Does Changing Transmission Fluid Help Shifting-Reveal The Real Answer

Does Changing Transmission Fluid Help Shifting

In a word, changing transmission fluid helps to make shifting smoother, quieter, and easier shifting. Because fresh transmission fluid effectively lubes clutch discs, steel discs, piston lips, bearings, and other components to avoid grinding. So all mechanical parts torque easily to offer simple shifts even in hard acceleration. 

Honestly, this fluid is one of the core aspects that significantly helps. But, there are many things that can help you shift better. 

However, without beating around the bush, let’s deep down some fundamental things about transmission fluid. So, the actual concept will be very clear to you.

Isn’t it?

What Is Vehicle Transmission?

In simple words, a vehicle transmission is a set of mechanical components that transfer engine-generated power to the vehicle’s driveshaft and rear wheels. It helps a driver to control drive-wheel speed by allowing controlling engine power delivered rate. 

Why Do You Need Transmission Fluid? 

A regular car transmission builds with 5 to 6 gear sets, a series of gear trains, or mechanical parts. These transmission parts are; torque converters, hydraulic pump, clutches, planetary gears, brakes, etc. 

The torque converter transfers motor power to the car’s hydraulic pump and transmission input shaft, where the planetary gears work to line up with one another in a series.

All these components are metallic, so they need fluid to glide them for smooth rotation. 

Dirty Transmission Fluid Causes? 

First, admit it. Nothing is evergreen in this world. And it’s also harshly true even for your transmission fluid. Over time, it loses its effectiveness and lubing power. However, apart from this, some specific reasons make your vehicle’s gear fluid contaminated or dirty. Some of the major reasons are

  • When you drive the car, its engine produces heat. So the transmission fluid has to face electrochemical degradation due to heat. So gradually it becomes dirty. 
  • Though the fluid lubes the gear system, they come in contact slightly. The gear parts leave microscopic deposits in the fluid for continuous metallic friction. When a lot of deposits mix into the fluid, it becomes dirty. 
  • No matter what type of transmission fluid (full synthetic, semi-synthetic, or conventional) you use. Each of them has a particular range of mileage efficiency. In most cases, the range is between 30,000 to 60,000 miles. If the fluid crosses the mileage efficiency range, it becomes dirty. 

What Does Dirty Transmission Fluid Look Like? 

Dirty transmission fluid looks very dark brown or black. It indicates you have to change the fluid as soon as possible to avoid hurting your engine. 

But before that, it goes through a color cycle, and all the color says something to you. Because, like words, color can speak. Here the interesting thing is you can’t hear. Rather, you have to observe the color to understand what it says. 

By observing your vehicle transmission fluid, you can easily define its conditions and what your attempt should be. Let’s see which color indicates what conditions of transmission fluid. 

  • Dark red or red translucent: is the color of new and fresh transmission fluid. That also can be yellow and blue. 
  • Light brown or semi-transparent: is the color of fluid’s good condition, but not as fresh. 
  • Dark brown or opaque: is the color indicating old and dirty fluid. In this color, you should change the fluid filter or flush the fluid. 
  • Dark Black: is the color of the completely contaminated and oxidized fluid. In this situation, you must change the fluid.
  • Light pinkish: is the color that indicates water-contaminated fluid. This time, you should replace the transmission alongside changing the transmission fluid. 

Why Should You Change Transmission Fluid?

You should change transmission fluid to have better control over the vehicle while shifting and hard towing. 

Besides this, there are several benefits you can enjoy in your driving by replacing dark trans fluid. Such as

Potential Performance

The fresh fluid can easily reach the hard-reach area of the trans. So all the metal parts will smoothly torque, offering high mileage efficiency for an uninterrupted driving experience. 

Improve Gear Changes 

Most motor vehicles come with gears named P, R, N, D, and L. Like the image. 

Here, P means Park, R means Reverse, N means Neutral, D means Drive, S means Sport, and L means Low. Changing trans fluid dramatically improves your gear changes. 

Reduce Slipping Sensation

One of the low trans fluid indications is a slipping sensation when changing gears, which may cause an accident. So, when the trans has a clean fluid, it reduces the slipping sensation to avoid accidents.

Increase Fuel Economy 

You won’t have to spend as much penny on trans fluid as engine oil. But, changing the fluid offers you a long fluid changing interval and less fuel cost. 

