How often should I change my fluid?

Most automotive manufacturers recommend that you change your transmission fluid every 3 years or 36,000 miles (consult your owner's manual). We have found that a good rule of thumb is every 25,000 to 35,000 miles. Your fluid will need to be changed more frequently if your car is driven in city and stop-and-go traffic. If you drive long distances on the highway your fluid will need to be changed less frequently. For cars that are rarely driven or have not been driven for over two years, moisture will collect and this will cause excessive transmission wear, so don't forget those collector cars.

What are considered "normal driving conditions"?

In a perfect world: 60-degree weather, no dust in the air, no starting or stopping and certainly no towing. Actually, very few of us even drive our passenger cars under “normal driving conditions." Vehicles that are driven occasionally or for short distances are in many cases subject to unusual wear. Low mileage transmissions used for city driving are subject to more wear than a car with the same mileage driven primarily on the highway.

What are some of the things that "hurt" my transmission?

Excessive heat will break down the lubricants causing the transmission to wear faster.

Towing or excessive weight in your vehicle, especially when driving your car in overdrive (O / D). All weight needs to be considered. It's not just what you are towing. It is also everything you have loaded into the car for your job or your family vacation.

Not coming to a complete stop before moving from reverse to drive or from drive to reverse.

Why Do Transmission Repairs cost so much?

There’s no doubt about it: Transmission repairs can be expensive. But it’s not so much money when you consider what’s involved in the repairs. Today’s automatic transmissions consist of hundreds of individual components. During a major repair, each one is removed, cleaned, and inspected to exacting tolerances. Any worn or damaged parts are repaired or replaced. Then each part is put together into one of many subassemblies. Each subassembly must be adjusted, and tested for proper operation. Then the subassemblies must be assembled into the transmission case, where the adjustment and testing procedure begins all over again. Finally, once the transmission is completely assembled, it has to be reinstalled. If that’s not enough to justify the cost, there’s something else to consider: Virtually all of today’s automatic transmissions are computer controlled. Which means that the transmission’s ability to operate depends on much more than the condition of the transmission itself. Engine problems now can have a dramatic effect on how the transmission operates. All of which boils down to one, inescapable conclusion: Sure, transmission work can be expensive… but, dollar for dollar, it’s one of the best values around.

How often should I check my transmission fluid?

Transmission fluid should be checked once a month.

A small leak gone unnoticed can turn into a costly transmission repair

Why can't you give me a quote over the phone?

20-or-so years ago, there were only maybe a dozen different transmissions on the road. Every transmission repair shop had a good stock of rebuilt units on hand. There were almost no updates necessary, and even if something unusual failed, most shops had a good supply of used parts on hand to replace it. Today there are more than ten times that many transmissions in use, with new ones showing up all the time. Many of those transmissions have several different variations or calibrations, with as many as a dozen modifications necessary. What’s more, today’s transmissions are computer controlled, which means even though your transmission may not be working properly, there’s a good chance the root cause of the problem doesn’t have anything to do with the transmission itself. To provide you with an accurate assessment of your transmission’s condition and give you an honest estimate for repairs, technicians must perform a series of rigorous tests. They must identify which transmission is in your car, and which version of that transmission it is. Then they have to identify the specific problem, and isolate whether it’s in the transmission or the computer system. Finally, they have to determine the likely causes for the problem, based on a logical diagnostic process. Once they have that information, the shop is able to give you a more accurate explanation of your car’s condition, and put together an accurate estimate of the costs to repair it. There’s just no way to do all that over the phone.

How can I be sure that I can trust a Transmission Repair Shop?

There are a number of ways you can learn if a repair shop is trustworthy or not. One way is to ask for references from people who have been there before. Another is to check with your local consumer protection agency, to see whether they have any records of misconduct by the shop. In the case of a transmission shop, you can also ask for recommendations from your general repair shop: They’ll usually know a nearby transmission shop they can recommend. But one of the best ways to make sure you’re trusting the right shop with your transmission repairs is to take your car to an ATRA-member repair center. Because the ATRA logo is the symbol of excellence and professionalism in the transmission repair industry.

ATRA members are required to maintain an ethical standard unsurpassed in any service industry. These standards require ATRA members to provide honest diagnoses and repairs at a fair price. And ATRA backs that up by providing an arbitration process, to assure you of the highest level of ethical treatment.

Check Engine Light On?

A Diagnostic check-out is the best way to check to see if your transmission is having a problem.