Transmission Maintenance

Most drivers don’t think about how their car is able to turn on and run every day when they get in it. They’re just happy that it gets them from place to place. Transmission fluid plays an important role that’s worth learning about. After all, transmission repairs can be quite costly, and if there’s something you can do to prevent them, you should! Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care has some transmission maintenance insight for our drivers in Durham, North Carolina.

Transmission Fluid

Transmission fluid protects the parts in the transmission in the same way that motor oil protects the engine. And like motor oil, it degrades over time such that it cannot offer the same protection or benefits. That’s when it needs to be changed out. Fresh transmission fluid is red or pinkish and will gradually turn dark burgundy, brown, and black as it ages and burns.

Transmission Flushes

Changing the transmission fluid isn’t as easy as a normal oil change. Although you can do a normal drain, it doesn’t get all of the fluid out. At Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care, we perform transmission flushes to replace the fluid. It involves hooking the transmission up to a professional-grade machine that runs a solution through the fluid lines, flushing out the old oil with it. The cycle continues until the lines come out clean, and then our technicians can move forward with the new fluid.

Signs You Need a Flus

You should get transmission flushes based on your mechanic’s recommendations as part of preventative maintenance. But if you notice strange behavior or symptoms from your vehicle, that’s a good reason to seek out service.


Grinding or other strange sounds might indicate a transmission problem. It’s worth checking the fluid to ensure it is still bright red and at the right level.

Problems Shifting

If the fluid has too much dirt or sludge, the transmission may be sluggish in response. Delayed shifting or other similar problems should be your signal to contact a mechanic.

Slipping Gears

Dirty transmission fluid can’t keep the transmission clean. And when that happens, there might be a lack of hydraulic power, leading to gear slippage from inadequate pressure.

Vehicle Surging

Old fluid doesn’t flow as easily. Without proper fluid circulation, parts don’t have lubrication to move smoothly. This could cause the vehicle to surge or jerk.

Delayed Movements

Contaminated transmission fluid may also cause vehicle stalls before gear transitions. If a technician doesn’t identify other problems, a transmission flush can help.