Automatic transmissions are the norm today instead of the exception as fewer and fewer cars are equipped with manual transmissions. Your transmission is a complicated piece of machinery, and while it is designed to last a long time, it does require some maintenance to keep it working properly. The transmission contains transmission fluid which helps to lubricate and cool all the moving pieces inside.
As with other fluids in your vehicle, transmission fluid needs to be periodically changed as old fluid will lose its ability to lubricate and cool. Overheating your transmission can lead to total failure, so it is important to keep your fluid fresh and at the proper level. Your car’s owner’s manual will usually tell you how often you need to flush your fluid, and it especially might be time for a flush if you are experiencing any transmission problems. We’ll explore exactly what a transmission flush is here as well as how much you can expect to pay for it.
What Is a Transmission Flush?
We won’t go into great detail about the differences between a transmission fluid change vs fluid flush, but know that there are two ways to get new fluid into your transmission. The first way, the fluid change, is the most basic. This method is very similar to an oil change.
A fluid change is usually performed by dropping the transmission pan and allowing the old fluid to drain out. Most mechanics choose to change the transmission filter or clean the screen at this point. Once the old fluid has drained and the filter has been replaced, the pan is placed back onto the transmission with a new pan gasket. Then you refill the transmission with new fluid.
One problem with a simple fluid change is that all of the old fluid does not get removed from the system. As much as 30% of the fluid in the entire system gets left behind in the torque converter and other places in the transmission. So, even after a fluid change, you do not have completely new fluid in the system.
Conversely, a transmission fluid flush completely removes all the old fluid from the system so that you have entirely new transmission fluid. It removes all the old stuff through pressure, either the pressure of the system itself or a vacuum type tool. This ensures that any metal shavings or debris are totally removed and your transmission is restored to the state it was in when it was new.
There are a couple of ways to perform this type of flush. One is with a system that works like a vacuum. The tool is inserted into the transmission through the fill tube, and the vacuum sucks all the fluid and any debris right out of the transmission. Since the system is pressurized and a vacuum is created, it removes all the fluid from the transmission, even what is in the torque converter.
The other way is by letting the transmission itself do most of the work. As your engine runs, the transmission fluid becomes pressurized and gets pushed throughout the entire system. This type of flush is done by feeding new fluid, and sometimes even cleaners or solvents, and letting them circulate through the transmission. One line feeds in new fluid while another hose allows the old fluid to be pushed out.
If you decide to take your car in for this service, you should probably ask which method the repair shop uses. Talk to the mechanic beforehand to make sure that he or she is an expert in transmissions, as performing this service incorrectly can lead to some big problems. Transmissions are very intricate in their operation, so the person working on yours needs to know exactly what they are doing.
How Much Is a Transmission Flush?
You might be wondering, “How much does a transmission flush cost?” Good news! A transmission flush is typically not very expensive! The price varies depending on the make and model of your car, but it usually ranges anywhere from $100 to $400. Different cars require different amounts of automatic transmission fluid. Some require as little as 6 quarts while others take 13 quarts or more. A good repair shop or qualified mechanic can perform the job in about an hour or so. Along the same lines, a transmission fluid change cost is about the same as the cost of a flush.
While a couple hundred dollars is a decent amount of money, it is not that much for a key piece of preventative maintenance for your car. It will greatly extend the life of your transmission, and it is certainly better than the alternative! A transmission failure would require a rebuild or possibly a replacement, and that would set you back a few thousand dollars. The flush is also cheaper than many other major repairs like a cracked engine block or catalytic converter replacement.
Even given its relatively low cost, many people still don’t have a few hundred dollars laying around for a transmission service. There are other options. If your transmission system is in otherwise good shape and just needing a simple flush, your car is probably still worth quite a bit of money! You could contact Auto Wranglers and let them make you an instant cash offer to purchase the car. Get some extra money in your pocket and buy a new vehicle, since you’ve probably been wanting one anyway!
Selling to Auto Wranglers is an easy and hassle free process. You can get an instant quote within a few minutes, and the entire transaction can be completed within a couple days. We always come to you to pick up the vehicle, and we always provide free towing. Get top dollar for your car while it still has some life left in it!
Are Transmission Flushes Really Necessary?
Keeping fresh and clean fluid in your transmission is absolutely necessary! While there may be some debate over whether a fluid exchange or flush is better, everyone agrees that you must keep the transmission fluid level topped off and keep the fluid new. Your car’s transmission fluid must be changed just like the engine oil, or else you will be performing a more in-depth transmission repair before you know it!
