Tips to Avoid Automatic Transmission Breakdown
In the previous post about towing and extending the life of your automatic transmission, we covered some very important items. Here are 4 more tips to be aware of when preparing for the trip to the mountains or the desert.
I know you probably get tired of hearing about how important maintenance is, and believe me I understand. It’s not easy, especially in these times, to put money into your vehicle when it isn’t broken. But I also know that you don’t want to breakdown on the road going to or coming from your destination. So here are the tips in no special order.
If you notice anything unusual, check it out right away
Train yourself to listen for any unusual noises while driving. If you feel or hear what seems like an irregular shifting pattern or notice a leak, don’t wait. Get it checked immediately for a potential problem. This may save you money in the long run. If the Check Engine or Transmission lights are coming on, even if the don’t stay on, be sure to have it checked out right away.
Service it sooner rather than later
A general mileage rule for getting your vehicle’s transmission serviced varies depending on who you talk to. Of course always consult your owner’s manual first. If you are not towing or driving in severe conditions (i.e. temperatures in the high 80’s or above or very dusty conditions) a 30,000 mile service or flush interval is normally what is recommended. If you are driving in severe conditions a 15,000 mile interval would be the best recommendation. Be aware that on some newer vehicles, the fluids used may allow for extending these mileage recommendations. Just FYI, the cost of servicing a transmission normally runs between $120.00 and $180.00.
To flush or Not to Flush
Should you flush the fluid rather than having the transmission fluid drained and the filter replaced? Again consult your owner’s manual. What you’ll probably find is that many manuals will not mention flushing at all. Flushing is primarily an aftermarket repair shop recommendation rather than an OEM recommended procedure. I suggest you contact your shop and ask their opinion, but be sure to ask them if they have researched your particular vehicle to determine if the manufacture has a bulletin out on this procedure. Honda, for instance, says NOT to flush transmissions on their vehicles. Their bulletin number HSN 0206-07 gives the reasons why they don’t recommend it.
Be sure the engine and fuel systems maintenance is done
Make sure your engine and fuel system are in good condition and are properly tuned. The automatic transmission can’t function correctly if these systems are not working the way they are designed to work. Often times a repair shop will diagnose a transmission complaint only to find out the problem was with the fuel system rather than the transmission. Don’t waste money by paying for unnecessary diagnosis. Yes you can avoid automatic transmission breakdowns by doing small amounts of maintenance.
Call Dale’s Auto Care at (208) 345-5620 if you have any questions or stop by today in Boise at 2602 Vista Ave.
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