Do You Change Your Own Transmission Fluid? Why You May Only Be Doing Half a Job
Do you consider yourself to be a weekend mechanic and love to change the oil on your vehicle from time to time? If so, you may be used to replacing the engine oil and transmission fluid, as specified in the owner's manual. Yet are you really doing this job properly if you have an automatic car or truck, as there may be more to this work than meets the eye?
Half a Job
Deep within the automatic transmission is a crucial part known as a torque converter. Essentially, this converts the engine's horsepower into usable torque, and this will change according to the forward speed of the vehicle. Inside the torque converter are many individual parts that are designed to turn and constantly spin, moving the transmission fluid from one part to the other. As you may know, it is very important to change this transmission fluid as needed so that it is always in good condition and can perform this crucial task. But when you perform that weekend service, you may only be doing half a job.
When the engine stops, some of the transmission fluid will be trapped within the torque converter itself. When you drain the fluid, some of it will remain inside and will blend with the new replacement fluid itself. Unfortunately, any contamination present when you change the fluid will also remain and, over time, could cause damage to the transmission system.
It's not very easy to remove all of this fluid, and special tools may be required. This is why many people take the vehicle to a qualified mechanic instead so the work is done correctly.
It may be necessary to raise the driving wheels off the ground and to run the engine while the fluid is evacuated. While the engine is on and the gearbox is in drive, the torque converter will spin, and this will move the potentially contaminated fluid down to the sump and out into a waiting pan. At the same time, the new fluid must be injected, so there is always a sufficient amount of lubricant within the system. When the time is right, the drain plug can be reconnected, and the gearbox can be topped up before the engine is cut.
As you can see, there is a lot involved here, but it's important to service the torque converter properly for long life.
Contact an automatic transmission service to learn more.