A transmission fluid change should make your vehicle run better, not cause new problems. But in some cases, shifter issues, slipping, and leaks arise after a fluid replacement.
Not all post-change problems mean the mechanic made a mistake. Let’s look at the two most common reasons you car has problems after a transmission fluid change.
See Also: Transmission Fluid Change vs Flush
Top 2 Reasons For Transmission Problems After a Fluid Change
When you change your transmission fluid, you should not have any problems shifting gears or maintaining certain driving speeds. You also shouldn’t hear any unusual noises or experience any unusual symptoms.
However, there are cases when drivers will feel something wrong or hear noises coming from the transmission soon after they have changed their transmission fluid. This often makes them wonder why because they figure changing the fluid would have prevented strange things like this from happening.
So, why do these problems occur after the fluid has been changed? Below are two of the most common causes after a fluid change.
Related: Transmission Fluid Color Chart
#1 – Varnish Deposits
When you have old or burnt transmission fluid, it may become discolored and cause varnish deposits to build up inside the system. These deposits typically float around the old fluid and don’t really build up anywhere as you continue using the same fluid.
However, once you change the old fluid with new fluid, these deposits get washed away and it becomes sludge that sticks to the filters of your transmission system. This prevents transmission fluid from flowing through the transmission, which results in those strange noises to be heard.
Therefore, you need to flush your transmission before adding new fluid. That is the best way to ensure that no pathways get clogged within the transmission.
#2 – Wrong Type of Transmission Fluid
It is best not to use traditional transmission fluid that is petroleum-based because these will leave the most deposits behind. Once these deposits build up on your filter and restrict the transmission fluid from flowing, it will cause the transmission’s components to heat up and create more friction.
This will result in clunking and other noises that you don’t want to hear. Fortunately, there are synthetic transmission fluids which are formulated to ensure that these components stay lubricated and that the gears shift smoothly. You will find this fluid marketed as “trans medic” in most cases.
Transmission Fluid Cost
The good news is that changing transmission fluid isn’t horribly expensive. Expect to pay $40 to $100 for new fluid since most modern vehicles need anywhere from 5 to 15 quarts. You’ll also need a filter and possibly a new pan gasket. However, the hardest part for most people will be replacing the old transmission fluid with the new fluid.
For this, you may have to go to a mechanic and have them perform the job for you. This will mean paying their hourly labor charge of between $80 and $110. So at minimum, you’re looking at a total cost of between $150 to $250 when you get your transmission fluid replaced by a professional.
Also, you may need to have them clean and flush the transmission too, so you can ensure that those deposits built up in the system are removed.
See Also: Code P0730 (Transmission Issue)
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