Incredibly Extends Trans Life 

Poor gear fluid can significantly bring deeper mechanical issues. Like; clogging, friction damage, oxidation instability, etc. But new oil has top-notch power to protect metal-to-metal friction, reduce damage, and extend trans life. 

Transmission Fluid Changing Interval?

Every 30,000 to 60,000 miles is the average range to change the transmission fluid. 

But that is only fixed for all the vehicles. Instead, it’s better to follow your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations. Let’s see a short list of which manufacturer recommends how many miles for trans fluid change. 

  • Toyota (Corolla, CVT): every 60,000 to 100,000 miles
  • Ford (F-Series): every 30,000 to 60,000 miles
  • BMW (328i, X3, X5, E46, E90, F10, F30, ): every 30,000 miles
  • Porsche: every 30,000 miles
  • Honda (Civic, CR-V): every 30,000 to 60,000 miles
  • Mercedes (C300, W205, W212, 722.6, 722.9): every 30,000 miles
  • Jeep (jk, Wrangler, patriot, renegade): every 90,000 miles
  • Nissan (Sentra, Titan): every 60,000 to 90000 miles.
  • Chevrolet Silverado: every 30,000 to 60,000 miles

How To Change Transmission Fluid?

Changing trans fluid isn’t as much of a thought job as you think. Having some DIY skills, a few tools in your garage, a little patience, and investing a maximum of one hour is a way to perform this task. 

The steps are

  1. Uplift the car to reach the transmission fluid tank.
  2. Open the trans filter bolt to drain contaminated fluid.
  3. Pour new fluid and reinstall the bolt. 

You can check out another article that describes the detailed procedure for changing transmission fluid.

Is DIY Changing Transmission Fluid Worth It?

Absolutely, it is worth DIY changing transmission fluid considering several purposes. Let’s discuss the thing from two different angles. One is the time you should invest, and another is its cost. 

How Long Does It Take To Change Transmission Fluid 

It takes around 30 minutes for the guys who don’t have prior experience to change the transmission fluid. The time may extend to 60 minutes even for slow DIYers, who like to do transmission inspection, or check Midas Touch Courtesy. 

Transmission Fluid Change Cost

If you seek mechanical help to change your car trans fluid, in most cases, it costs you approximately $125 to $250. This cost includes $88 and $111 for labor charges. The rest is for fluid price, taxes, and fees. 

But, when you perform the job, you won’t have to pay $88 and $111 for labor. Let’s convert the cost into time. 

Is it really worth giving around $100 for a 30 to 60-minute task?

Absolutely, it’s not worth it from your side. 

So, this is surely logical and worthy of DIY changing transmission fluid. 

Should I Change My Transmission Fluid If It’s Never Been Changed

There is no black-and-white answer to your inquiry, as it depends on your trans fluid condition. Because every driver faces a unique situation each time, they sit in their driving seat. Let’s discuss it, pointing out some specific situations. 

Situation 1: Driving Less Than 50k Miles

If you drive your car less than 50k miles and don’t face any issues. Still, changing the fluid is better, as most car manufacturers recommend changing it every 30k to 60k miles. 

Situation 2: Driving More Than 50k Miles But Less Than 100K

If you drive more than 50k miles but less than 100k and struggle a little for smooth driving. It’s high time to change the fluid. Otherwise, it may hurt your car. 

Situation 3: Driving More Than 100k Miles 

Driving more than 100k miles and never changing the fluid is the worst condition. Maybe it already hurts your car, but you can’t particularly determine it. 

In this worst situation, you have no time to waste. Immediately change the fluid, inspect it to determine any damage (if it does), and repair it to survive your car. 

If you still delay, maybe in future, you will have to repent for this and spend a huge bill as repair cost. 

How Many Years Does Transmission Fluid Last 

Transmission fluid will last more than 10 years based on driving frequency. But that is rare. Because no drivers take 10 years to drive their car, just 30 to 60 miles. So you should prioritize miles efficiency to determine trans fluid lasting time instead of years. 

Revive Your Smooth Shifting Through Trans Fluid Change 

Basically, there may be many myths about trans fluid, its changing interval, and the process. But the reality is this fluid directly impacts your driving experience,  your car life expectancy, and even your life. 

So, keeping the myths in a corner, regularly change the fluid when it reaches its changing miles ranges.  Change trans fluid, enjoy smooth shifting, and enjoy driving!

Leave a Comment