We’re all used to changing out motor oil on a regular basis, but the transmission fluid is a different story. Not only is it harder to check the life of your oil, but it’s also even harder to replace and will require a professional’s touch in order to sort out.
So when do you need to change out your transmission oil? Check your manual for the specifics of your car. It will depend on the type of transmission your car has, how hard you use it, and how much you use it. When tackling any type of lubricant-based maintenance, your main enemies are time and use, so adjust accordingly.
Also, it will depend on whether your car’s transmission is a specialized piece of kit. In the case of the Toyota GR Supra with its ZF transmission, you might want to consider paying more attention to its fluid.
When is it time?
Every 2 to 3 years is a good benchmark for you to routinely replace your transmission fluid. Have it checked by a mechanic every year or every service to ensure that you’re on top of the condition of the fluid.
Or, if you’ve run up about 50,000 kilometers in less than 2 to 3 years, then you might want to get your fluid changed.
Also, transmission fluid deteriorates with heavy use. If your car runs high speeds often, or is under a lot of stress, then you might want to accelerate your time table considerably to prevent any issues from popping up.
Note that these are generalizations and estimations. Make sure to consult your manual if your car has a rather specialized type of transmission that needs extra care.
Signs that your transmission fluid needs changing:
- Rough shifts
- Excess noise
- Transmission fails to shift
- Failure to engage gears
For a quick rundown of signs, slipping means that your transmission experiences a momentary loss of power from the engine to the wheels. Your transmission has to be locked in place, and the fluid makes sure that all the parts responsible are well lubed and moving freely.
Rough shifts happen when a gear feels like it is snagging. This will usually be met with a sudden jerk or a slow shift speed up or down a gear.
When there is metal-to-metal contact, you will usually hear a scratching noise. Either that or your engine is working hard and your car is refusing to shift up a gear.
That being said, if your transmission is staying in first or second gear even when the engine reaches high RPMs, that means that either there is something wrong with the electricals of the transmission unit, or the mechanicals inside aren’t receiving enough lubrication to engage seamlessly.
Meanwhile, failure to go into drive or reverse is also a problem that will manifest itself just as you set off for your drive. If your transmission takes a while or has difficulty getting into gear.