Transmission Service In Louisville, KY

ford F-150 interior

Your vehicle’s transmission is one of its most critical components. As with nearly any part of your vehicle, the transmission requires regular care and attention to stay in top condition. Understanding your transmission fluid and the recommended service for it will help you know what to do to keep your vehicle running smoothly now and in the future.

Understanding Your Transmission

The transmission is a critical part of your vehicle that’s responsible for delivering power to the wheels and shifting gears so you can enjoy smooth and reliable motion. There are two main types of transmissions:

  • Manual Transmission: The driver is responsible for operating a manual transmission. When the driver shifts gears, the engine and transmission temporarily disconnect and the shifter moves the car into another gear.
  • Automatic Transmission: With an automatic transmission, the vehicle handles all the work of changing gears. The car’s torque converter senses changes in speed and shifts the car to higher or lower gears as needed for efficient operation.

In either system, transmission fluid circulates around the gears, keeping them cool and well lubricated. This fluid is what you need to pay attention to when you’re thinking about transmission service.

The Role of Transmission Fluid

Over time, the transmission fluid in your vehicle will degrade. Exposed to frequent heat, it can become thick and sticky, leaving a residue on internal parts. The transmission fluid may also accumulate debris from the transmission itself.

Dirty or degraded transmission fluid is less efficient, so it forces your vehicle to work harder on every trip. You should schedule regular transmission service to change some or all of the fluid and keep your vehicle in good working order. You may also need to top off your transmission fluid if the level is low.

How To Check Transmission Fluid

Not all vehicles have a dipstick that allows you to check the transmission fluid yourself. It’s best to have a professional check your transmission fluid with every oil change so you can catch any developing problems early.

If your vehicle does have a dipstick for the transmission fluid, follow these steps to check it:

  1. Look in your owner’s manual for the location of the transmission fluid dipstick and important information on how to properly access it. If your owner’s manual provides information that’s different from the details below, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions first.
  2. Take your vehicle for a short drive. With most vehicles, it’s best to check the transmission fluid at operating temperature.
  3. Park the vehicle on a flat surface for the most accurate reading.
  4. Refer to your owner’s manual to determine whether you should check the fluid with the engine running or off.
  5. Move the gear selector through the gears if recommended by the manufacturer. Place the vehicle in park when you’re finished and put on the parking brake as an added safety measure.
  6. Remove the dipstick for the transmission fluid and wipe it off on a clean rag.
  7. Carefully reinsert the dipstick, staying cautious and mindful of potentially hot components under the hood.
  8. Remove the dipstick again and check the fluid level in comparison to the markings on the dipstick. 
  9. Replace the dipstick securely when you’re finished.

If the transmission fluid is low, you should top it off with the fluid specified by the manufacturer and make an appointment with your mechanic to find and repair the leak in your transmission.

If the transmission fluid has particles in it, is discolored, or smells burnt, speak with your mechanic about having the fluid changed.

Types of Transmission Service

The primary options for transmission maintenance include a fluid exchange and a transmission flush. There are some key differences between the two that you should be aware of.

A fluid exchange is the standard option for transmission service. This is the only service that’s recommended by many manufacturers. During a fluid exchange, your mechanic will remove the transmission drain plug and allow the old fluid to drain out. The mechanic then replaces the drain plug and refills the transmission fluid. A fluid exchange replaces about 40% of the transmission fluid.

A transmission flush forces all of the transmission fluid out of the vehicle using a flushing machine. The flushing machine connects to the transmission’s cooling lines. This gets nearly 100% of the old transmission fluid out of the vehicle and is therefore considered by some to be the superior option.

However, the eddy currents created by the machine carry some risks. They may dislodge debris from inside the transmission and cause damage to the system. Some manufacturers specifically recommend that you avoid a transmission flush, so you should refer to your owner’s manual for more details.

As part of your transmission service your mechanic may also:

  • Clean the transmission pan.
  • Replace the pan’s gasket material.
  • Install a new transmission filter.
  • Inspect the transmission for signs of wear.

When To Schedule Transmission Service

You should schedule routine transmission service to keep your vehicle in the best possible condition. As a general rule, both automatic and manual transmissions require service every 30,000 to 60,000 miles. A continuously variable transmission may go up to 100,000 miles between transmission services.

Several conditions could necessitate more frequent transmission service for your vehicle. You may need to have your transmission serviced more frequently if:

  • You live in a hot climate.
  • You drive in heavy traffic with frequent stops.
  • Your driving habits necessitate frequent gear changes.
  • You pull a trailer.

You should never neglect transmission service, because this may cause your transmission to stop working entirely. A transmission repair or replacement can cost thousands of dollars, making regular service a far more affordable option.

If you’re due for transmission service or you want to have your vehicle inspected to find out what condition your transmission is in, contact our team at Oxmoor Ford. You can schedule service quickly and easily online. We frequently offer auto service specials that make it easier and more affordable to keep your vehicle in good condition. Keeping up with routine maintenance and transmission service now will help you enjoy greater efficiency and a longer life span from your vehicle.