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Vehicle Fluids Part II: Automatic Transmission Fluid

Every vehicle is so intricately designed and has thousand of little parts that play many different roles that allow the vehicle to perform the way that it does. The transmission plays a huge role in the performance of your vehicle. Simply put, the transmission works to transfer the power from the engine to the wheels so that it can move forward. Of course, it is way more complicated than that, but we can just stick to the basics. There are four types of transmissions: Manual, Automatic, Continuously Variable Transmission, Semi-Automatic and Dual clutch Transmissions. All moving parts require lubrication and that goes for the transmission, as well. The fluid will protect and clean metal surfaces, extend rotational speed and temperature ranges. It also provides the proper viscosity, it prevents foam build up and the oxidation of the fluid, which extends the life of the fluid. Transmission fluid improves the cooling ability and reduces high temperatures and will condition gaskets so they stay supple and resilient for a long time. There are two more notable transmission fluids known as DEXRON and the MERCON. They both include friction modifiers and most other grades of transmission fluid is based off the former and the latter. Most car manufacturers today use these fluids in their vehicles. There are other transmission fluids that are oil and synthetic based that provide different properties like longer life and more effectiveness with high heat. There is type F, which is mostly used in cars from the 70's and is not so common today. HFM fluids is Highly Friction Modified, which is used in vehicles that need a little more extra friction reduction. Lastly, the synthetic fluids are becoming more popular these days in that they offer better performance and service. It also improves resistance to heat, cold, oxidation, friction and shearing. It is slowly becoming the standard, but it does come at a higher price because it is a little more costly.

All of the above transmission fluids are for the automatic vehicles. Manual transmissions necessitate different types of fluid. Most shops offer full synthetic based oils for the manual transmissions to again, improve lubrication and reduce friction from rotation. Today's manual transmissions are very sophisticated five and six speeds and high performance transmissions that require application specific lubricants. It is suggested that for all wheel drive and 4x4's need to be serviced every 80,000 to 100,000 miles.

Do to the fact that the transmission is such a key component to the vehicle's reliability and value, taking care of the transmission is absolutely essential. That being said, the transmission fluid should definitely be serviced to maintain smooth shifting. Some manufacturers have been known to consider automatic transmission fluid as a fluid that lasts a lifetime while other manufacturers believe it should be changed based on mileage and usage.

We at Shige's Premier Auto Service believe the latter of the two. The transmission is such an essential and vital element of a working vehicle that the fluid should definitely be monitored at each service interval.

Have you ever had your transmission serviced? Not sure? Well, give us a call or visit our website to schedule a reservation today! We can do a full comprehensive courtesy inspection to show you exactly what your transmission fluid looks like. Don't wait too long! We want you to make the best investment into your vehicle!! Shige's Premier Auto Service is here to help you out, always!!