When it comes to regular car maintenance, your transmission may not immediately come to mind. However, your maintenance schedule should include replacing your transmission fluid and your owner’s manual will tell you the correct timing. What exactly is a transmission fluid flush? And what are the signs you may need one? We’ll go over what you need to know.
What is a Transmission Flush?
Over time, your transmission fluid becomes contaminated from circulating through your car’s transmission, lubricating the metal parts so they can do their job with ease. It picks up dirt and metal debris and eventually will become dirty enough that it needs to be replaced. At this point, you have a couple options: have your transmission fluid replaced or do a full transmission fluid flush.
When you have a transmission fluid flush done, your transmission fluid will not just be drained, but will be flushed out with some force, helping to eliminate more of the lingering contaminants in your transmission. Once all of the old fluid has been flushed out, it will be replaced with fresh transmission fluid.
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Key Signs You May Need a Transmission Flush
While you’ll get an idea of how often to replace your transmission fluid from your owner’s manual, it’s possible you may need a transmission fluid flush sooner. Depending on your driving habits, your transmission fluid can become contaminated quicker. It’s a good idea to keep in mind these few key signs that you may need transmission maintenance, including a transmission fluid flush.
You Hear Grinding or Strange Noises
Whenever you hear grinding or any other strange sounds while driving, pay attention to the timing. If you notice the sounds while your car is in motion or while you’re accelerating, it’s possible you need your transmission checked. If you have a leak in your transmission, you may not have adequate transmission fluid to lubricate the moving parts inside your transmission, which can cause a grinding sound as the metal parts move against one another. If this is the case, you could have a major transmission repair in your future if you don’t get new transmission fluid put in your car.
You Have Trouble Shifting Gears
Both automatic and manual transmissions rely on clean transmission fluid to operate properly. Because your transmission is key to being able to change gears – and do so without any issue – you’ll likely notice difficulty changing gears if your transmission fluid is too old and contaminated. This can be gears either changing too quickly or being delayed. Any issues with changing gears signal your transmission needs attention – and maybe a transmission fluid flush.
You Notice Your Gears Slipping
Similarly, having dirty or not enough transmission fluid can mean your transmission will lack adequate hydraulic power. Staying in the appropriate gear requires adequate pressure. That means if your transmission fluid needs to be replaced or flushed, you’ll notice your car slipping out of gear. The more often this happens, the worse your transmission fluid likely is and the more you risk needing a more serious transmission repair.
Your Car Sometimes Surges
As your transmission fluid becomes dirtier and more contaminated, it will thicken and not be able to flow as well through your transmission. While this is normal over time, it can also cause surges when accelerating if it’s time for a transmission fluid flush. When you start noticing surges while driving your car, it’s a good idea to have a mechanic take a look and, most likely, perform a transmission fluid flush to make sure all of the contaminants are eliminated from your transmission.
You Sometimes Notice a Delay in Movement
Finally, you may begin noticing a delay in acceleration after shifting to a new gear. If you notice your car stalling for a couple seconds before the new gear finally takes and you start accelerating again, there could be too much debris and contamination in your transmission, causing problems with it operating the way it should.
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