Your vehicle’s transmission needs to be taken care of if you want it to last. Every car owner should know the service required to properly maintain their gearbox. With the help of Consumer Reports (CR), here are some transmission maintenance basics you need to know.

Changing Transmission Fluid

transmission fluidThe transmission fluid needs to be changed periodically, especially if you plan on keeping your vehicle for an extended period of time. No transmission is the same, so how much you’ll pay and how long it’ll take varies from vehicle to vehicle. For example, according to RepairPal (a CR partner), the cost to change the transmission fluid on a 2010 Toyota Camry – a popular used vehicle – averages between $163 and $242.

Transmission fluid is designed to keep mechanical components cool and lubricated. Depending on the vehicle, the mechanic will either drain the fluid or power-flush the system. To know exactly when a transmission drain (or flush) is recommended, research your vehicle online or refer to your owner’s manual.

How Often Should I Change My Transmission Fluid?

You should change the fluid when the transmission’s parts begin to wear and particles start to contaminate the fluid. The easiest way to determine if the fluid needs to be changed is by having a mechanic put the vehicle on a car lift and examine it. If the vehicle is scheduled for routine maintenance, request that the mechanic check the transmission fluid as well.

It isn’t recommended that you change the transmission fluid on your own – unless you have the mechanical skills and tools available. Some vehicles’ transmissions are located under the hood, but most cars need to be lifted to get to it. The plug may also be sealed so tightly that it might be impossible to remove without special tools.

Getting Into Your Next Car

Keeping your transmission fluid fresh is important. Used cars, or vehicles that you know will be kept for a long period of time, need at least one transmission fluid change over their lifetime.

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