Extending Transmission Life by Reducing Heat

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Articles, Automotive 101

Today’s automatic transmissions generate a lot of heat as you drive. That heat is a normal byproduct of transmission operation. Heat is also one of the most common causes for transmission failure. That’s why automotive engineers put so much effort into reducing or eliminating that heat.

Here are a few things you can do to help reduce heat and extent the life of your transmission:

1. Avoid Hard Accelerations — Hard accelerations create a lot of friction and heat in the transmission. Take it easy on the gas pedal: You’ll save gas, and your transmission will live longer.

2. Service the Cooling System — Your car’s radiator also cools the transmission. And heat will start to damage the transmission long before the engine appears to overheat. So a regular cooling system service can help your transmission run cooler… and last longer.

3. Service the Transmission — Over time, automatic transmission fluids can oxidize and experience something called shear. When that happens, the transmission clutches begin to slip. That slip creates friction, which, in turn, creates heat. Fresh fluid every couple years can prevent the slip caused by shear, and keep your transmission working properly for years.

4. Add a Transmission Cooler — If you travel a lot in extremely high temperatures, in mountainous terrain, or carry a lot of weight in your car, an auxiliary transmission cooler is a great way to reduce heat and add years to your transmission’s life. Your local ATRA Member shop can help you find the right auxiliary cooler for your car and install it properly for you.
Your nearby ATRA Member shop can evaluate your car and your personal driving situation, and make the best recommendations for extending the life of your car’s transmission.

To find an ATRA Member shop in your area, click the Shop Finder link.
If you have any questions, you can e-mail ATRA's Technical Department through the Technical Services page or call 1-866-GO-4-ATRA (1-866-464-2872).

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