Get More Miles out of Your Car's Transmissions

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Articles, Automotive 101

Maybe you just spent a lot of money for a new transmission. Or maybe someone else you know did. Whatever the reason, you’d like to avoid major transmission repairs in the future.

Makes sense. And there are a number of things you can do to keep your car’s transmission working properly for years to come. Some involve maintenance; others involve changing your driving habits.

1.  Check the Transmission Fluid Regularly — Few things will reduce transmission operation and longevity more than low or damaged fluid. If your car has a transmission dipstick, you should check the transmission fluid level and condition at least once a month.

One way to keep your transmission in good working order is to check the fluid regularly.

2.  Have the Transmission Serviced Regularly — Regular fluid and filter changes can add years onto your transmission’s life. In fact, it’s probably the most cost effective maintenance procedure available.

3.  Add an External Filter in the Cooler Line — While the filter inside the transmission usually does a good job of removing dirt and particles from the fluid, an extra filter in the cooler line is a great way to make sure of removing all the abrasive particles that can damage your car’s transmission.

4.  Check the Air Pressure in Your Tires — Believe it or not, low tire pressure can rob you of miles from your gas tank, your tires, and the rest of your car… especially the transmission. The extra load caused by low tire pressure can seriously shorten your transmission’s life. Check the tire pressures at least once a month, and keep them filled to the factory recommendation.


Believe it or not, very few things can have a greater effect on your car’s efficiency and longevity than simply keeping the tires filled properly.

The most common cause of automatic transmission failure is heat. You can get more miles out of your transmission by reducing the heat that builds up during normal operation. Here are a few things you can do to help reduce heat, and keep your transmission working longer:

1.  Avoid Jackrabbit Starts — Hard acceleration creates a lot of friction and heat in the transmission. Take it easy on the gas, and your transmission will live longer.

2.  Help the Shift — Most of the friction and wear in the transmission takes place during the shifts. Get to know when your transmission shifts normally. Then, just before the shift, back off on the gas just a bit. That’ll reduce the load on the clutches, and eliminate much of the friction during the shift.

3.  Keep the Cooling System in Good Shape — Your car’s radiator also provides cooling for your transmission. And heat damage will take place in the transmission long before the engine appears to overheat. So regular cooling system service can help your transmission run cooler… and last longer.

4.  Add a Transmission Cooler — If you travel a lot in extremely high temperatures or carry a lot of weight in your car or truck, an auxiliary transmission cooler is a great way to reduce heat and add years to your transmission’s life.

Your local ATRA Member shop will offer the services that can help extend the life of your car’s transmission.
To find an ATRA Member shop near you, click the Shop Finder link.

If you have any questions you can e-mail them to ATRA's Technical Department through the Technical Services page or call 1-866-GO-4-ATRA (1-866-464-2872)

More Automotive 101 articles available.