So at this point, everyone agrees that the engine oil is very important for your car because it lubricates the engine and the engine is the heart of your car and whatnot.
One thing that often slips the mind or isn’t present at all,is the transmission fluid. It is the transmission’s job to package the engine’s power and distribute it to the wheels an automatic transmission is heavily reliant on the ATF to get that job done.
Why is it important?
The automatic transmission in all vehicles is heavily reliant on the hydraulic line pressure to function. Majority of vehicles use the ATF as their hydraulic fluid as well as to lubricate the gears. Over time the ATF gets worn out. Extreme heat from the vehicle breaks down the ATF, it reduces its viscosity, and if low enough, metal-to-metal contact will occur generating internal contamination.
Lower levels of ATF can result in a lot of complications for your vehicle including:
1. Delayed transmission change
What this means for the car is that the gear change will often feel sluggish. Your car enters a dead period of maybe 2 to 3 seconds before the gear actually changes. This makes for a very uncomfortable driving experience and may even result in accidents if you do not judge the sudden speed change right.
What this means is higher RPMs (over 3,500), acceleration delays, not being able to reverse, or burnt smells. This is a small problem that will lead to expensive fixes, so get it fixed promptly once symptoms start showing.
3. Overheated transmissions
The ATF also cools the transmission, lower ATF levels means higher temperature and we know that high temperatures opens up an avenue of all sorts of bad news. You will notice that your transmission is overheating in the erratic and delayed shifts, loss in power, burning smells, or your car is smoking (this is not a good sign).
So what do I do?
Prevention is better than a cure and this prevention comes in monitoring and maintaining your car. Switch out your ATF periodically.
How often do I change my ATF?
As usual consult your user’s manual, not only will it tell you the recommended times to change your ATF but also the kinds of ATF that your car requires (there are over 50 different kinds).
But if you’re looking for a good general guideline:
Your ATF should be changed every 30,000km or so, which means every third time you do an oil change.
A small investment to keep all the bigger costs away. A smart move wouldn’t you say?
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