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Tech Tip

The heat is on, and it's time to get transmission and differential fluids tested

We are witnessing heat stress on transmissions, which means it is time to get transmission and differential fluids tested and possibly changed.

When transmission fluid is dark and cloudy, vehicles have been operated repeatedly in high–demand conditions such as extended idling, stop-and-go driving, or towing.

The transmission requires regular maintenance if it is to continue to operate without failure. The maintenance schedule found in your vehicle maintenance guide indicates the appropriate fluid replacement schedule.

For example, if the vehicle is used to tow, operates on dusty, rough, muddy or salty roads, experiences extensive idling, or is used for low-speed driving and short trips, transmission and differential fluids may need to be checked and replaced more often. Most manufacturer' schedule recommends transmission fluid be changed each 20,000 miles or 24 months. For heavier duty, however, manufacturers suggest inspection each 15,000 miles.

At Nippon, we inspect your transmission and differential fluid levels and condition every time you we change your oil.

Keep in mind that the maintenance schedules published by manufactures are generalized for every state. Our state of Arizona is very hot. It is harder on transmissions. Just think of the road heat. We strongly recommend that most vehicles have the transmission fluid changed each 15,000 miles. should inspection show dark and cloudy conditions.

At higher mileage (80, 0000 and up) we encourage you to think about transmission fluid exchange as opposed to transmission drain and refill. By exchanging the transmission fluid, it also provides the opportunity to have the torque converter drained and filled with clean fluid. This service extends the life of your transmission considerably. Give us a call and we will explain this very valuable service.

Keep your transmission fluid filled to the proper level at all times:

  • If the fluid level is too low, the transmission oil pump will draw air, causing the fluid level to mix with air and become aerated. Aerated fluid lowers the hydraulic pressure in the hydraulic control system, causing slippage and resulting in damage to clutches and bands inside the transmission.
  • If the fluid level is excessive (too full), planetary gears and other rotating parts will agitate and whip the fluid, causing symptoms similar to those found with too low fluid level. In addition, aerated fluid will rise within the transmission case and may leak out of the breather plug at the top of the transmission or through the dipstick tube.
  • In addition, always be sure to check the differential fluid in a transaxle. This fluid is sealed off and separate from the transmission cavity in some applications.

A reminder: All transmissions do not use the same kind of fluids. If you can’t visit Nippon, please ask your service provider to verify the type of fluid needed in your

For more information about Nippon Motor Service and our Tech Tips, contact us today.


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