Everything You Need To Know About a Transmission Fluid Flush (2024)

Vehicle performance relies on functioning internal parts. When something goes wrong, you compromise the vehicle’s harmony. In particular, transmission issues are an internal problem that you shouldn’t ignore. In cases of bad fluid, a fluid flush can improve your car. It’s important to understand the components that make up this service. That’s why everything you need to know about a transmission fluid flush is inside this guide!

What Is a Transmission Fluid Flush?

A transmission fluid flush is the process of removing old fluid from an automatic transmission, then replacing it with new fluid. The main purpose is to cool and lubricate the transmission and remove contaminants. Typically, outside particles collect inside the fluid, causing your unit to generate heat and friction. The foreign particles affect shifting and acceleration. Fortunately, a flush removes contaminants like sludge before they can lodge in filters and circulate around the transmission.

Replacing old liquid and working with high-quality fluid improves performance as your transmission runs cooler. Don’t worry about sludge deposits ruining your system by overheating your transmission. And for this service, visit a mechanic to receive a flush.

Are Fluid Flushes Necessary?

Routine transmission fluid flushes are necessary for any vehicle with an automatic transmission. They prevent internal damage like hydraulic line clogs and inner seal wear and tear. The flush decreases the chance of fluid leaks and restores lubrication.

A well-maintained transmission contributes to your vehicle's health. When sludge and particles circulate in the system, your car may delay or change gears too quickly. Both occurrences are dangerous while driving and may lead to road accidents.

Think of fluid flushes as preventative maintenance. Would you rather pay for a flush or a brand-new transmission? The cost-effective answer is a fluid flush. Don’t experience unnecessary damage when you can service your vehicle right.

How Does It Help Your Vehicle

Maximize the lifespan of your automatic transmission with a fluid flush. The new fluid lubricates the system and lets you move without harmful friction. The fluid itself keeps your vehicle on track and functioning right. Like any system, you must replace old components to enable the optimal performance. If you wait too long for a flush, you risk internal deterioration that’ll eventually lead to irreversible damage.

Is a Flush Similar to Changing Fluid?

Changing and flushing your transmission fluid are different things. Changing your fluid involves replacing 50-60 percent of the fluid. You drain the transmission pan and replace the filter. You also place new fluid inside the system. There’s a mixture of old and new fluid inside the vehicle.

On the other hand, a transmission flush replaces 100 percent of the old fluid and gets rid of accumulated sludge and deposits. Professionals use a cooler line flushing machine to pump fluid out of the vehicle. They also inspect, clean, and replace the filter. You the receive fresh automatic transmission fluid.

Many people assume that changing the fluid is enough to improve your system. While it removes some contaminants, your transmission still holds onto bad particles. With continuous changes, there’s no way to completely get rid of deposit. Fluid flushes offer a fresh start with pure fluid.

How Long Does a Fluid Flush Take?

A mechanic can perform a flush between three to four hours using the cooler line flushing machine. This is noticeably longer than the 30-minute process required to change fluid. However, a full flush ensures that all the bad fluid is out of your vehicle so that you can replace it with fresh liquid.

Drawback to a Transmission Fluid Flush

The main drawback to a fluid flush is the price. A transmission flush may range from $100-$400. This is also a job for professionals because it requires a flushing machine.

Mechanics warn people against performing flushes because the process may cause the old fluid to flow back inside the vehicle, lodging debris and particles. This can clog your system. Furthermore, fluid flushes are messy. Reduce the chance of damaging your vehicle by making this is a task for professionals.

Outside of price, there’s no reason to hesitate to get a transmission fluid flush. It helps your vehicle by removing bad contaminants.

Important Note

It’s critical to understand that a compromised transmission shouldn’t receive a flush. During the flushing process, too much force can lodge debris into different places and create further damage. Before undergoing a flush, inspect your transmission. Underlying problems need solutions.

Signs That You Need a Flush

It’s best to get a fluid flush every 30,000 miles (every two years). However, some vehicles require this service sooner than others. If you experienced transmission problems in the past, you know that a minor issue can quickly turn into a bad situation. That’s why it’s important to acknowledge the signs that you need a flush. Here are some indicators:

  • You have issues shifting gears. In particular, your vehicle shifts too fast or too slow. Deposit buildup causes this to happen and it’s time for a flush.
  • Dirty transmissions lack hydraulic power, making you slip gears. If you experience slipping, investigate the issue and get a fluid flush.
  • You see dark red or brown fluid on your dipstick. Healthy fluid has a light red color. Dark shades indicate that contaminants are inside the fluid.
  • Bad transmission fluid has similar symptoms to low fluid levels. In this case, grinding and odd noises may indicate contaminated fluid. While you check fluid levels, assess the liquid’s color. As mentioned, bad fluid is dark and sludge-like.
  • If your vehicle stalls when you put it in gear, it may be time for a flush.

