Estimating Transmission Flush Costs

January 27, 2012

Seeking estimates for transmission flush costs from a service garage or dealer can be done without feeling fleeced in the process. It is necessary to understand the value of keeping a transmission maintained, but it's also essential to understand how the modern car service industry works.


A car's transmission transfers power from the car's engine to the drive train and the wheels. Internal to the transmission are numerous gears or wheels that convert the power of the engine to the wheels. These gears are lubricated in transmission fluid to allow clean shifts between gears and reduce the possibility of it overheating. Over time, the fluid in a transmission may become oxidized and shavings from the metal gears may build up to create friction. The value of flushing a transmission's fluids is removing old oxidized fluid and debris while replacing it with clean transmission fluid.


Maintaining a healthy vehicle requires following the manufacturer's maintenance schedule and regularly checking the transmission. The owner's manual will include a maintenance schedule and a reference to flushing the transmission. A good car warranty will include a transmission flush and it's important to review the car's warranty before seeking service.

Researching Estimates

Dealers and service garages can easily access a vehicles maintenance schedule, but before seeking service, record the car's make, model, and transmission information such as fluid type. Seek at least three estimates from qualified repair shops. One of the estimates should be a dealer who will offer original equipment and service policies based on manufacturer guidelines.

Contact a Mechanic

When contacting the repair shops, provide your make and model to the repair shop. Ask the mechanic what is the recommended transmission fluid and the recommended miles or hours for a transmission flush. If a filter is required for the transmission, ask the mechanic the filter manufacturer. Compare all of the results to those identified in the manufacturers guidelines to eliminate frauds and identify repair shops that offer quality service and use quality parts. It's likely that the dealer will be the most expensive, but repair shops that are knowledgeable about the vehicle and respond to the questions accurately can be trusted and the decision can come down to comparing prices.

How the Fluid is Extracted

In fact, due to modern regulatory standards many shops do not drain the fluids from a vehicles transmission into a pan or drain. Rather, most employ a machine which extracts the fluid from the transmission and then refills the transmission through the car's transmission level indicator. The extraction is repeated several times and new fluid inserted until it is considered clean.

A transmission flush is a necessary task in the process of maintaining a healthy transmission. Modern maintenance technologies allow repair shops to be knowledgeable about vehicle transmission requirements along with advancements in the process of flushing a transmission make the process safer. Being knowledgeable about a car's transmission requirements can remove much of the concern around getting estimates from a qualified transmission repair business.

Related Questions and Answers

How Do I Dispose of Dirty Transmission Fluid?

When it comes to getting rid of dirty transmission fluid, you can't just dump it into the street or pour it down your drain when you change your fluids. Dirty transmission fluid has ingredients in it that are considered hazardous materials that can cause environmental problems such as cancer and other diseases that affect both people and animals. It should be taken to an approved disposal company that is licensed to properly process harmful fluids such as used oil or other automotive liquids. Some of these places may charge a fee, but some of them are free. Both manual and automatic transmission fluid are disposed of in the same fashion.

Is a Transmission Oil Flush the Same as an Oil Change?

No, a transmission oil flush is not the same as an oil change. If you do a transmission oil change, you are just draining out the bad oil and putting in some new oil to replace it. However, if you are doing a transmission oil flush, it does more than just replace the old oil. It cleans out the residue and particles that may have accumulated in your transmission and could contaminate the new oil. A transmission oil flush and cleaning process uses a specific kind of solvent that is run through all the components of the transmission at a high pressure to clean it out, and then new fluids are added.

How often should I Get a Transmission Flush Service?

A transmission flush service is a process where the old transmission fluid in a car is cleaned out, and all the other mechanisms, such as the converter, or other parts, are also cleaned out, and all the transmission fluid is removed. It is done to make the motor run more effectively. In order to give your vehicle the best protection, you should get a transmission flush service and change the fluids and filters about once every 30,000 miles. If you have one of the newer vehicles that have the type of transmission fluids that are called AFT, then you need to do the transmission flush about once every 100,000 miles.