For many people the transmission in their car is something they don’t think about until it quits shifting properly or until their transmission completely fails leaving them stranded. All transmissions whether automatic, manual, or Continuously Variable Transmissions (CVT), use special fluids to lubricate and cool the transmission. In automatic transmissions the fluid is also used to control and power the transmission. These fluids must meet very stringent specifications in order for the transmission to operate properly and provide a long life for the components in the transmission.
While transmission fluid is not exposed to the contaminations of combustion like engine oil is, it does break down over time with heat and shear forces being the main contributing factors. It also can become contaminated with small metal wear particles or clutch material from inside the transmission. Some transmissions have filters and/or magnets to help keep these wear particles from moving through the transmission and causing damage. In any case the fluids and filters in a transmission need to be changed as a preventative measure to ensure long life and proper operation over the life of the vehicle.
Some vehicle manufacturers claim that their transmissions never need service or they recommend an extended service interval of 100,000 miles or more. It is our experience that these manufacturers enjoy selling you transmissions and new cars more than they enjoy seeing your transmission last for hundreds of thousands of miles. Most transmissions will benefit from a more regular maintenance program and your wallet will benefit too! A couple hundred dollars in transmission service is far preferable to many thousands of dollars for a transmission replacement.
It is our recommendation that most people should have their automatic and CVT transmissions serviced or at least checked every 30,000 miles. For manual transmissions that have fewer demands on the fluid it is probably safe to extend that out to 50,000 or even 100,000 miles in some cases.
At Mountain Valley Motors we use high quality synthetic transmission fluids and gear oils. We stock a wide variety of fluids and filters for specific applications. We can check your transmission and make recommendations about proper service intervals based on how you use your vehicle.