How Do You Know When Your Transmission Fluid Needs to Be Changed?

Transmission oil or fluid is a vital part of your vehicle’s performance, as it lubricates the various components and inner surfaces of the transmission system to prevent wear over time. Although you rarely need to change transmission fluid other than every 30,000 miles or every other year as a preventative measure, there are instances where you may need a transmission fluid flush more frequently. Promptly consult a mechanic if you notice any of the following symptoms in your vehicle that can indicate it’s time for a transmission fluid change:

  • Grinding or squealing noises while shifting: These noises aren’t just annoying but indicative of a more serious problem beneath your hood. If you hear grinding or squealing, pull over as soon as possible and check your transmission oil or fluid level while the engine is still running. When you do, also note the color of the fluid. If it is anything other than bright red, you may need a transmission fluid change.

  • Shifting is difficult: Whether you drive a vehicle with an automatic or manual transmission, it still changes gears. If you have an automatic, you may notice that it shifts “harder”, or at odd times that seem sooner or later than usual. With manual transmissions, it can be physically difficult to shift into position.

  • Inexplicable surging: Sometimes, when you need a transmission oil change due to dirty fluid, your vehicle may surge forward or backward as if you pressed the accelerator or brake for no apparent reason. This is due to contaminants in the fluid preventing consistent flow through the transmission system.

  • Gears slipping: When the transmission fluid or oil flow is interrupted by grit and grime within the system, it interferes with the pressure levels that keep the gears in place. This can cause your transmission to periodically slip out of gear without any warning.

  • Delay in movement after shifting: Occasionally, dirty transmission fluid can cause a delay in your car or truck moving after shifting gears, which is also related to fluid flow interruption. This delay may be only a moment or several seconds, and longer delays likely indicate greater contamination of your transmission oil.

If you have experienced any of these issues while driving, it makes sense to have your transmission system checked thoroughly. Although simply getting a transmission fluid change, especially if the color of the transmission oil is anything other than bright red or has a burnt odor, may solve your woes, there is a good chance something else is awry and the fluid issue is simply a symptom of a bigger problem. If for no other reason than peace of mind, consider calling one of our experienced mechanics for a consultation, which can save you a significant amount of money and degree of headache down the road.


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Recent Transmission Fluid Service reviews

Excellent Rating

(1,306)

Rating Summary
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1,223
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Ronald

41 years of experience
301 reviews
Ronald
41 years of experience
Dodge Journey V6-3.6L - Transmission Fluid Service - Houston, Texas
He showed up, got right to work, and double checked a few things to make sure my car would continue to run smoothly.
Acura MDX - Transmission Fluid Service - Spring, Texas
Ronald arrived on time. He was quick and efficient. Transfer case, transmission fluid, and oil and filters completed!!

Luke

17 years of experience
150 reviews
Luke
17 years of experience
Ford F-150 V8-5.4L - Transmission Fluid Service - Austin, Texas
Luke is very knowledgeable about automobiles and his professional, attitude, and personality are AAA+. Thanks for the great job Luke!
Ford Mustang - Transmission Fluid Service - Austin, Texas
Super friendly and helpful! Worked quickly and efficiently, and made sure that everything was solid before he left. Great mechanic!

Collins

12 years of experience
488 reviews
Collins
12 years of experience
Nissan Altima V6-3.5L - Transmission Fluid Service - Atlanta, Georgia
He was prompt and knowledgeable. Kept me informed throughout the process. Would highly recommend him again to anyone.
Buick Lucerne - Transmission Fluid Service - Atlanta, Georgia
Collins was great! He was very friendly and knowledgeable about the issues with my car. Thank you, Collins!

Jesse

16 years of experience
61 reviews
Jesse
16 years of experience
Nissan Altima L4-2.5L - Transmission Fluid Service - Daytona Beach, Florida
He was very knowledgeable. Told me what he would recommend and what can be held off. He did a great job on my car. Thank u Jesse
Dodge Stratus - Transmission Fluid Service - Daytona Beach, Florida
Jesse is an expert mechanic He arrived and started work right away. He performed his job in a professional manner, made repair recommendations that insures the upkeep of regular maintenance and safety. I appreciate his work very much.

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Transmission fluid needs to be changed at regular intervals. Old transmission fluid is recyclable. Proper disposal helps reduce overall waste.
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How to replace your automatic transmission fluid

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