Determining the Health of Fluid

Generally, new transmission fluid is bright red. The color is normal after a flush. However, a slightly darker red shade is normal, too! It just means that the fluid was in your vehicle longer. When colors shift from red to brown, that is reason for concern. Brown fluid means it’s time for a flush. Schedule an appointment soon (within one to two weeks). A dark or black color indicates burnt or ineffective fluid. You need professional help as soon as possible. Don’t ignore dark transmission fluid or put off getting a flush. The service has a significant impact on your vehicle!

Now that you reviewed the things you need to know about a transmission fluid flush, be sure to receive this service every 30,000 miles or two years. New fluid improves lubrication and performance. Speaking of performance, do you want to enhance or repair your vehicle? If so, Transparts Warehouse has the products you need. As the top automatic transmission parts supplier, we carry affordable wholesale parts. Please browse our website today!

Everything You Need To Know About a Transmission Fluid Flush (2024)


What is the downside of transmission flush? ›

A theory here is that flushing can dislodge debris that's trapped in some of the internal passages, allowing it to clog up other passages downstream. It could also blow out old seals that are otherwise doing their job.

Are transmission fluid flushes necessary? ›

If you don't regularly replace your transmission fluid, your vehicle's transmission won't be able to run smoothly. Its working parts will wear out at a faster rate, which can lead to irreparable damage down the road.

What all do you need for a transmission flush? ›

The first thing you need is a transmission filter service kit. The service kit includes a transmission filter and a pan gasket. You're also going to need a catch pan and 3 to 6 quarts (3 to 6 liters) of automatic transmission fluid. All transmission fluid varies from car to car.

What to expect from a transmission flush? ›

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.

Why do transmissions fail after flush? ›

Many transmissions fail after a transmission flush, not because of the flush, but because the transmission was already at the threshold of failure. A transmission flush is not intended to fix transmission problems, it is meant to help maintain the transmission.

Does your car run better after a transmission flush? ›

After a transmission fluid flush, you may notice that your vehicle shifts smoother, and that your transmission operates better than before.

Why do people say never change transmission fluid? ›

Automatic transmissions can slip from low fluid, wrong fluid, internal failure and more. On manual transmissions, they will slip as clutches become worn. Not all unmaintained transmissions will start to slip after having the fluid changed, however it's common enough that many mechanics warn against doing it.

How much should a transmission flush cost? ›

Drivers can expect to pay $125 to $250 for a transmission fluid flush service. This is approximately twice as much as a transmission fluid change. This is due in large part to the additional fluid required. A flush will take 12 to 22 quarts, while a fluid change requires 5 to 7 quarts.

What happens if you never flush transmission? ›

The main thing that happens if you don't change your transmission fluid is that the system can overheat and cause a system failure. Low transmission fluid can also delay or cause difficulty in shifting, which can prevent your vehicle from accelerating or operating correctly.

Can I do a transmission flush myself? ›

» A transmission flush can be performed (DIY) using the transmission's pump without a flush machine. A transmission flush is a process in which the fluid in an automatic transmission is flushed out of the transmission and replaced with new ATF.

What's the difference between transmission fluid and transmission flush? ›

With a flush, all the old fluid is removed by a flush machine and replaced with new fluid, allowing for optimal transmission performance. A fluid change is a drain-and-refill, with some old fluid remains in the transmission after the change, which can contaminate the new fluid — and diminish performance.

Can I add transmission fluid without flushing? ›

While you may be able to get by with a simple transmission fluid change instead of a full flush when you need a quick fix, it won't protect your transmission for too long. Meaning it is not the best way to ensure the longevity of your vehicle. That is why you need a complete fluid flush and replacement.

Does a transmission flush do more harm than good? ›

If you decide to have a system flush performed on your transmission, it is important to hire a trained professional. If not performed properly, more harm than good can be done to the components of the transmission.

How many hours does it take to flush a transmission? ›

As mentioned, you can expect a transmission flush to take between three and four hours. A transmission fluid change, meanwhile, takes only 30 minutes to complete. The fluid change involves removing the transmission pan and cleaning out some of the old fluid that has built up in the transmission.

What mileage is good for a transmission flush? ›

What is the recommended service interval for transmission flushes? Each manufacturer recommends the transmission flush interval for their vehicles; however, most recommend that the transmission is flushed every 30,000 to 50,000 miles.

Is it better to flush a transmission or change filter? ›

Flush — Which to Choose? It's been said that a transmission flush is more effective than a change because: With a flush, all the old fluid is removed by a flush machine and replaced with new fluid, allowing for optimal transmission performance.

Does a transmission flush extend the life of a transmission? ›

This can enhance your vehicle's overall performance and fuel efficiency. Extended Lifespan: Regular transmission flushes can help prolong the life of your transmission. By removing harmful contaminants and preventing overheating, you reduce the risk of costly repairs or replacements.

Is it bad to change transmission fluid on high mileage? ›

Changing the fluid on a regularly driven vehicle can only help revitalize the clutch material. If the fluid has never been changed on a regularly driven car, at 170,000 miles, you damn well need to completely flush the system!

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