Transmission Maintenance Tips: How To Maximize Performance and Efficiency

close-up of a car’s automatic transmission

Extend Your Transmission’s Life 

Aside from your engine, your transmission is one of the most expensive components of your vehicle. At Lamb’s Tire & Automotive, we perform transmission service and transmission repair on a daily basis, and we see a lot of transmission failures that could have been prevented with proper care and maintenance. Many drivers whose vehicles have damaged or malfunctioning transmissions had no idea that transmission repair could have been avoided with a few small tips and changes in their driving behavior.

At Lamb’s Tire & Automotive, we not only provide fantastic transmission repair services, but we also offer insightful car care tips to minimize the likelihood of a breakdown. Be sure to schedule service today and allow our experts to perform quality transmission service on your vehicle to minimize the chance of transmission failure. Also check out our Transmission Shop Guide for more valuable tips and insights on maintaining your transmission.

Why Maintaining Your Transmission Is Important 

Your transmission is responsible for transferring the torque from your engine and delivering it to your driving wheels. Regardless of whether you drive an economy car with an automatic transmission, a sports car with a manual transmission, or a pickup truck with a heavy-duty transmission, this vital component is important to the operation of your vehicle.

Some drivers may stay on top of oil changes and other engine services but neglect their transmission service. Routine transmission service ensures that your transmission can properly lubricate and cool itself as it handles your driving demands. This is especially important during times of heavy load, such as spirited driving or towing.

Neglecting your transmission service means that the fluid in your transmission that is designed to lubricate and cool its gears becomes dirtier and less effective. Eventually, components inside your transmission begin to overheat and fail.

How To Maximize Transmission Performance and Efficiency 

Perform a Transmission Fluid Exchange

Because your transmission fluid can get dirty and oxidize, it's important to perform a regular transmission fluid exchange as a part of your routine maintenance schedule. We recommend this service be performed every 30,000 to 60,000 miles to keep your transmission protected throughout your vehicle's lifetime.

It’s also important to note that a transmission fluid exchange offers better protection than a transmission fluid flush. Many drivers hear these two terms used interchangeably, but they are, in fact, two different services.

Transmission Fluid Exchange

With a transmission fluid exchange, the drain plug of your transmission is opened, and gravity allows the fluid to flow freely into a collector pan. New transmission fluid is then poured into your transmission before you're set on your way. The problem with this service is that transmissions have many nooks and crannies where dirty fluid can hide. In fact, a transmission fluid exchange may replace as little as 40% of your transmission's dirty fluid. In addition, mixing new fluid with old fluid can lead to further problems.

Transmission Fluid Flush 

During a transmission fluid flush, your vehicle is hooked up to a fluid exchange machine that pumps new fluid into your transmission while removing the old, dirty fluid. The benefit of the service is that virtually all your old transmission fluid is cleared from the system, including loosened sludge that could have led to problems. If you're interested in learning more about what a transmission flush is and why it's essential for your vehicle's health, check out our ”What Is a Transmission Flush?” in-depth guide.

Take Extra Care if You Tow, Race, or Drive Off-Road

Whether you tow occasionally or on a regular basis, your transmission has to work overtime every time you pull the extra weight. If you tow regularly, we recommend increasing the regularity of transmission service. While this may sound like overkill, the truth is that your transmission can get quite hot during towing, hauling, and off-roading. Hot transmission fluid that has boiled or overheated has likely oxidized and lost its cooling and lubricating properties. Continuing to drive with oxidized transmission fluid is one of the fastest ways to welcome transmission failure. 

Use the Right Gear

While the majority of today's vehicles use an automatic transmission, there are a few things that you can do while driving to optimize your transmission's performance and extend its life span.

While Towing

If you're towing or hauling a heavy load, be sure to use the tow/haul mode on your transmission. This feature automatically downshifts to keep power up and protect your transmission. Putting excess amounts of torque on high transmission gears can lead to slippage and hard shifting.

While Traveling Up a Mountain

If you're ever traveling on mountain roads, you may notice that your vehicle is gear hunting,”  or constantly shifting gears as it struggles to get you up the mountain. When this occurs, it means that your transmission is struggling to advance up the slope. If your vehicle is equipped with a manual shifting mode, we recommend that you use this feature to downshift one or two gears until you reach a more even grade. 

Get a Wheel Alignment

You might be wondering what wheel alignment has to do with caring for your transmission. However, wheel alignment is more important than you may think. If your wheels are out of alignment, this increases your vehicle's rolling resistance and forces your transmission to work harder to move you forward. 

We recommend performing a wheel alignment on your vehicle every two to three years as a part of your normal maintenance routine. However, there are times when your wheels may suddenly become misaligned, and a wheel alignment is necessary. Here are a few instances that may cause you to need a wheel alignment sooner than normal:

  • After hitting a pothole or curb
  • After off-roading
  • After a collision
  • After an emergency maneuver 
  • After a day at the racetrack

Schedule Service at Our Transmission Shop Today

At Lamb’s Tire & Automotive, we provide all the transmission repair and services that your vehicle will ever need. We staff our service center with ASE-certified mechanics who perform maintenance and repair services on all makes and models.

Our transmission shop even strives to save you money by offering fantastic service specials. Schedule an appointment with Lamb’s Tire & Automotive to make sure that your transmission is performing at its best.

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