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

(1,163)

Rating Summary
1,092
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1,092
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10
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Kenneth

20 years of experience
682 reviews
Kenneth
20 years of experience
Toyota RAV4 - Transmission Fluid Service - Torrance, California
Kenneth is professional, timely and seems very knowledgeable. He has a good work ethic. Thanks Kenneth!
Jeep Wrangler - Transmission Fluid Service - Long Beach, California
Polite, courteous & very informative. Gets the job done in record time. Couldn’t be more pleased with the service.

Peter

25 years of experience
437 reviews
Peter
25 years of experience
Audi A8 Quattro - Transmission Fluid Service - Canyon Country, California
Showed up on time, completed job n a timely manner and shared his knowledge and history of service/repairs on my vehicle.
Honda Odyssey - Transmission Fluid Service - Sylmar, California
Peter is such a nice person with an amazing attitude. We would love to have him as our regular mechanic.

Robert

31 years of experience
627 reviews
Robert
31 years of experience
Honda Accord - Transmission Fluid Service - Santa Clara, California
Robert was punctual with time (infact arrived 15 minutes early) and started inspecting the car and taking photos. I had the appointment schedule for some fluid changes. Based on the condition of the fluids, he recommended that one of the fluids did not require a full flushing out, so he took about an hour off the labor cost for this service, I appreciate that and was done very quickly. He also summarized the overall condition of the car after that. Apart from all that, I noticed that he wasn't wearing a mask. But he maintained the other social distancing protocols.
Toyota Sienna - Transmission Fluid Service - Mountain View, California
Robert was punctual to the appointment. Problem was fixed. Additional services was recommended and scheduled for the next visit.

Theodore

16 years of experience
1389 reviews
Theodore
16 years of experience
Toyota Camry - Transmission Fluid Service - Seattle, Washington
Stand out honesty and professionalism. I have been "using" Theo as my mechanic for about 6-7 years now through YourMechanic - he is hands down the BEST! . This is the second car I have had he has worked on. He saved me a few times before with an older Jeep, now I have an older Camry. For me honesty is 100% most important thing about a mechanic - He is always super honest about what I need and don't need. It's refreshing to hear "your car is in excellent shape, as long as you keep up your maintenances, it will keep going for many years" even when it is 8 years old with 113,000 miles. Today I got tons of maintenance done in preparation for a cross country trip (transmission fluid change, oil change, air filter etc.). I didnt even know my headlight was out. He did all the services booked, then he found fuses blown that I didnt know about, replaced 1 that he had on hand, showed me exactly what I needed to get for a different part, where it was, how I could do it myself, and how to find everything in the car. He communicates very well - nothing is weird or hard to understand, he's totally honest and will tell you "I don't think you need that yet" or "you need to do this - it really is going to break". Before he leaves, he asks you to check everything and make sure everything is okay.. he's all around quality. I have had other mechanics who just wanted to get you our of their space ASAP, he is not like that at all. Easy thumbs up - I recommend him to anyone who asks me about a mechanic.
Toyota Sequoia - Transmission Fluid Service - Bothell, Washington
Theodore once again did not disappoint. We had scheduled a lot of services to be done on our Sequoia and he finished it all within the estimated time. I would highly recommend him.

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