Fresh transmission fluid. Completing a transmission fluid flush on your car is an important part of automotive maintenance. Here are the basics on why it's important.

What Is A Transmission Flush And Why Are They Necessary?

One of the most significant automotive repair items is the automatic transmission, an expense that can cost you thousands of dollars if it needs replacing. Fortunately, with the proper care, namely a transmission flush, you can avoid transmission failure. So, what is a transmission flush? It’s a car care method that goes beyond a simple fluid change, something you can perform yourself or trust to your favorite mechanic.

Transmission Fluid: An Essential Lubricant

Fluid is essential to keeping your transmission working as it serves as a lubricant for moving parts. Both Gear transmissionmanual and automatic transmissions require fluid. In vehicles equipped with an automatic transmission, the fluid also serves as a coolant, ensuring that power is moved from the engine to the transmission.

Like any substance, transmission fluid is subject to degradation and contamination. Left unchecked, the fluid will no longer do its job, putting your transmission at risk of failure. Therefore, it is extremely important that you turn to the owner’s manual for maintenance guidance.

Transmission Care: Fluid Change or Flush

There are two types of transmission care. One level of care involves a transmission fluid change. Here, you’ll typically remove the old fluid by releasing a bolt at the bottom of the transmission pan, which enables the fluid to drain into a container. In vehicles without a bolt, you’ll need to remove the pan to drain it.

Although this method does remove some fluid, there is still a significant amount left behind, usually in the torque converter. That’s because pressure is needed to push the remaining fluid out. Only a transmission flush can do this, ensuring that all contaminants, including metal shavings, are removed in the process.

You can flush the transmission fluid yourself with or without the assistance of a flush machine. If you do it manually, you’ll need to release the old fluid first then add new fluid and swap out the filter. Using special transmission flush fluid can help clean your car’s transmission and prepare it for new transmission fluid. Close everything up, drive the car for a while, then repeat the process at least two more times. That way, you’ll remove nearly all of the old fluid. You 

As you might guess, this maintenance process is a long one and involves some hassle. That’s why some people skip the at-home maintenance and take their vehicle to a mechanic for service. Garages typically have the right equipment, including a specialized modern machine for removing the old fluid and adding new. 

Ideally, the flushing method involves a pump inlet flush where the machine’s line is attached to the pump intake. Here, fluid is transferred via the transmission cooling lines, through the vehicle into a drainage pan. This process is accomplished by removing the transmission pan and filter and replacing them with a new pan and filter. Once done, the transmission is thoroughly freed of old fluid and contaminants. 

Transmission Maintenance Time

Neglect the transmission and a huge repair bill may be in your future. By following your manufacturer’s maintenance procedures, you’ll avoid costly repairs while extending your vehicle’s life. What is a transmission flush? It’s a necessary part of car maintenance that keeps your vehicle running smoothly.

Check out all the chemical products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on a transmission fluid flush, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

about author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan has maintained his love for cars ever since his father taught him kicking tires can be one way to uncover a problem with a vehicle’s suspension system. He since moved on to learn a few things about coefficient of drag, G-forces, toe-heel shifting, and how to work the crazy infotainment system in some random weekly driver. Matt is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association and is a contributor to various print and online media sources.

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