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Do I really need to change my transmission fluid?

Question: My SUV has about 75,000 miles on it, and when I took it to the dealer for a recall recently, they said I need to change the transmission fluid. Is that really a service I need? If so, why?

Answer: Yes, servicing the transmission is a legitimate maintenance service, one that could save you $3,000 or more on a transmission rebuild. And at your mileage, there’s a good chance your vehicle is due for a transmission fluid change.

The transmission fluid on the left is the color you want to see. The old coffee on the right is the same color as transmission fluid that’s past its prime.

Why Should You Change Your Transmission Fluid?

The purpose of a transmission service or flush is to remove the dirty, spent fluid and replace it with clean, new fluid.

Everyday driving, stop-and-go-traffic, extreme temperature swings and towing heavy loads is hard on automatic transmissions. The transmission fluid deteriorates over time, turning from its original bright red to gray, brown or even black as dirt and metal particles from wearing gears contaminate it. When this fluid isn’t flushed regularly or thoroughly, it’s unable to build up sufficient hydraulic pressure to properly shift gears.

Replacing or rebuilding your transmission costs $2,500 or more. But the cost of flushing the transmission fluid and replacing the transmission filter (when applicable) costs $150-$300 and will help keep your vehicle going for thousands and thousands of miles.

What Happens If I Don’t Flush My Transmission Fluid?

Problems with our vehicles tend to arise when we ignore routine service, and in the case of an automatic transmission, this can mean costly repairs.

Transmission warning signs include:

  • Your transmission warning light is on.
  • Your transmission fluid is leaking.
  • The clutch in your manual transmission is slipping.
  • Your transmission won’t shift into gear.
  • Your transmission shifts hard or has a delayed shift into gear.

Let’s again look at the cost of preventing a problem. If you have your transmission fluid flushed every 30,000 miles and a service costs about $150 each time, you’ll spend about $1,000 in preventive maintenance over the course of 200,000 miles.

If you skip this service and your transmission fails, the cost of a late model REBUILT – not new – transmission starts at $2,500. We believe flushing is a no brainer if you plan to keep your vehicle beyond the manufacturer’s warranty.

Can Hong Kong Auto Service Help with a Transmission Repair?

Whether you have an automatic or a manual transmission, our auto repair shop’s ASE-Certified Technicians have the expertise to take care of you and your transmission. If you simply need to service the fluid, we can help. If you have a shifting problem, we can run a full diagnostic test on the transmission—inspecting it for leaks and evaluating the fluid for signs of premature wear or other problems.

Give Hong Kong Auto Service a call if your transmission warning light is on, your car won’t go into gear or your clutch is whining. The sooner you address the problem, the better off you and your auto repair budget will be.

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