Why You Should Regularly Service Your Automatic Gearbox
Have you ever skipped over a bit of maintenance for your car because you thought it was a “waste of money”? Perhaps you were a little short on funds one month so you thought the car could do without its regular service or maintenance because it seems to be running just fine anyway, right?
If you’ve ever thought in this way, then you’ve engaged in a classic fallacy that actually puts your car — and by extension, you and your passengers — in some jeopardy. In today’s blog, we’ll be exploring all of the main reasons why you should always keep up with regular servicing and maintenance of your car, but especially on the transmission.
Skipping an oil change while you wait for some cash to come in over a week might not do any long term damage if the oil isn’t in too bad condition at the time, just as your filters might squeeze out a little extra time if needed. When it comes to the transmission, however, this won’t do at all, and doubly so for an automatic gearbox, and below we’ll explain why.
Reasons to Regularly Maintain an Automatic Gearbox
Maintenance Prevents Overheating
If there’s one thing that can drastically increase the risk of undue wear and tear against your car, it’s excess heat. Whether this heat is in the engine, the transmission, on your brakes, or elsewhere, too much heat is bad news for your vehicle, which is why there are so many components and systems designed to keep the thing cool.
Your automatic transmission is a hub of moving metal parts, many of which are in almost constant motion and contact with each other. This naturally creates a lot of friction, and therefore a great deal of heat, but when you keep the gearbox properly maintained, as well as topped up with the right fluid (see below), then it will work better and will only wear down at about a regular and acceptable rate.
It Keeps Transmission Fluid in Check
Transmission fluid is the lifeblood of your automatic gearbox, just as oil is the lifeblood of your vehicle’s engine. In our previous point, we mentioned the constant threat of overheating caused by too much friction among the many moving metal parts in the transmission, and this is a key problem that transmission fluid is meant to solve. By simultaneously cooling and lubricating all the parts, the transmission can flow smoothly and without excess heat being allowed to develop and do its damage.
The trouble is, however, that sooner or later you will have to change this transmission fluid. Just as your engine oil gets contaminated with metal shavings, grit, dirt and other pollutants, the transmission fluid experiences contamination that eventually renders it unable to perform its primary function. This is where regular servicing comes in handy. When you service the gearbox regularly, a qualified mechanic can check the condition of your transmission fluid and be sure of whether it can continue until its next service date, or whether it needs flushing and changing.
Some automatic transmissions won’t need a fluid change until they reach a 30,000-mile, 60,000-mile, and sometimes even a higher interval. It depends largely on the car brand you drive, and how you drive that car. The harder you push any car, the harder its various fluids have to work.
The Lifespan of the Transmission is Extended
When you regularly service your transmission, you will ensure that it goes on serving you for a longer period. There’s no reason at all that a quality transmission shouldn’t last a driver 100,000 or more miles, but if you expect to reach such a milestone, then regular servicing is needed. Too many people would hear that fact about a transmission’s lifespan and automatically think: “my transmission has got plenty of life left in it, why do I need to spend so much on servicing and maintenance?”
The problem with this question is that it ignores an important fact: the transmission lasts 100,000+ miles entirely because it has been properly and regularly serviced and maintained, and hopefully always by qualified professionals. It’s not the case that you don’t need to service it because it seems to be working alright at the moment, it’s the opposite! It’s running well because it’s serviced. That’s critical to remember.
It Will Save You Money in the Long Term
Another classic error that people make is the assumption that skipping routine maintenance now will save money. Sure, a routine service and maintenance session on your transmission might cost £100 or more depending on what you need, but if you skip that, you absolutely are not saving yourself the £100+ at all. In fact, you’re dooming yourself to a far larger and more serious repair bill later on.
An automatic transmission is an incredibly intricate and an increasingly advanced piece of mechanical (and digital) technology. The cost of replacing it easily runs into the thousands of pounds, sometimes as high as £10,000 if you have a very cutting-edge system. Regular servicing keeps the system in good order and will ensure you never get hit with huge and unmanageable bills.
Maintenance Improves Efficiency and Performance
Next, a well-maintained and properly serviced automatic transmission will serve you better and ensure that your car runs efficiently. With a fully functioning automatic gearbox, you’re sure to get smoother gear shifting, and thus minimum lag or sluggishness when accelerating, for example, which can be very important when you’re pulling out onto a busy junction. In these days of expensive and rising fuel prices, too, the last thing you want is a transmission that works more like a gas-guzzler. Timely servicing will ensure maximum efficiency at all times.
A Car with a Well-Maintained Transmission Has Greater Resale Value
Finally, if you are like most people and plan to eventually sell your current car in favour of another one, then having a car with a properly serviced transmission can add to its overall value. Of course, a car is always a depreciating asset, but those who have followed their maintenance schedule and kept the vehicle in better order can more easily find a willing buyer, even if the price is a little over what one might expect.