Dirty transmission fluid causes all kinds of problems. First, the small channels and pathways inside your transmission can become clogged due to dirty fluid and lead to shifting problems. The car might not want to go into gear properly or it might stall when trying to shift into drive. You might also experience surging or slipping of the transmission. This may feel like the car is jerking as you drive down the highway.
If you are experiencing any of the problems above, you should take your car to a qualified mechanic to let them inspect the transmission and see if it may be time for a service. A check engine light can also be another sign of problems, although that does not usually point to transmission problems. Many times, minor transmission issues such as slight slipping or delays in shifting can be corrected with a fluid flush. And, if you want your transmission to continue operating normally for years to come, then routine flushes are absolutely necessary!
Will a Transmission Fluid Flush Hurt My Vehicle?
This is a widely debated question with even mechanics having opinions on both sides of the fence. Most mechanics agree that if a transmission flush is performed according to your car’s maintenance schedule, then it will cause no issues. Performing the flush before the old transmission fluid gets extremely dirty will keep the potential dangers at a minimum.
In some cases, if you are way past due for a fluid flush, then there is a school of thought out there that a flush should not be performed. Here is the reasoning. Once the fluid has gotten so old, there are lots of metal shavings and other debris inside the fluid. Performing a flush at this point will force those shavings and debris into channels and crevices where they should not be. This could potentially cause problems and lead to a bigger auto repair bill.
Most people also agree that a flush that uses a vacuum type system to remove the old fluid is more dangerous than allowing the pressure of the transmission system itself to push out the fluid. The vacuum type system could very possibly suck debris and other grime backwards through the system, lodging it into places where it would not normally get. Letting the transmission itself do the work and push out the fluid is a much safer option.
If you’ve gone too long without performing a fluid flush, then you have a couple of options. One is to perform a simple fluid change. There is general agreement that a fluid change typically does not have the same potential for issues that a flush does. In order to get the fluid as fresh as possible, most experts recommend performing the fluid change and then performing a second fluid change in 10,000 miles to get additional debris out of the transmission.
Performing two fluid changes in success as described above helps to ensure that you have mostly new fluid in the transmission, and it reduces the chances that you’ll experience problems. The other option is simply to get a cash offer from Auto Wranglers on your vehicle while the transmission has no major issues. This makes your car worth much more, and you can then use that money to get a car that does not require a large maintenance item right away.
How Often Should a Transmission Flush Be Performed?
You should first consult your car’s owner’s manual to help answer this question. Some cars such as a Honda or Chevrolet don’t require their first transmission service until 100,000 miles. Others, like some Mercedes models, are recommended every 40,000 miles. The key is following the manufacturer’s recommendation and making sure fluid level stays correct between flushes. Your transmission has a dipstick just like your engine, so you should be checking the fluid level on a regular basis.
Unfortunately, some mechanics will attempt to sell unnecessary transmission services as a way to make more money. They might recommend you service your transmission every 30,000 miles. This is not the case with every vehicle, so make sure you know what is needed for your car before you waste money buying a service that is not really necessary.
Can I Perform a Fluid Flush Myself?
While it is possible to perform your own fluid flush, it is usually a job best left to the experts. In many cases, special tools are required to perform this maintenance, so you probably would be better off taking your car to the dealership for that. If you just insist on doing your own work (and that’s totally understandable!), then you might consider just a fluid change instead.
Performing a fluid change usually only requires a few basic tools. You’ll need jack stands, a hydraulic jack, and some basic wrenches and hand tools. Some vehicles even have a drain plug on the transmission pan, so that makes draining the old fluid super easy! Just remove the plus and let the fluid drain! There is no need to remove the pan in that case. Many of those models also have the transmission filter on the outside, just like an oil filter. Simply unscrew the old one, and screw the new filter on! Refill with new fluid, and you’re all set!
If your car is getting some years on it, then it might be time to consider a transmission fluid flush. Knowing the difference between a flush and change is extremely helpful in deciding which one is right for your particular vehicle. While this is not an outrageously expensive service, you can expect to pay a couple hundred dollars for it.
If it’s time for your routine fluid flush or you’re having transmission issues and a flush is imperative, perhaps you don’t have a few hundred bucks sitting around to pay a mechanic. Luckily, there are other options. Consider selling your car to Auto Wranglers today so that you can put some money in your pocket instead of having money flowing out of it. We’ll make you a great offer to buy your vehicle, and we can sometimes even pick it up the same day. We pay cash, and you can use that money to get a new car with no transmission issues! Give us a call or fill out the online form today to get started!