If you drive an automatic car, you've probably become accustomed to the hassle-free operation of the vehicle. Unlike manual transmission cars, automatics do the grunt work of shifting the gears for you, making them easier to drive.
Just as your car's engine needs regular servicing, so too your auto transmission needs to be serviced at regular intervals. Regular servicing of your auto transmission will help keep it working smoothly and reliably, allowing you to maximise vehicle performance.
There are many different types of services tailored to the needs of automatic transmissions. Here are a few essential auto transmission services you should undertake from time to time.
Automatic transmission fluid change service
The automatic transmission fluid (ATF) that flows in your car is like engine oil. It breaks down from normal use and collects excess amounts of dirt over time. These factors make it lose its ability to keep the transmission clean, well-lubricated and running smoothly.
As a part of logbook servicing, you should have your automatic transmission fluid changed as per the time or distance intervals (whichever comes first) recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.
If you fail to undertake fluid changes at the recommended service intervals, your transmission won't engage or stay in gear while driving. This will affect the vehicle's handling.
Automatic transmission filter replacement service
Likened to the engine's oil filter, the automatic transmission fluid filter helps keep the transmission oil clean and healthy by removing contaminating particles from it. Over time, it will become clogged from catching too much dust, dirt, metal particulates and other debris. When this happens, not enough fluid will be circulated through your transmission and this will prevent it from working well.
It's a good idea to check your ATF filter when you're changing your transmission fluid. If the filter is clogged, you can have it replaced during the oil change.
Automatic transmission fluid flush service
Unlike ATF changes, which only require removing some of the old oil and replacing it with new, transmission flushes involve completely removing all of the old oil along with all the built-up sludge before fresh oil is added. These cost more than ATF changes but they help to remove most of the contaminants left behind during regular ATF changes.
Taking good care of your automatic transmission system will go a long way in maximising the performance and lifespan of your car. Contact a car mechanic near you to discuss your vehicle's automatic transmission servicing needs.