Don’t Forget About the Transmission Fluid

Published: Friday, December 7, 2018 | 12:16 AM



There are several vital fluids in your car that need constant monitoring and scheduled changes throughout the year. One of those is the transmission fluid, however, for some reason, this is one that many people neglect and the only time it’s thought of is when the transmission stops working right.

Scheduled changes for your transmission fluid should be a part of your car’s routine and if it has been a while since your last change the folks at JK Volvo want to help you get your tranny back in shape. But just what is transmission fluid and why should you worry about changing it every so often?

To be sure, changing transmission fluid is a pain and is best left to a mechanic that has a tranny flusher that replaces fluid more thoroughly than you can achieve with gravity alone. Tranny fluids are slippery liquids that lubricate all the moving parts inside your tranny. For automatic/CVT transmissions, the fluid is also a coolant while transmitting power from the engine to the transmission.

Mike Kafalas at JK Volvo tells us that different transmissions use different fluids. Automatic/CVT transmissions use a variety of fluids (there are many different types and using the wrong type can damage your tranny) while manual transmissions can use fluids from regular motor oil, to heavyweight gear oil or even some types of automatic transmission fluids. Just look in your owner’s manual to know what your transmission calls for.

Most manufacturers say manual transmission fluid should be changed every 30,000 miles and if your vehicle is under heavy-duty use, some manufacturers suggest changing the transmission fluid every 15,000 miles.
Automatic transmissions should also have the fluid changed at 30,000 miles for the typical driver on the road today.

Why do I have to do this you ask? According to Mike, the reason is for this is that, for manual transmissions, the problem is not about degradation of the fluid, but rather a contamination. Contamination occurs over time because the synchronizers, bearings, and gears in the transmission are slowly wearing out. Metal particles from this wear then float around in the fluid, and fluids with microscopic particles of metal in it can not lubricate well. If these contaminants aren’t eliminated, they will significantly shorten the life of your transmission.

Automatic/CVT trannies produce more heat, which breaks down the automatic transmission fluid which is why you should have it changed out at regular intervals. Also, just like a manual transmission, automatic transmission fluids will get contaminated by bits of metal that wear away inside the tranny. Let’s look:

Automakers have gotten better about labeling, or even color-coding, the various dipsticks inside the engine compartment. Most manufacturers use red, to match the color of automatic transmission fluid, for the dipstick that checks it. It’s important to check the fluid level between service intervals because letting your car run low can cause the transmission to shift improperly — or sometimes not at all. It can also harm the internal transmission parts because of improper lubrication and you may not hear any noises, or have any other red flags until it’s just too late.

Checking fluid levels in a manual transmission can be difficult. A few thoughtful car makers include a dipstick, but that’s is an exception rather than a rule. You will need the team at JK Volvo to check this for you to make sure your levels are correct. But if you own a car with an automatic tranny, it will have a dipstick for this purpose.

Get on down and see Mike and the team from JK Volvo and let them handle your tranny fluid changes and checks. They will make sure that your transmission is operating at optimum levels using only the best fluids and detecting any problems before they can leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere.

JK Volvo is located at 1587 E Walnut St, in Pasadena. For more information, call (626) 792-2240 or visit