Are you experiencing some difficulties in shifting gears lately? You have been very careful in using your gear stick and practices seamless shifting. But even then, your gear shifts are slowly becoming more heavy and unsteady. Perhaps it’s time to check your transmission system, specifically the transmission fluid.
First Things First
If you have been driving carefully and yet this kind of problem crops up, don’t worry. Before going into the bigger thing, why not try to look at the simpler things first?
But checking the transmission fluid is easy. And it is probably the right direction that you have to take because there are lots of things that can happen to the fluid that may adversely affect your transmission system.
The Purpose of Transmission Fluid
The transmission fluid is the lifeline of the car’s transmission system. It allows you to seamlessly shift gears without damaging their teeth. This hydraulic-powered fluid is specifically designed to lubricate and cool down the transmission system’s inner parts. In this way, every time you shift gear, it will be as smooth as silk.
It is also crucial in prolonging the life of the transmission system since it helps to relieve the pressure and temperature of its metal parts.
Types of Services Required
There are only two primary services offered by car maintenance shops – for automatic engines and for manual engines.
One thing that differentiates automatic transmission from manual transmission is that it typically requires more frequent fluid exchange. The reason is that the automatic transmission system produces more friction and therefore more heat than the manual type.
Transmission fluid exchange for manual transmission can be prolonged because it has less moving parts and its design is not as complicated compared to the automatic type.
To be right on the dot, you need to consult the operator’s manual for the proper intervals between every fluid exchange. Incidentally, manual transmissions can use the same transmission fluid used in automatic transmissions. Some car owners are able to use gear oil instead.
The Difference Between Automatic and Manual Transmissions
You will understand why different transmission fluids are used for automatic and manual transmission if you know how they work and how they are differently constructed.
Automatic transmissions transfer the power delivered by the engine to the wheels by using a torque converter. This is a device that uses oil flow to channel power and controls the changing of gears without human intervention.
Manual transmissions, on the other hand, are equipped with gears that are designed to mesh and un-mesh with each other as the driver shift gears manually.
Frequency of Transmission Fluid Exchange
One good thing about transmission fluid is that you don’t need to change it as often as you do the car’s engine oil. Intervals for fluid exchange vary depending on whether it is automatic or manual.
The general recommendation is to change your fluid if its mileage is already between 24,000 and 36,000 miles. This equates to about every two to three years.
But there are some car manufacturers of late model cars which recommend changing the transmission fluid for every 15,000 to 100,000 miles. There are also sealed transmission systems which do not require any fluid exchange at all.
What You Can Get from a Transmission Fluid Exchange
One main benefit you get if you have a fluid exchange is the improvement in your gear shifts. That means you won’t spend much effort in shifting gears since they switch gears smoothly.
A long term benefit is the extended life of your transmission system. An old transmission fluid full of contaminants will cause slipping gears. That will equate to a lot of wear and tear on the metal parts especially if you spend long hours of driving in city traffic.
The difference between depleted fluid and a fresh one could be the same difference as night and day. Your gear shifts will be exact, smooth and effortless.
Is it Good to Change the Transmission Fluid of a High Mileage Car?
Some say it is good, while others say it is not. People who advocate changing the fluid say that servicing will not cost any problem that is already there. But it will be good for the car since it can prevent major damage to the transmission system.
Those who say no believe that the additives will remove the deposits and varnish on the old fluid that keeps the transmission system running. This will expose the problems of the transmission system and may affect the operation of the car.
At any rate, the best thing is for you to have a fluid exchange as often as recommended by the car manufacturer.