Four Common Transmission Maintenance Services

January 27, 2012

Periodic transmission maintenance is required to keep your vehicle running smoothly and efficiently. A number of services should be performed during routine transmission maintenance to ensure all components are properly lubricated and in good and solid shape. A lift inspection may reveal any major trouble, while general inspection and replacement of fluids, filters and gaskets will reveal other minor problems that can be fixed along the way. It's recommended to have this service performed every 30,000 miles or every couple of years, whichever comes first. A complete transmission flush may only be necessary if the vehicle is long overdue for transmission maintenance. Significant sludge or grime buildup, or a burnt smell or color of the existing transmission fluid may require a full flush as well. If routine maintenance has been faithfully performed as per recommendation, the simple drainage and replacement of old fluid during this process should suffice.

Replacing the Pan Gasket

One of the first steps to routine transmission maintenance is to replace the pan gasket. This gasket is located around the rim or lip of the transmission pan. The pan gasket can get worn and cracked with the passage of time, leading to transmission fluid leaks. Loss of transmission fluid can cause the car to shift improperly, which may lead to unsafe driving conditions or other mechanical problems. Once the transmission is lowered, the gasket can be replaced quite easily, and the part itself is relatively inexpensive. If the current gasket is reusable, of significantly high quality and not damaged or cracked, it may be possible to clean it off and simply put it back.

Cleaning and Removal of Grime

Buildup of fluid, dirt and grime can cause problems as well. Part of a routine transmission maintenance service is removal and cleanup of any of this sludge. All parts should be wiped free of any debris that has collected over time. This cleanup includes the transmission pan, gasket, if necessary, sealing surface, transmission case and any fluid that may have dripped on the exhaust system while performing the job.

Replacement Transmission Filter

The transmission filter and the old seal, if possible, will need to be replaced. Clogged or dirty transmission filters will cause undue stress and wear on a transmission. Replacement of this filter is one of the important parts of transmission maintenance, but may be easily overlooked. Like the pan gasket, this is a relatively easy and inexpensive replacement and should be taken care of while the transmission pan is off.

Transmission Fluid

Since much of the transmission fluid was cleaned out and drained during the process of replacing filters and gaskets, fluid volumes will need to be returned to factory recommended levels. This is usually done via the dipstick tube located near the engine, and of course performed after all necessary components are replaced and the transmission is bolted back to the vehicle. It's highly recommended to follow manufacturer guidelines when selecting replacement transmission fluid.