Transmission Care: 8 Tips that Give You the Best Chance at a Longer Lasting Transmissionby KC Martin Transmissions on 10/26/18
You’ll have to forgive us. Our shop and our technicians are decades and decades deep into working on transmissions and knowing so many of the finer points to how they work, and how to diagnose problems. So, we often forget just how little the average driver may understand about the operation of their car or truck’s transmission.
There are actually some great ways that you can get into healthy habits for the sake of your transmission. We’ve come up with this list of eight tips that will help you to be responsible and get the longest life out of your transmission. No transmission lasts forever, but the better you treat yours, usually leads to more life, better performance, and less-devastating issues for this important vehicle system.
Here are some of the things you can do to protect and care for your transmission:
- Get your transmission serviced by a professional every 30,000 miles or about every 2 years. NO, not everyone does this, in fact, very few people realize it should be done this often. But, even if you’re a little off-schedule, you really should ask to have this done, because it is a low-cost preventative measure. This service drains old fluid, gives you a new filter, and cleans the transmission pan out. And, yes, 99% of you need to have this done by an experience professional.
- When the fluid is changed, either ask your professional or take their recommendation for synthetic fluid. They tend to resist heat better, resist cold better, and provide overall better performance. Your transmission professional will help direct you, but do not skimp because it saves very little money to go away from these new synthetic fluids.
- Check your transmission fluid frequently…..well, have your professional do it anyway. Low levels and dirty transmission fluid are the biggest problems for your transmission. A low fluid level makes your transmission susceptible to overheating. Ideally, you want to get a look at this monthly, but if you take your car in for oil changes with your trusted mechanic, see if they can check it for you then.
- Take it easy on your car or truck’s transmission by either warming them up for a few minutes or at least going easy for the first two or three miles while the transmission warms up.
- Always, always, ALWAYS use your emergency brake while parking on an incline or decline. This reduces stress on your car’s parking pawl (or parking pin) which could actually brake or become dislodged and your car would then roll on its own—scary!
- Don’t overload your vehicle with more weight than the manufacturer recommends. This can apply to pickup trucks, but also towing equipment or trailers. This can strain the belt and lead to the transmission overheating
- Never OVERFILL your transmission fluid. In most cases, you probably shouldn’t be adding fluid anyway (try to leave it to a professional and their recommendation), but if you do add some, make careful note of the car manual’s directions. An overfill can cause foaming, which no longer protects your transmission properly.
- Maintain your vehicle’s cooling system properly. A maintenance of the cooling system should also be done every two years. Ask your mechanic about the shape of your system and don’t hesitate to invest in proper cooling operation. WHY? Because, heat from the car’s engine will quickly wear on your transmission, and in all cases, you should do whatever you can to avoid excess heat. Your mechanic can change the anti-freeze, look for leaks and damage, do a radiator cap pressure test, and change hoses as necessary.
If you live nearby in North King County or Snohomish County, feel free to come to us at KC Martin Transmissions for help, questions, or service. We’ve been in business for 70 years and had a transmission specialty shop here in South Lynnwood since 1986. We can help with your transmission servicing, repair, advice, and all other auto repair needs as well. We’d love to see you, but thanks for reading!