5 Tips to Extend the Life of Your Transmission

Most people only care about saving money after the fact, in this case, once a transmission is kaput and repair or replacement is necessary. But if you’re a smart person, and we hope you are, you should be preventing problems from happening and doing everything you can to get the most miles out of your transmission. What’s better? Having a transmission that only lasts 60,000 miles because it develops problems OR having a transmission that lasts 120,000 miles because you took care of it properly? Obviously the latter, because repair or replacement isn’t cheap, and proper transmission maintenance isn’t difficult nor does it cost much. So here are 5 simple tips to extend the life of your transmission.

5 Tips to Extend the Life of Your Transmission

1. Check the transmission fluid on a regular basis

Transmission fluid is obviously an important piece of the story, and routine maintenance of the fluid can go a long way in prolonging your transmission’s life. The most common transmission problems often occur because of low or dirty fluid, so this isn’t something that should be taken lightly. Heat is your transmission’s worst enemy, so you need to do everything you can to prevent overheating. Check the fluid on a regular basis–we suggest once a month–to assess the levels and condition. You can learn a lot just by looking at the fluid, so be sure you know the difference between healthy fluid and bad fluid.

transmission fluid life expectancy - transmission-repair-guy

2. Consider synthetic transmission fluid 

Synthetic fluids have become really popular nowadays because they simply work better than most ordinary fluids. Synthetic fluids provide better performance at resisting heat, cold, oxidation, and shearing, all of which would shorten a transmission’s life in normal circumstances. Most manufacturers are actually using synthetic fluids in place of the previous versions, and you’d be smart to do the same. Although they cost a little more, they are worth it in the long run.

3. Have your transmission serviced every 30,000 miles

tips to extend the life of your transmission - transmission repair guyWe already mentioned checking the fluid regularly for levels and condition, but you should also have your transmission serviced every 30,000 miles or 2 years as well. In most cases, a transmission service refers to a fluid and filter change. This is where the old fluid is drained, the pan is removed and cleaned, the filter replaced, everything is put back, and new fluid is added. A transmission fluid change is one of the most effective maintenance procedure you can have performed on your car, so make sure you get on top of it! The cost isn’t too steep either, and for the average car will range anywhere from $60-$100 if you take it to an auto shop or $40-$75 if you do it yourself. We suggest you learn how to do it yourself, as it isn’t difficult and you’ll be saving an entire lifetime’s worth of money! We show you how to change the transmission fluid here. There is also the choice of a transmission flush, which some consider a better alternative.

4. Add an external filter to the cooler lines

There’s already a filter in the transmission itself that traps all the dirt and particles from coming into contact with the fluid, but sometimes that’s not enough. Adding an additional filter to the cooler line can help to trap even more contaminants, which can help to keep the fluid clean and working as it should.

5. Maintain the Cooling System

Because heat is so bad for the transmission, the car’s radiator is also made to help cool it. With that being said, it’s important to maintain the cooling system as well, preferably once every 2 years. Maintenance should include replacing the antifreeze, checking coolant levels, inspecting for leaks and damage, inspection of hoses and belts, a thermostat check, and a radiator cap pressure test. If you happen to tow heavy hauls or travel a lot in conditions that might trigger high temperatures, you might want to consider adding an external transmission cooler.


So there you have it, 5 simple tips to extend the life of your transmission. Keep them in mind if you want your transmission in tip top shape.