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Learning about Automatic Transmission Fluid

Transmissions, it is what makes a vehicle shift into another gear. Automatic transmission fluid (ATF) also known as manual transmission fluid or gear lube, keeps parts lubricated so they slip into position. With the shifting mechanical parts occurring inside your vehicle, the parts need to be properly lubricated in order for everything to function properly. Understand the transmission fluid, take care of it and extend the life of your truck.

Why Change Transmission Fluid
Changing transmission fluid is critical to the health of the truck. When to change it, depends on the brand. Automakers’ specific transmission fluids are designed to work best with their vehicles. Check the packaging to see what is recommended. Usually the transmission fluid needs to be changed after 50,000 miles or after five years. Remember, this is a baseline. Most automakers advise their own time of changing fluids. Check your owner’s manual first. Then take the necessary action.

How to Check Transmission Fluid
Unlike oil, check transmission fluid while trucks are running or while they are still warm. The Transmission fluids, when cooled, are very thick, almost like sludge. Running the truck warms the fluid, making if more of a liquid and thus easier to check. Much like the oil, some vehicles allow you to check the transmission via dip stick. Older trucks have a fill plug, or peep hole, that allows someone to look inside of the transmission fluid pan to see if the levels are low or high. However, vehicles from today’s day and age, the transmission fluid pan is usually sealed off so that only the manufacturer can get within to see the fluid levels.

Is there a Transmission Fluid Leak
Automatic transmission fluids come in a variety of brilliant colors. Usually, transmission fluids are red but they also can be amber, green, yellow, or blue. Like any other part of a vehicle, things leak. Transmission fluid is no exception. The brilliantly colored fluids are easy to spot, making it easy to find and repair the leak.

Transmissions often leak from several places:  the pan gasket, the drain plug, or input or output shafts and the torque converter. Another place to check are plugs within the transmission case, however, they do not often occur there. Does it seem like there is a transmission fluid leak? Look under where the truck was parked for the tell tale bright fluid. Check the transmission fluid levels. Add more fluid if it is low. Get any leaks fixed right away.

If for any reason it is believed that a vehicle’s manual or automatic transmission fluid is leaking and the owner cannot see the levels of the fluid himself, it is advised to take the vehicle to a shop to have it looked at. Truck-N-Trailer’s transmission service includes checking for leaks and changing transmission fluid. Ask about our specials. To schedule an appointment please call 405-912-5800.

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