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Your transmission is one of the most specialized components on your vehicle, and it requires care to keep it operating at its best. Looking after your transmission allows you to catch small problems early, before they turn into major issues requiring extensive repairs.
While it's not possible to prevent the general wear and tear that occurs during the normal lifespan of a transmission there are a few things you can do to prevent premature breakdowns.
Here are some things that you can do, to help prevent transmission damage and failure.
Check the Fluid
Checking the fluid of your transmission should be done routinely. It's recommended that transmission fluid is changed every 60-100,000 miles for automatic transmissions, and every 30-60,000 miles for manuals. Low fluid, black fluid, or a burning smell could indicate transmission problems are in the near future. If you check your fluid regularly you will know when the problems started, and have a better chance at catching it early. In some cases, this prevents a problem from becoming worse.
Use the Correct Fluid
When adding fluid to your transmission, be sure to use the type that's specified for your vehicle. Transmission fluid varies from vehicle to vehicle so make sure you are adding the correct type.
Avoid Overfilling Your Transmission
Overfilling the transmission with fluid is a common, yet potentially costly mistake. Overfilling the transmission fluid can cause the fluid to foam, which can lead to lack of lubrication and potential transmission damage. Follow the manual for careful instructions on how to check and add transmission fluid.
Studies show that nearly 90% of all transmission failure is caused by overheated transmissions. To prevent overheating, never overload your vehicle, or put too much stress on the transmission, as this can lead to premature failure or damage.
Don't Rock Your Vehicle
'Rocking' your vehicle while on ice, or stuck in sand can be hard on your transmission. If you become stuck in the sand or snow, its best to dig yourself out, and if you must 'rock' then do so as slowly as possible.
Use the Parking Brake
Using the parking brake while parked is one of the easiest ways to prevent transmission failure. This is especially the case when you are parked on a hill or an incline. This will help reduce the stress on your transmission, helping to extend its life.