At our dealership, we are pleased to serve customers in the Lewistown, State College, and Bellefonte, PA, area. Our services entail all aspects of car repair and detailing, but sometimes our customers prefer handling basic car maintenance themselves. That’s great; we love it when drivers take the initiative, and we are happy to answer their maintenance questions.
One common question is about how to change transmission fluid. Transmission fluid is a vital component of your vehicle, as it keeps the car running smoothly during your road trips. If you’re a new driver, our quick primer will help to demystify this fluid’s purpose and the process for changing it.
Why Is Transmission Fluid Important?
Let’s start with what transmission fluid actually is. As the name implies, transmission fluid lubricates your transmission—from gaskets to the transmission’s various metal surfaces. The fluid keeps the transmission clean, preventing filth buildup, disturbing noises, and maintenance-related breakdowns. If your car uses automatic shifting, you’ll need automatic transmission fluid. If your car is a manual, ask your dealer or mechanic what kind you need. Manuals can respond to automatic fluid, motor oil, or heavy hypoid gear oil.
Transmission fluid keeps the assorted parts of your transmission lubricated and helps regulate your engine’s temperature. An overheated or cold engine may be a sign it’s time for a transmission flush. If you aren’t sure, look for other symptoms such as erratic gear changes and delayed engine engagement. Depending on your car and driving lifestyle, you may not need to change the fluid often. Some drivers can go about 30,000 miles between changes, but if you drive often, for long distances or over rough roads, you’ll want to change it sooner.
How to Change Transmission Fluid
Now that you know why and when to change transmission fluid, how do you do it? First, check your fluid level using a dipstick. If the fluid on the end of the dipstick smells sour or burnt or is dark and dirty, it’s time—or past time—to change it. Remove your filter first, as it may need replacing. If you are replacing your filter, make sure the new one is the right size and brand for your car.
Place your vehicle on ramps and use the owner’s manual to locate the transmission pan. Place your oil pan directly under the transmission pan so you can easily catch and dispose of old fluid. Carefully break the seal on the transmission pan’s bolts before allowing the fluid to drip in. In a new car, you should not see any sediment or debris. In other vehicles, you may see slight sediment or debris buildup; wash this out with fluid. Do not use water. If you see a lot of debris, bring your car to a dealership or mechanic for a closer look.
Next, check your gaskets to ensure they don’t need replacing. If they do, replace them with the appropriate brand and size, applying a thin coat of sealant against the flange. Do not remove your filter until the gaskets have been checked and sealed and the old oil has drained completely into the transmission pan. After the fluid change, start your car and let it run briefly. Then use the dipstick to check the fluid level and adjust as necessary; do not overfill.
Finally, always make sure you have clean, new fluid. Clean fluid will be clear, red, or pink. Dark, cloudy, or gray fluid will cause problems. If your transmission fluid dirties easily, bring your car to a dealership for a comprehensive inspection and repair.
Visit Our Service Center
If you live around Lewistown, State College, or Bellefonte, PA, and need help with how to change transmission fluid, or any other car needs, please visit The Lake Dealerships in person or online. We look forward to serving you.