings, and synchronizers are more liable to incur wear and tear. While the components themselves can last for hundreds of thousands of miles with proper use, these components are more liable to rub against one another, creating debris that ends up in the transmission fluid. This debris is damaging to the transmission as a whole, and it can result in premature wear and tear for your transmission (which could lead to transmission leaks or damaged components). It’s best to heed your manufacturer’s transmission fluid flush recommendations to ensure that excess debris doesn’t gunk up the fluid in your transmission. Check your owner’s manual for the specific service recommendation for your vehicle.

Also, you may be able to perform a transmission fluid check yourself. Certain manufacturers have included transmission dipsticks in their vehicles for that purpose (yet many manufacturers do not have dipstick components for their manual vehicle models!). Transmission fluid color varies, depending on the recommended fluid for the vehicle at hand. That said, all transmission fluids will begin to look “burnt” in color, which is an indication that the fluid is dirty and requires replacing. In addition, you may be able to check the level of your transmission fluid, if your vehicle has a dipstick for this purpose. Be mindful that low fluid levels are likely caused by a leak in your transmission, since transmission fluid doesn’t burn off like other vehicle fluids.

Automatic Vehicle Fluid Flush Recommendations

Automatic vehicles have longer service interval recommendations, since these transmissions are designed to operate with nearly no wear and tear as the vehicle shifts gears. You may have a recommended service interval ranging from 30,000 miles to, well, never! That said, most often automatic vehicles have a recommended interval of 60,000 to 100,000 miles. Again, you should check your owner’s manual for the specific service recommendation for your vehicle.

Automatic transmissions traditionally run hotter than manual transmissions, which means that the fluid is liable to break down. In addition, automatic transmissions still create debris as they run, which will eventually cause unnecessary wear and tear if the transmission fluid isn’t replaced.

Fortunately, unlike manual transmission vehicles, all automatic transmission vehicles have a transmission dipstick, which means that you can check the level and quality of the transmission fluid. Be sure that you locate the correct dipstick under the hood (check your owner’s manual to find the right dipstick — transmission dipsticks are often color-coded). Again, you should make sure that the fluid level is within the recommended min and max lines, and you should make sure that your transmission fluid isn’t discolored — “burnt” looking fluid should be replaced.

The Importance of a Flush Versus a Drain and Fill

While car owners may be tempted to perform a drain and fill for their transmission fluid, we recommend that fluid flushes are performed regularly, in order to better clean the transmission. Draining the transmission often leaves much of the fluid within the system (sometimes around 50 percent of the fluid remains in the system). If you have dirty fluid, you won’t clear out all of that debris. Instead, have a certified technician use the proper equipment to flush the transmission. A full fluid flush will replace more fluid, meaning better protection for your vehicle, better performance, and more miles out of your transmission.

Transmission Repair

Here at Thompson Automotive, we don’t just provide fluid flushes, we provide all of the services you could need for your vehicle. If you’re experiencing a fluid leak, or if your transmission is failing due to years of wear and tear or hard miles on the road, we’d be happy to take a look. If we find that your transmission has more complicated issues that need more advanced work, we’ll let you know and recommend the best course of action. In most cases, we can replace problematic transmissions with a rebuilt unit that can save you a significant amount of money and requires less down time than repairs. Feel free to learn more about our transmission repair services.

Take note, there are many signs that your transmission may be failing. Be wary of discolored transmission fluid (if you can check the fluid on your own), low fluid levels, strange noises (such as whining, humming, and grinding), and poor shifting (including rough shifting, and slipping out of gear).

Don’t Risk Transmission Failure, Schedule an Appointment

Neglected transmissions almost always cause critical failures down the road, and a transmission is far easier to maintain than to replace. To mitigate the risk of your transmission failing, make an appointment with an ASE-certified mechanic at Thompson Automotive. We’ll perform an expert transmission flush along with a complimentary evaluation to determine if any other servicing or repairs are needed. As always, every job we perform is backed with a 3-year/36,000-mile warranty. Again, we specialize in servicing Acura, Honda, Lexus, Mitsubishi, Subaru, and Toyota models.

Getting the most out of your transmission requires high-quality routine maintenance performed by experts in the automotive service industry. Your local resource for professional automotive service is Thompson Automotive here in Englewood — we’re standing by to deliver great customer service and reliable maintenance for your car, truck, van, or SUV. Reach out to us today and inquire about a transmission fluid flush, and be sure to ask about our “not just an oil change” oil change!