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Automatic Transmission Service Intervals

Why is an automatic transmission service needed?

Following automatic transmission service intervals will extend the life of your transmission. Heat is the number one hazard for automatic transmissions. When fluid overheats, its ability to lubricate and protect internal transmission components and clutches is decreased. The damage quickly worsens as a failing clutch creates additional heat, which can lead to a complete failure in a very short period of time.

Summer driving, especially pulling heavy loads, can reduce fluid life considerably. For example, if a 30k mile fluid service interval is normal, stress to the fluid as described above may reduce the service interval to 15k to 20k miles instead. With either normal or severe transmission use, the service life of the fluid is limited and replacement recommendations shorten to avoid exposing components to excess friction from decreased lubrication. Fluid condition controls the life of a transmission more than any other factor.

Automatic transmission recommended service intervals

Automatic transmission service and maintenance procedures are not recommended as often as engine oil changes. This means auto owners can easily forget its time for this service. Sometimes an owner may not want to pay for the service, which normally runs around $160.00. Failure to have these maintenance services completed can lead to untimely transmission wear or damage requiring repair or overhaul that cost in the range of $2500 to $3000.

Auto owners who plan to keep their vehicle maintained need to know when to service their transmission. While each vehicle manufacturer has recommended transmission service intervals, they are often much longer than most master transmission technicians recommend. While it’s difficult to say for sure what is behind this difference, many in the repair industry speculate that reduced maintenance cost projections appeal to cost conscious buyers and result in more new car sales.

Honda Transmission Service Interval chartIt can be confusing to the vehicle owner when recommendations vary so much. Many dealership service professionals suggest transmission service intervals at a lower mileage than the vehicle owner’s manual. AutoTranz master transmission tech, Lyle, recommends a 30,000 mile service interval for vehicles not exposed to severe driving conditions. Compare that to some OEM transmission service intervals below:

  • 06 Buick Lucerne, 05 Chevrolet Suburban recommendations 50k miles service for severe driving conditions; 100k miles for normal driving conditions
  • 2000 Toyota 4 Runner has one of the best recommendations for all its gear boxes at 30k miles
  • 02 Nissan Murano recommends inspection only for normal conditions with service at 60k miles when severe driving conditions apply
  • 03 Honda Accord recommends 120k miles under normal conditions

While skeptics suspect aftermarket transmission builders are shortening the distance to get more money from car owners, their 30k recommendation has been standard for years. Still, there is justification for extending service intervals on newer vehicles driven in non-severe conditions with recent improvements in transmission fluids and precision component machining.

We hope these tips about automatic transmission service intervals have been informative and helpful to expand your understanding of the topic. We believe our responsibility is to explain the importance of these and other maintenance services to the safe and efficient operation of your vehicle. We are committed to helping you manage maintenance expenses for your vehicle so you can save money on auto repairs.

If we can help you with any of your vehicle need, please call us today (208) 722-7429 or contact us online. Be sure to watch for our next transmission tip and advice post about the different types of transmission services.

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