Many vehicle owners are familiar with car care routines such as; oil changes, brake services, battery renewal, air-filter inspections and tire replacements. However, transmission maintenance is often overlooked yet it’s as important as the rest of the routines, which typically involves performing a transmission flush. No need to worry though, this article will inform you how the whole procedure is done.
How Long Does a Transmission Flush Take?
An automotive service technician or mechanic takes about 3-4 hours to flush out the old transmission fluid using a commercial flushing machine or a simple siphoning system. And to replace the old fluid takes approximately 30 minutes.
However, you’ll need to allow a window period for the mechanic to perform other services simultaneously, such as inspection and replacing other transmission system parts like the filter.
What is a transmission flush?
It is vital to mention that the transmission fluid serves as a lubricant for the bearing and metal parts of the gearbox. The automatic transmission fluid (ATF) is also a coolant for the transmission system and an adherent fluid that transmits power from the engine to the transmission.
A transmission flush, therefore, is the process by which the old automatic transmission fluid (ATF) is replaced, as well as the sludge and dirt that may have made its way to the vehicle’s transmission system.
In this case, a transmission system issue inevitably ends in the need to replace the entire system, which would cost significantly more than regular checks. A troubled transmission system would also interfere with the acceleration and shifting of gears.
Thankfully, all of this can be avoided by performing regular transmission flushes. Here is what you need to know about the importance of flushing your automatic transmission fluid;
Why is a Transmission Flush Necessary?
The transmission flush procedure does not merely replace your used-up transmission fluid, but it also cleans the transmission system as the fluid is changed over. The result is that you obtain a more complete replacement of the fluids with no remaining debris, keeping your vehicle at a great state.
The fluid flushes are also designed to prevent transmission issues. They maintain your vehicle working efficiently and ensuring its longevity since transmission flush helps maximize the lifespan and efficiency of your automatic transmission.
How often should I flush my transmission?
Unless you notice the above indicators of ineffective transmission fluid or a leak, a transmission flush is usually done from every 30000-50000 miles traveled by car to every three years. I’d suggest, however, checking your car owner manual to see how frequently your manufacturer recommends a transmission flush for your model.
How do I know when to flush the transmission fluid in my vehicle?
Unlike the need for an oil change which is mainly determined by the mileage traveled, you will know it’s time for a transmission flush if:
- Your transmission dipstick reveals a dark red or brown fluid instead of the usual brilliant red ATF colour. This colour difference indicates that foreign particles have accumulated in your fluid.
- The car does not move even after engaging the gear; this shows that the transmission is slipping or the fluid is low.
- There is a strange noise, or the shifting gears feel different or more difficult, indicating ineffective ATF or a leak.
Is changing the transmission fluid the same thing as a transmission flush?
No. the Transmission fluid change service only replaces about half the fluid since the ATF in your transmission pan is drained without the use of any special equipment or cleaning.
The filter is replaced, and fresh fluid is added, the result is a mixture of old and new fluid. While in a transmission flush, the automobile experts siphon using a pump inlet device or vacuum by using cooler line flushing equipment to expel the existent fluid and the accumulated particles and deposits from the entire transmission system.
These processes are repeated after the vehicle is turned on and gear synchronized to rid all the dirt that may have lingered until the inside of the transmission is purged. The transmission flush service package also includes an inspection of the transmission pan and replacing the filter. Therefore, you’ll leave the automotive service shop with a new complete stack of fresh and clean ATF.
Does a transmission flush harm my car?
If a transmission flush is done correctly, then the procedure will in no way hurt your vehicle. In any case, the process is designed to improve the overall function of your transmission and will benefit the length of service of your car. However, you should avoid flushing an already compromised transmission.
This is because if too much pressure is applied in the process, the deposits could latch on places that could potentially be detrimental. You should also confirm with an automobile service provider the best time to perform the procedure.
Naturally, after a vehicle has performed various tasks, foreign particles such as those from the friction of the gearbox or even from other parts of the system may collect over time, forming sludge debris in the transmission fluid.
This inefficiency may interfere with acceleration and shifting of the gears or transmitting of heat from the engine. Thus, it necessitates transmission maintenance, which often entails transmission fluid flushing, inspection, and changing the transmission filter.
Robert Anderson is a world class motorhead who rebuilt his first carb at age 10, his first engine at age 15, and completed his first full hotrod build when he was just 18! Previously, he has ran a part warehouse, delivered pizzas, and managed the service department for a $20 million/year revenue dealership. Robert knows cars like few others and he is passionate about sharing his knowledge.