DO I need to change my transmission filter?


Posted on 3/20/2019

Many times when your vehicle is taken in for a rep

Many times when your vehicle is taken in for a repair or when you have it in for an oil change it would make sense to have all of your filters inspected for replacement.  There are several different kinds of filters on cars, with each serving a different function.  Here is an overview of what they do to protect your car and why they need to be replaced on a regular basis to help keep your vehicle running properly.

Oil filter – This automatically gets replaced whenever you come in for an oil change. The oil filter keeps dirt particles from circulating through your engine and keeps them from settling in your oil pan, which is at the bottom of the engine. If dirt particles are allowed to circulate in your engine, they would cause premature wear on the moving parts in your engine. Why? Because the oil in that pan is pumped throughout the engine to lubricate, clean and cool the moving parts. By getting your oil changed on a regular basis, you will assure yourself that you won’t have any oil filter issues.

Air filter – The simplest explanation of the purpose of an engine air filter is that there are a lot of impurities in the air that can get into the engine if not filtered out (think: tiny specks of dirt, dust, sand, pollen and trash). We are entering pollen season and if you consider every time you drive on a highway or any road, all the gravel and dust and dirt that sprays into the air as your car moves forward, you can see how you wouldn’t want any of that in your engine. The air filter protects your car’s motor from all of that and keeps the engine clean. You don’t need to change it as often as you do your oil, but once a year is typically a good idea.

Fuel filter – For gas engines, the fuel filter is there to keep any impurities that might be in the actual fuel at the service station pump, from getting into your fuel tank. What can happen is that if the fuel filter gets clogged enough, less fuel will reach the engine. In this case, you could find yourself in a bind, where you suddenly don’t have enough or any fuel getting to the engine, and the car simply won’t start or stay started. In addition, it may work out where the fuel pump must work harder, due to the fuel filter being clogged, which can lead to the a shorter lifespan of your fuel pump.

For newer vehicles the manufactures are using the term lifetime fuel filter mainly to reduce the maintenance costs of owning a vehicle. These lifetime fuel filters, in most cases are in the fuel tank and are generally unserviceable and should only be replaced if you have an issue.  For many cars, you need to change them every 30,000 miles. Whatever the case, if it’s recommended to you to change the fuel filter, you probably should, or at least not put it off for too long. Although it may vary based on the specific car, generally replacing the fuel filter isn’t overly expensive.

But if it’s recommended that you replace it, you should, so that a clogged fuel filter doesn’t lead to much more expensive problems down the road.

Transmission filter – Most automatic transmissions have a filter that removes contaminants from your transmission fluid. Every automatic transmission pumps high pressure fluid throughout the unit to allow control valves to move fluid flow to different gears which is the shifting process. There are many close tolerances in every transmission where contamination can have a negative effect on the life of the transmission. Being a relatively sealed unit, you are probably wondering how contamination gets into the transmission.

Automatic transmissions use clutch plates to allow for the engagement and disengagement of the gears. These clutch plates produce some level of contamination that needs to be removed. Also, because of the meshing of some of the metal internal components of the transmission some small metal particles are also created. Keeping the transmission fluid clean is essential to maximizing the life of your transmission. Routine maintenance is required on all automatic transmissions. Manufactures vary on the service interval, but a general rule on changing the automatic transmission fluid and filter is every 30,000 – 60,000 miles. Some transmissions are sealed and cannot be serviced. Manual transmissions require fluid change every 15,000 – 30,000 miles. The reason behind changing the transmission fluid is the same reason you change your engine oil. Keeping your transmission fluid changed keeps the lubricating and cooling properties up to manufactures specifications. Keeping the transmission cool is very important because heat is the number one cause for premature transmission failure. So, keep up with the maintenance of your transmission and it will give you many years of problem free service.

Cabin air filter – The good news with regards to your Cabin air filter is, if it’s recommended that you replace it, and you don’t change it immediately, the car will run just fine.

But that means you need to replace it sooner or later. The cabin air filter takes the dust particles and pollen and out of the air that is pumped into your cars ventilation system, making the air you breathe in your car cleaner. A clean filter also allows your air-conditioning to stay cleaner and work more efficiently, another good reason to replace it. Air-conditioning evaporators in the cabin of your car can get contaminated with dirt and pollen from a poorly maintained Cabin air filter. You’ll notice this in the summer when you start your car and get the sour smell from the air vents. It’s generally recommended to change it once a year. Assuming you have one, it’s probably behind your glove compartment and is typically an inexpensive fix.  It can be very important for those who have allergies.

If it has been some time since you have replaced any of the filters for your car or notice any performance issues, be sure to visit your local Milex Complete Auto Care to have one of our certified technicians

check your vehicle.

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Take Away

The transmission is the connection between the engine and the wheels-it delivers the power that moves the wheels. To protect it from damage by contamination, engineers elected a filter right at the entry to sieve any dirt and dust before it reaches the inner system.

This sieving is however only necessary in automatic cars due to their pressurized oiling system which must be accompanied by a filtering solution. Manual transmissions can bear a little adversity although they do not produce as much debris as their automatic counterparts.

Clean Oil

Your mechanic gets your car in the air, drops the oil, and discovers it’s as fresh looking as the day it was put in! Of course, any professional would recommend having the oil changed anyway, but if it is clean, clear, and doesn’t smell burned, you’d be forgiven for just topping it back up and walking away. If the oil is clean, there’s no reason to believe the filter won’t be.

How Often Does The Manual Transmission Fluid Need To Be Changed?

There is no harm in taking your vehicle to the repair shop more times than needed but denying it the care and maintenance it needs can be catastrophic.

Some automotive enthusiasts claim that manual transmission fluid doesn’t need to be changed since it does not have the same harsh conditions as the automatic transmission fluid does, but this is obviously not true.

Like all car parts, the transmission should be serviced as much as needed.

The general rule is to replace the transmission fluid after every 25,000-55,000 miles although this might depend on the car’s usage and owner preferences.

5. Problems Changing Gears

When there's nothing wrong with your transmission,  it will change gears with ease. Yet, when it's compromised or has a partially clogged filter, you'll notice hesitation or slipping when it tries to shift. 

If it feels or sounds unnatural, this can be a major sign that it's time to check your transmission fluid and filter.

If you have a manual transmission, you may notice that your gears seem to grind instead of shifting smoothly. You could hear the change, feel it, or both. While this could mean that you've worn out your clutch, your transmission synchronizers, and even the gears could also be to blame.

In some cases, a simple fluid change may solve the problem.

Take Care of Your Transmission Fluid Filters

You've read this list and pinpointed the problem. You know it's probably time to replace the transmission fluid in your car, along with its filter.

The good news? This is our specialty.

We're transmission repair experts, and we'd love help. Keep your transmission fluid filters clean and Contact us today for professional maintenance services you can trust. Whether you need a new system or a quick fluid and filter change, we'll get you back on the road.