Does your vehicle have an automatic transmission? There’s no denying the fact that automatic transmissions are easier to use than their manual counterparts. You won’t have to move the gearshift to change gears, nor will you have to operate a clutch pedal. The downside, however, is that automatic transmissions often have a shorter lifespan. By utilizing the following tips, you can make your vehicle’s automatic transmission last longer.
Stop Completely Before Changing to Drive or Reverse
Before changing from drive to reverse or vise versa, wait for your vehicle to come to a complete stop. Changing gears while your vehicle is still in motion adds unnecessary stress the automatic transmission’s internal components. It may not cause your transmission to go out, but it will shorten its lifespan nonetheless. Always come to a complete stop before changing from drive to reverse or vise versa.
Check Fluid Levels Once a Week
Fluid is the lifeblood of your vehicle’s automatic transmission. Transmissions consist of a complex an array of many small gears. When the ignition is turned on, fluid will pump through these gears to provide lubrication. If your automatic transmission runs low on fluid, the gears within it will grind against each other, resulting in premature wear and tear.
You can check the transmission’s fluid levels by pulling the dipstick. Like engine oil, transmission oil has a dipstick that shows its current fluid level respective to how much it should have. To make your automatic transmission last longer, try to get into the habit of checking the fluid levels at once a week. If it’s just a little low, you can top it off. Keep in mind, though, that your vehicle shouldn’t lose any substantial amount of transmission fluid. If you notice the fluid levels dropping, there’s probably an underlying problem like a worn seal.
Change the Fluid
Even if your automatic transmission’s fluid levels look good, you should still change it on a regular basis. Transmission fluid contains chemicals that protect against corrosion and provide lubrication properties. Over time, these chemicals will degrade. The dipstick may show that your automatic transmission has an appropriate fluid, but if you haven’t changed it in a long time, it may fail to provide lubrication and corrosion protection.
How often should you change the fluid in your automatic transmission? You’ll need to refer to your owner’s manual for specific instructions from the automaker. Some automakers recommend changing the transmission fluid once every 30,000 miles, whereas others recommend changing it once every 60,000 miles.