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Q: How Long Does a Transmission Filter Last?

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How long does a transmission filter last?

A: Most transmission filters are designed to f...

Most transmission filters are designed to filter the transmission fluid of metal particles from normal wear of a transmission. The filter is made from a paper filter media or a fine metal mesh screen. Some filters are an external screw-on type filter. The transmission filter on transmissions are designed by some manufacturers to only be replaced when a major transmission repair is done. These filters are not considered serviceable. The transmission filters on most newer vehicles since 2010 and some before this date do not have a transmission fluid service interval and only have filters replaced if the transmission has to be opened for repairs.

If the manufacturer of the vehicle does give a regular service interval, it will recommend the filter and fluid be changed anywhere between every 30,000 miles and 60,000 miles. The manufacturers found that the vehicles serviced have a higher rate of failures than newer vehicles that do not recommend services. The reason for the higher failure rates were due to a few different reasons. The correct fluids were not used in the services and the filters were not installed correctly, or inferior or incorrect parts were used and leaked or restricted flow.

The bottom line is to follow your manufacturer’s recommendations for a transmission filter replacement. Replacing the fluid with a fluid exchanger does not clean out a filter or replace the filter. This kind of service is considered a fluid replacement and is not recommended by most manufacturers. Fluid and filters in most transmissions do not go bad in most cases unless there is a failure inside the transmission from failed components like bushings, seals, or clutches. Some new designs of automatic transmissions do not give a traditional dipstick to check and add fluid anymore. This is due to manufacturers not wanting anyone to be able to add fluid to the transmission without special knowledge of checking and servicing the transmission. This will limit getting the wrong fluids added and eliminate another way for moisture and dirt to enter the transmission.

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