Like the human body, cars need fluids for their parts to last. Without liquids, most metal components would create too much friction when working together. Also, nothing would regulate the temperature around the vehicle, which is a huge safety hazard. A major type of fluid is found in the transmission system. Moving the car literally requires a lot of work in the gearbox, using hundreds of components in just one system. Of course, this also puts a strain on the liquid. To learn more about the system, its special fluid, and the maintenance it requires, stay with us as we gradually unveil the answers to how often you should change the transmission fluid.
The transmission system
In order to move your vehicle, you really need to activate the gearbox to change the gear of the engine. In this way, the engine provides power to your wheels. Since there are many components in the transmission system, let’s focus on the main parts of the automatic type:
This component serves as a clutch allow the car to stop with the gear engaged, even if the engine is still running.
Governor & Modulator/Throttle Cable
To emphasize the essence of an automatic transmission, the controller and modulator monitor your vehicle’s throttle position and speed to signal when to shift.
planetary gear sets
These are the mechanical systems that give different forward and reverse gear ratios.
Gaskets & Gaskets
Leaks can totally damage a vehicle. Thanks to gaskets and seals, they ensure that the oil remains in its container. However, at some point you really need to replace the oil for maintenance purposes.
Well, this is where the gear oil works its wonders. The hydraulic system uses the fluid to control the bands, clutches, and planetary gear sets.
This component controls the shift points of newer automobiles. It also guides electric solenoids to shift oil flow to the right component while maintaining proper timing.
The Transmission Fluid
Now that we understand the role of the gearbox in a vehicle, let’s move on to the types of gearbox oils, as well as their functions:
That the most common types of gear oils, especially for automatic transmissions, are Dexron and Mercon. They are available in different quality levels. They feature friction modifiers to successfully protect the internal surfaces of the gearbox. However, Highly Friction Modified or HFM fluids actually have more effective friction modifiers.
At the same time, synthetic fluids are more expensive than Dexron and Mercon, as they are better able to withstand extreme temperature changes. They can also significantly reduce shear, oxidation, and friction.
The last common type of transmission fluid best suited for an automatic transmission is Type-F. However, it is more effective for vintage model cars. It contains no friction modifiers.
When it comes to manual transmissions, hypoid gear oil and engine oil are the ideal options. Hypoid gear oil is very resistant to extreme temperatures and pressures. Finally, although engine oil is commonly used for the engine, it can be an effective lubricant for manual transmissions. Motor oil is very similar to gear oil in terms of properties and composition.
Transmission Fluid focuses on the lubrication of transmission components. However, it does have bonus features, which is only a good thing. It can increase the temperature range and rotation speed. In addition, it can reduce high temperatures to improve cooling. Finally, it can maintain seals and clean metal surfaces to extend their life.
How often does the transmission oil need to be changed
It’s almost impossible to know the exact answer to how often you should change the transmission oil. The frequency of this type of maintenance also depends on the manufacturer of your vehicle.
Many automatic transmissions follow the 100,000 to 150,000 mile interval when it comes to changing the oil. However, many experts claim that it should be more common. More specifically, 50,000 miles is the recommended interval.
We haven’t gotten to manual transmissions yet. Experts suggest changing manual transmission fluid even more frequently than 50,000 miles. Some specific claims recommend 30,000 miles. One reason relates to the requirement for manual transmissions to use conventional gear oil.
It is imperative that you observe the mileage intervals mentioned, because changing the transmission oil is no joke. This type of auto fluid really degrades. Factors that speed up its aging process are towing, carrying heavy loads and braking too frequently in traffic jams. These conditions increase the temperature of the transmission. The point is, intense heat stresses the liquid.
Symptoms of deteriorating transmission fluid
Just because you hit a certain mileage doesn’t mean you need to change the transmission oil right away. First conduct a careful inspection. If you notice any of the following symptoms during an inspection, you should consider replacing your transmission fluid:
Transmission fluids available on the market have different color options. Some choices include blue, yellow, and green. However, the most common color is pink. Not only that, it should be light and translucent.
Because of the typical brightness of gear oils, it’s so easy to tell if it’s already deteriorating. If the liquid is brown, you must replace it immediately. In fact, it can get even worse. transmission fluid can turn black. The main reason for the darker color is pollution. After a long time of supporting the transmission, the liquid gradually catches a lot of debris and particles.
Healthy gear oils have a mild, sweet fragrance. This fact actually makes it easier for you to smell the need for replacement. Deteriorating transmission fluids smell like something is on fire.
Although some people would tell you that replacing transmission fluid is not as important as other maintenance operations, always check the system based on your owner’s manual and the mileage intervals previously given. Changing your transmission oil can be as frequent as 30,000 miles or as infrequent as 150,000 miles. There is no single answer for all vehicle models.
To learn more about the frequency of servicing other vehicle components, learn how often you should have a service and wheel alignment done. Also learn how to perform brake maintenance.