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The Proper Care and Maintenance of Your Transmission

Automatic Transmissions are perhaps the most complicated components in today’s automobile, not to mention also being one of the most expensive as well. The modern automatic transmission contains hydraulic, mechanical, electrical, and computer control systems, all working together in harmony under normal conditions. Like any complex machine, proper care and maintenance of your transmission is critical to its long service life. Proper care and maintenance is also critical to your safety, as some types of transmission problems could cause the vehicle to stall, roll while in Park, or jump gears unexpectedly. The best source of information about your particular vehicle is the Owner’s Manual provided by the manufacturer. In it, you will find out how to operate the transmission, how to check its fluid level, what type of fluid to use, and recommended service intervals. Here are some general tips in taking care of your transmission. 

1.  Periodically check the transmission fluid level (every 6,000 miles/6 months if not otherwise specified in the Owner’s Manual, more often under extreme usage). Most automatic transmissions have a dipstick that is marked with the proper fluid level. If the fluid level is low, check underneath for leaks, locate the source of the leakage and make repairs.Fluid levels should be checked while the vehicle is on a level surface and after the engine has been running for at least 15 minutes.


2.  Change the fluid and filter as often as recommended in the owner’s manual, or when the fluid appears dirty (brownish in color). Typical recommended intervals are every 30,000 to 60,000 miles, even more frequently for heavy duty use. The quickie fluid changes promoted by some of the fast oil change businesses leaves behind 30-40 percent of the old fluid, as well as any solids collected on the pan.


3.  Ensure that the correct type of transmission fluid as specified in the Owner’s Manual is used. Using an incorrect fluid can quickly cause major damage. Don’t assume that all Ford vehicles use Type F, check the Owner’s Manual.


4.  Never shift to Park or Reverse unless the vehicle is at a complete stop.


5.  Do not drive on hard pavement while in 4 wheel drive (unless a full time 4wd or AWD vehicle).


The vast majority of transmission problems are the the result of overheating. This can occur as a result of hauling a heavy load, towing a heavy trailer, spinning tires in the mud or snow, stop and go traffic, etc. As fluid temperatures increase, the fluid loses its lubricating properties, resulting in mechanical wear and the leaving of deposits to further cause wear of internal components. Further, high temperatures affect the sealing abiltiies of rubber seals and gaskets, eventually allowing them to leak fluid. Transmission coolers can be integral with the vehicles radiator or may be a separate cooler. In many cases a larger aftermarket cooler can be installed in regular hauling of heavy loads or trailers is anticipated. As always, follow the Owner’s Manual recommendations. 


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Here's What Our Customers are Saying!

"We were driving down I-5 near the Grapevine on our way to catch a cruise ship when our Acura's transmission blew. We had the car  towed to an L.A. area shop, where we were quoted almost $4,000 to repair it. We called Transmissions Express and they were able to ship a transmission to another area shop the next day, and our car was ready for pickup a few days later, saving thousands! Thanks Again!

James N.

Jackson, CA"