Preventive maintenance isn’t something we think about very often. We’re all incredibly busy these days, and who really wants to stop and add one more thing to our to-do list? But taking care of your car’s transmission isn’t just one more thing. In fact, it can help prolong your car’s life and help you avoid a costly repair bill down the line. If you’re proactive about your transmission, you can be more confident that one of your car’s most important components will work for you for tens of thousands of miles to come.
Only Use the Shifter When You Need It
Chances are, you drive a car with an automatic transmission. If you do, try to avoid resting your hand on the shifter lever (or knob) while you’re driving. Working the shifter is necessary for a car with a manual transmission, but not if the transmission automatically shifts gears.
Make Sure to Come to a Complete Stop
Another common cause of transmission wear is shifting between settings when the vehicle is still moving. For example, if you’re backing up out of your driveway and you switch the transmission from reverse to drive before the vehicle completely stops, you’re putting added stress on your vehicle. You can avoid this by shifting gears only when the vehicle is at a complete stop.
Speaking of coming to a complete stop, you might consider using your parking brake when the vehicle is at rest. Applying the parking brake when the vehicle is parked (especially on an incline) helps take stress off the parking pawl and can avoid major damage to the transmission.
Don’t Forget to Flush!
One of the best things you can do to make sure your car’s transmission keeps doing its job is to keep tabs on its fluid. Like so many other vehicle parts, your transmission needs a specific kind of fluid to operate. And just like your engine and brakes, transmission fluid eventually runs out or goes bad.
If you replace your transmission fluid at intervals recommended by the manufacturer, you’ll be able to minimize wear to the gears and parts, which means you’re less likely to have to pay the high cost of transmission failure down the road. It’s important to note that not all vehicles can be flushed and it’s best to refer to the recommendations in the owner’s manual or what the manufacturer recommends.
If you’re pressed for time, Valvoline Instant Oil Change can replace your car’s transmission fluid in as little as 20 minutes. Better yet, having this important service done at your local Valvoline Instant Oil Change can save you as much as 50 percent.* And to make things even more convenient, you can wait out the entire service in your car.
*Based on a 2021 survey of Dodge, Ford, GM, GMC, Honda, Kia, Mercedes and Toyota dealership national average pricing. Average savings on air conditioning recharge, automatic transmission fluid exchange, battery replacement, cabin air filter, differential, fuel system cleaning services, radiator fluid exchange and serpentine belt ranges from 30% to 50%. Excludes special offers and discounts.
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