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transmission fluid flush

Everything you need to know about a transmission flush

Incidental things you should know about a transmission flush:

A transmission fluid flush is different from a fluid and filter change.
A fluid flush will not repair an internal transmission problem.
A fluid flush is a preventative maintenance procedure, not a cure all solution.
A flush is not recommended for certain high mileage vehicles.
A transmission flush is typically performed using a flush machine.
A transmission flush can be performed (DIY) using the transmission's pump.

What is a transmission flush?

A transmission flush is a process in which the fluid in an automatic transmission is flushed out of the transmission and replaced with new ATF.  The flushing process, when done correctly, replaces nearly 100% of the old fluid with new fluid, including fluid in the torque converter and oil cooler lines.  

transmission flush warningIMPORTANT - PLEASE READ CAREFULLY: A transmission flush is not recommended for high mileage vehicles that have not been flushed previously.  For these vehicles, the recommended service is a fluid and filter change.

Should I have my transmission flushed?

transmission flush prosThe debate as to the effectiveness and safety of a transmission flushtransmission flush conscontinues among industry professionals.  Some transmission experts give a thumbs up to flushing while others are completely against it.

As expected, the industry professionals who provide transmission flushes in their shops are proponents of the service while the non-flushing shops are typically against it.  As a publisher of non-biased information, we'll do our best to sort through the rhetoric and provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision.

Transmission Fluid Flush (Using Pressure Machine) - The Pros and Cons

The #1 benefit of a fluid flush is that nearly all the fluid (normally between 10 and 12 quarts) is flushed from the transmission and replaced with clean fresh fluid. In this process, metal shavings, buildup and debris is also flushed from the transmission, torque converter and oil cooler lines, which is also a good thing.  Clean ATF insures the transmission is well lubricated and helps keep the tranny cool.

did you know  According to ATRA (Automobile Transmission Rebuilders Association), roughly 9 out of 10 transmission failures are caused by old, contaminated and/or oxidized transmission fluid.   Therefore, keeping your transmission full of clean fresh ATF  crucial to its continued performance.

Is a transmission flush safe

Anyone familiar with the subject of a transmission flush has undoubtedly heard stories from car owners about how a flush damaged their transmission.  While some of these stories may be accurate others are questionable or even completely inaccurate. 

As mentioned at the beginning of this knowledge article, a transmission flush can be performed by a repair shop using a flush machine or as a DIY project using the transmission's internal pump to flush the old fluid out and the new fluid in. In almost every case, when a vehicle owner states that his or her transmission failed shortly after a flush was performed the flush was done using a high-pressure flush machine at a repair facility. Here's why:

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A transmission flush machine uses high pressure along with a cleaning agent to flush the old fluid out of the transmission while simultaneously cleaning the internal parts.  During this process, the high-pressure cleaning does such a thorough job that it dislodges dirt and debris that the transmission’s internal pump is not strong enough to do.  If, while being flushed through the transmission, a piece of debris becomes lodged in a more crucial are of the transmission it can cause problems, even catastrophic transmission failure.  High-pressure flushing machines can also blow out internal seals in high-mileage transmissions.

NOTE: High mileage vehicles that have not routinely had transmission flushes performed are at the greatest risk of damage resulting from a high-pressure flush.

TIP: For high-mileage vehicles that have not routinely been flushed, A DIY flush using the transmission's oil pump or a fluid and filter change is the appropriate service.

Where to have your transmission flushed

Many, but not all, transmission repair shops and automobile dealership service centers offer a transmission fluid flush service.

keep reading How much should you pay for a transmission flush?

do-it-yourself mechanic Automatic Transmission Flush
Step-by-Step DIY Instructions

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