Auto Transmission: Flush & Fluid Exchange

Image of vehicle gear shifter

Drivers may maintain the health of their transmission and reduce the likelihood of costly transmission repairs in the future by staying up to date with your vehicle’s recommended transmission fluid change schedule. 

In many cases, every 30,000 miles, or 2 years, a transmission fluid exchange is due, but the fluid change intervals differ for every vehicle. Chicago driving conditions affect every vehicle differently, and drivers should have their cars regularly inspected to ensure optimal performance. 

What Is A Transmission Flush?

A transmission flush is a repair procedure where all the oil in a transmission is removed, new oil is run through it (often with cleaning solutions) using a special machine to push out grime and sludge, and then the transmission is filled with new oil.

What Are The Benefits Of Performing Transmission Flushes? 

One of the most significant advantages of a transmission flush is that transmission issues can be avoided in the future by this easy operation. The oil will no longer provide lubrication for your transmission when your transmission fluid becomes too dirty or polluted with debris. 

It can be costly to fix or upgrade transmissions. You would be able to save money on the general cost of fixing your car by scheduling transmission flushes at regular intervals. You can rest assured that your vehicle will run perfectly, without the need for expensive repairs in the future, if you keep your transmission properly cooled and lubricated. 

A transmission flush can also increase your engine’s overall performance. You can help it run at optimum efficiency by keeping your engine properly lubricated.

Transmission Flush VS. Transmission Fluid Change

When servicing your vehicle’s transmission, a transmission flush and a fluid change are two completely different services. A transmission flush eliminates all the fluid in the tank, the cooler lines, and the torque converter, while a transmission fluid change focuses on draining the dirty fluid from the pan. Both services are beneficial, but an inspection will identify what service your vehicle needs.

How Much Does A Transmission Flush Cost?

For a transmission flush, the average price range is $125 to $250-approximately twice as much as a fluid change due to the extra fluid needed to replace the old fluid completely (12-22 quarts instead of 5-7 quarts). The average price for the full service is $150. 

The cost depends on many variables, including the make and model of your vehicle, location, type of shop you go to, equipment used, and any additional services such as pan removal and filter replacement.

How Often Should A Vehicle Recieve A Transmission Flush?

Picture of a mechanic repairing auto transmission

The manufacturer’s maintenance plan for many automatic transmissions does not call for fresh fluid until 100,000 miles or even 150,000 miles for some Ford transmissions. Many mechanics say this is too long and that at least every 50,000 miles, this service should be completed. 

Unlike automatic transmissions, manual transmissions require more traditional gear oil and tend to be on a different maintenance schedule, so it is best to check the owner’s manual’s service intervals.

How To Tell A Vehicle Needs New Transmission Fluid?

Merely paying attention to how your vehicle is driving can reveal a need for a transmission flush. Turn off the radio and listen to the engine when shifting gears. Harsh noises may equate to a blockage in the transmission fluid.

The movement of the vehicle can also be affected by bad transmission fluid. Shifting gears should be smooth and shouldn’t cause the car to jolt forward awkwardly. Common signs of failing transmission fluid include:

  • Shifting Is Difficult
  • Gears Slipping
  • Movement Delay After Shifting
  • Noises While Shifting
  • Vehicle Jolts Forward When Shifting

How Long Does A Transmission Flush Take?

With a commercial flushing machine or pump inlet, a qualified mechanic can perform a simple transmission flush in three to four hours. It takes only about 30 minutes to change the transmission fluid but cleaning the system and testing the transmission takes much longer.

Will A Transmission Flush Damage My Vehicle? 

Photo of a car engine needing repairs

There is some speculation that a transmission flush can do more damage than good by dislodging debris along the transmission line. However, this typically happens only when the auto shop uses a machine that pushes the fluid back through the device, instead of the above-described delicate flush process. 

That being said, there is a greater risk that a flush may cause the transmission to fail if your vehicle has gone 100,000 miles or more, and your mechanic may advise against it. A previous defect within the system causes damage during a transmission flush. The older the transmission is, the more like the system is already damaged.

Who Should Perform A Transmission Flush?

The transmission is a vital system within any vehicle, and maintaining this system requires expertise. If a flush is not performed correctly, regular maintenance could result in unexpected damages. Auto owners should research any auto repair shop to ensure the technicians are properly equipped to perform a transmission flush. 

Chicago is filled with auto repair shops that have the ability to perform a trans flush properly. Search for a reputable shop that is experienced and is known for providing excellent service. 

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