What is a transmission flush?
A transmission flush is a procedure to remove old automatic transmission fluid (ATF), sludge and grime from a vehicle’s transmission and replace it with fresh fluid. The purpose of ATF is to cool and lubricate your automatic transmission. Over time, transmission fluid collects foreign particles that can interfere with these functions -- causing your transmission to generate more friction and heat. Eventually these particles can build up into sludge deposits in your transmission and interfere with shifting and acceleration.
What is a transmission flush good for?
A transmission flush helps maximize the lifespan and performance of your automatic transmission -- one of the most expensive vehicle parts to replace. It does not help with preexisting transmission problems, however.
Is a transmission flush the same thing as changing transmission fluid?
Changing transmission fluid and flushing the transmission are two different services:
- Transmission Fluid Change - Replaces 50%-60% of your transmission fluid. Your transmission pan is drained without special equipment, inspected, and cleaned. The transmission filter is replaced and new fluid is added, leaving a mixture of old and new fluid.
- Transmission Flush - Replaces 100% of your transmission fluid and purges accumulated particles and deposits from the entire transmission. Fluid is expelled from your transmission using a cooler line flushing machine or a pump inlet. The transmission pan is inspected and cleaned, the filter replaced. A complete batch of new, pure ATF is added.
How often should I flush my transmission?
Check your vehicle owner’s manual to see how often your manufacturer recommends transmission flush for your model. Common transmission flush intervals range from every 30,000-50,000 miles to every 3-5 years.
How often should you replace transmission fluid? If you aren’t having full transmission flushes, a common ATF change interval is every 3,000 miles or every two years. Again, check your vehicle’s manual.
Need help choosing which procedure is right for your vehicle? Talk to your local Midas technician. We know transmissions, and we’ll help you design an ATF maintenance plan that works for your vehicle, your schedule, and your budget.
How do I know I need new transmission fluid?
Here are some signs that it’s time to flush your transmission:
- Dark red or brown fluid on your transmission dipstick - Fresh ATF is brilliant red. If the fluid on your dipstick is dark, it means that foreign particles have accumulated in your ATF.
- Transmission slipping - Poor coordination between the engine and your vehicle. If you hear the engine engage but your vehicle seems to respond out of sync, you could have ineffective ATF or a leak.
- Shifting feels or sounds different - Both of these problems can indicate ineffective ATF or a leak.
Midas visually inspects your transmission fluid as part of every Midas Touch Courtesy Check1. But between Midas visits, any transmission problem should be checked out as soon as possible. Your transmission is one of the costliest parts of your vehicle to replace, so fixing a small transmission problem (while it’s still small) is a big win.
How long does it take to flush a transmission?
A trained mechanic can perform a simple transmission flush in three to four hours using a commercial flushing machine or pump inlet. A transmission fluid change takes just about 30 minutes. You’ll need to allow additional time for any other services performed at the same time, such as the Midas Touch Courtesy Check, or a transmission inspection.
Will a transmission flush hurt my vehicle?
An already-compromised transmission should not be flushed. If too much force is applied in the flushing process, it can cause debris to lodge in places that could potentially cause problems.
When in doubt, ask your Midas technician how to best care for your particular transmission.Request Appointment
- Midas Touch Courtesy Check includes visual checks of brakes, battery, air filter, fluids, belts, and hoses.↩