The automatic transmission in your car is relatively durable. Still, often, people don't think about servicing it until it stops working, but there are some things you can do to ensure that the transmission is working correctly. Automatic transmission repair can be costly, so taking steps to avoid it could save money and frustration later.
Check The Oil Level
Automatic transmissions use a hydraulic oil formulated to work inside the transmission system and build pressure to accurately lubricate the gear sets. Different transmissions use different oil or fluid, but they essentially all work by pumping oil through a valve body that sends the oil to the right places, shifting the transmission when it needs to.
If the oil level gets low inside the transmission, the pump can not efficiently pressurize the system, and the transmission will not shift properly or could start slipping when it is in gear. Taking a few minutes to check the oil level in the transmission once a month and adding some if it is low can be critical. The additional oil can ensure that the system works properly, preventing damage and wear due to the low oil level that could help avoid expensive transmission repairs.
Service The Transmission
The most common oil and filter change intervals for an automatic transmission are much larger than the engine oil, but they still need to be done. Your owner's manual will give you the mileage interval for service, but on average, when your car hits fifty thousand miles, you should consider having the transmission oil and filter changed and the unit inspected.
The inspection will include looking over the outside of the transmission case, the cooling lines, and the linkage. Any leaks coming from the case or from a seal require transmission repair and should not be neglected.
If you use your vehicle for towing, you may want to have the service done more often, but follow the manufacturer's recommendation for everyday use. If the transmission is acting up, take your vehicle in for service and have it checked by a technician at a transmission repair shop as soon as possible to avoid further damage to the system.
The tech may recommend an oil and filter change as well as a transmission flush to clean out the cooler, the pump, and the valve body before putting new oil in the transmission. The cost of the flush is typically not extremely high, and if you have over fifty thousand miles on your transmission and you experience any odd behavior from it, the flush could make a real difference.