Does the automatic transmission require maintenance? How to keep it healthy

Hated initially by purists but madly loved by those who drive especially in the city, automatic transmission has gradually become a consolidated reality, a faithful companion that thousands of motorists today would never give up after having tried it. An element present more and more often on board the new generation cars, cleared through customs on a large scale by the Smart ForTwo of the Daimler Group and today increasingly accessible in terms of price (so much so that the group FCA / Stellantis focuses on automatic transmission).
It has also successfully arrived on the sportiest cars on the market, as it is capable of guaranteeing superior performance during acceleration. In short, it is a device now adored in a transversal manner by multiple types of users (with Volkswagen thinking of giving up the manual gearbox altogether), however, we often ask ourselves: the automatic transmission also needs maintenance?

How many km should the automatic gearbox oil be checked?

Today we are trying to understand what we can do to keep our automatic transmission healthy, after all, being a mechanical device it needs some attention to give its best.

Several factors contribute to the correct functioning of the automatic gearbox, we think about the driving style, the weight of the car, the temperature, the tire pressure. These elements result in less or greater use of oil, which is absolutely essential for the correct operation of the automatic gearbox. As the weight of the car increases, the consumption of oil also increases, in the same way the changes in temperature between hot and cold can lead to greater consumption. We then named the tire pressure because flat tires can make the engine strain more, therefore also stress the gearbox more. Normally, and on average, it should check the gear oil level every 50,000 km, so as to avoid deposits and other signs of deterioration.

How to check and change the automatic transmission oil

An oil that is aging, perhaps no longer pure and also polluted by the resins of the clutches, it loses its peculiar characteristics with the passing of kilometers, decreasing the efficiency of shifting – not to mention real anomalies in the worst cases.

A perfectly healthy automatic transmission requires viscous oil and remanufactured cup seals, however, the refill is not as simple as for engine oil. With the new generation cars it is practically it is mandatory to visit an authorized workshop for automatic transmission oil changes, since you need to know perfectly the elements that make up a specific automatic transmission and know how to correctly change the oil without damaging the components. More experienced users can in some cases check the oil level thanks to a dipstick, even if its allocation varies from model to model. Similar to what happens with engine oil, just remove, clean and reinsert the dipstick to check the oil level. If the level is lower than recommended, a visit to the workshop is absolutely necessary.

If the oil is at an acceptable level, all that remains is to check its cleanliness: if the color of the oil taken from the rod is red or tending to red, there is no problem, it means that the fluid still guarantees a excellent viscosity. If, on the other hand, the color is too dark it will be necessary to replace it in the workshop.

The control of the automatic gearbox takes place in any case during the overhauls and servicing required by law, therefore the advice is to respect the ordinary maintenance schedule to the letter and entrust yourself to qualified and trained personnel. If, on the other hand, you notice anomalies in the shifting, or if you feel the pace of movement different from usual, now you know that it could be a aged oil problem.

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Lenny Li

I started to play with tech since middle school. Smart phones, laptops and gadgets are all about my life. Besides, I am also a big fan of Star War. May the force be with you!

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