Many vehicle manufacturers require a transmission service as part of the routine vehicle maintenance, and is normally performed at certain mileage intervals. In the past, some manufacturers recommended a transmission service every 30,000 miles, however currently manufacturers suggest service at a much higher interval such as 100,000 miles, and in some cases it is not needed at all. With all of these changes, you may be left wondering what you should be doing with your vehicle.
Automatic Transmission Service
In this service we will normally drain the fluid, drop the service pan, and change the filter on the valve body inside the transmission. This service should normally be completed per your manufacturer mileage intervals although some manufacturers indicate a lifetime fluid service and it never should be changed. If the vehicle has a history of this service being done at regular intervals, it is recommended to keep servicing the transmission regardless of the “lifetime” service claim. If there is no record of a transmission service and the vehicle has under 60k miles, it is usually ok to start servicing that transmission to get the vehicle on a regular schedule. If you are unsure and the vehicle has over 60k miles, you should not service the transmission unless the manufacturer recommends it at a higher interval as seen in some CVT and Sequential type transmissions we will talk about below.
Continuous Variable Transmission (CVT)
Typically found in the new MINI and Audi vehicles, a CVT transmission is quite different than a normal automatic transmission design although they do share some of the same service requirements. Vehicles equipped with a CVT use special fluid and sometimes will require a filter change. Intervals on a CVT are typically higher than a normal automatic transmission.
Sequential Transmissions (SMG, DSG, etc)
A relatively new product to the street world, and not to be confused with earlier “Tiptronic or Steptronic”, these transmission types are called automatic transmissions by some and have the option of both a manual gearbox and automatic modes. Many earlier manufacturers were offering their automatic transmissions with manual shifting ability via paddles or at the shifter itself. The Sequential Gearbox takes this idea to another level. Although the design changes from each manufacturer, the basic concept usually remains the same. This gearbox will have clutches inside just like a manual transmission along with hydraulic, electric, or pneumatic motors attached to it that are told how and when to shift from a control module on board. These transmissions usually offer a manual mode which allows the control module to simulate an automatic transmission program so the driver does not have to interfere with gear changes. Although these transmissions have manual transmission like clutches inside, they usually do not incorporate a clutch pedal inside the car. The clutch pedal action is also simulated by the computer system. These transmissions can also have a fluid service interval and/or checkup and should be serviced according to the manufacturer service interval. You may also want to ask us to check for any software updates or revisions to make sure your transmission is operating the way it should. These updates can extend the life of this type of transmission many miles.
Manual Transmissions (5-speed, 6-speed etc.)
Many people will forget that their manual transmissions contain fluid inside for gear lubrication. Although this fluid can last a lot longer than an automatic, it should also be changed every so often. We recommend a normal manual transmission service interval at 30k miles. Call us to find out when and if you should be servicing your manual transmission. We feature Redline products an upgrade to some manual gearbox services where applicable.
We do not perform or recommend transmission flushes on European vehicles. Most manufacturers only recommend a fluid and filter change. A flush machine can damage the seals inside the transmission and lead to major damage. Although it is argued that a typical transmission service and filter change does not remove all of the old fluid from the system and does not offer the same protection, we still must side with the manufacturers on this one. Some European vehicles actually allow you to drain the fluid not only from the transmission pan but also from the torque converter allowing you to remove more fluid than a normal pan service. European vehicles are quite different from Asian and Domestic as their fluid pans typically hold a greater percentage of fluid, and this can lead to extended service life although some manufacturer service intervals are still too long.