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8 Tips For a Long Lasting and
Trouble-free Transmission

My Automatic TransmissionBe SMART - PROTECT your Investment!  The things you do and don't do determine, in large part, how well your vehicle holds up.  Follow these transmission care tips for a better performing and longer-lasting automatic transmission.  Do-it and you will enjoy the benefits - ignore it and you will probably pay a high price. 

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Check Transmission Fluid Level and Condition

  Get into the routine of checking your transmission fluid level andMy Automatic Transmission condition on a regular basis.  This is the #1 thing you can do to help insure your transmission continues to run smoothly and trouble-free.
How to properly check transmission fluid level
How to check transmission fluid condition

Transmission Service


Follow the vehicle manufacturer's recommended transmission service intervals for maintaining your transmission.  Depending on the vehicle, transmission service intervals can range from every 30,000 miles to 100,000 miles.  But regardless, if you want your transmission to last - you must service the transmission - period! 



A typical transmission service involves removing the transmission oil pan, cleaning and inspecting the pan for the presence of metal shavings, replacing the filter and pan gasket and filling with clean fresh ATF.


Do Not Exceed Tow "Weight" Limit

  DO NOT tow a vehicle or trailer that exceeds the tow weight limitation of your vehicle.  Doing so causes tremendous heat build up inside the transmission.  Even when towing within the vehicle's rated tow limit, the transmission can become overheated, especially when traveling through mountainous terrains, the desert and city stop and go traffic.

Be very careful here as the heat build up from towing will ruin your transmission.  This isn't hype - it's the truth!  

Avoid Manual Shifts (Upshifts and Downshifts)

  Always place the shifter lever in the Drive "D" position allowing the transmission to control shifts and shift timing.  Automatically controlled shifts occur at optimum RPMs taking into account vehicle speed and load.  Manually upshifting and downshifting at higher engine RPMs causes hard shifts and excessive wear to gears and friction clutches.

Shifting from Reverse to Drive

  When backing up, always come to a complete stop before shifting into Drive "D".  Shifting into Drive from Reverse before the vehicle comes to a complete stop can chip, crack or break gears and severely damage other transmission hard parts.  Repair costs for these type damages are high because the transmission must be removed from the vehicle and disassembled.

Set E-Brake When Parked

  When parking your vehicle, especially when parking on an incline, set the emergency brake (e-brake) BEFORE shifting the transmission into the Park "P" position.  Doing so places the weight of the vehicle on the brake instead of the transmission's parking pawl.  See Transmission Parking Pawl for more information on how this works.

Do Not Spin the Wheels When Stuck

  My Automatic TransmissionWhen stuck in ice, snow or mud, do not spin the wheels in an attempt to free the vehicle.  Moving the shifter back and forth between Reverse and Drive and spinning the wheels builds intense heat inside the transmission very quickly.  It only takes a few minutes of high speed wheel spinning to ruin a perfectly good transmission.

Install an External Transmission Oil Cooler

  Recognizing that excessive heat is the #1 cause of transmission fluid oxidation followed by catastrophic transmission failure, every effort should be made to keep the transmission cool at all times.  The best way to protect your transmission against excessive heat is with an auxiliary transmission oil cooler.
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