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Tech Question on Your Transmission


My name is Suzanne. We were taking a camping trip over a three-day weekend. About half way to our campsite, the transmission went out on our SUV. It took all weekend to get towed out and get back home.

What can I do to prevent transmission problems in the future?


Transmission repairs can be expensive. On top of that poor Suzanne was out in the middle of nowhere. Her vacation weekend turned into three days of car repairs.

Look, transmissions are tough and durable. All you must do to maintain them is replace the fluid on schedule. The fluid gets contaminated with bits of clutch plates and metal. Dirty transmission fluid under pressure acts like liquid sandpaper, eating away at important gaskets and seals.

Then your transmission doesn’t shift as well. It can start to leak and overheat. And then you could end up like Suzanne.

Another thing: if you carry heavy loads or tow a trailer, your transmission is working much harder and running hotter than under normal conditions. Your transmission fluid may need to be changed sooner. Check your owner’s manual for your severe service schedule or talk with your service advisor about when you should have your transmission serviced.

If you do a lot of towing, consider adding an external transmission cooler to reduce transmission operating temperatures and extend its life.