Transmission Flush vs Change: All You Need to Know

When we talk about the maintenance and servicing of the car, the choices need to be made with the performance of the vehicle in mind. You only want what is best for your car in terms of performance. The transmission fluid is an important component to ensure smooth functioning and adequate lubrication of the transmission. Without proper lubrication, the transmission runs the risk of overheating.

If the transmission system breaks down, it will result in an urgent rip to the automotive shop. There are two ways in which one can ensure the health of the transmission system: the transmission fluid change and transmission flush. In this article, we will address the major differences between the two methods and their impact on the car’s performance.

Transmission Fluid Change

Transmission fluid change is required when the fluid changes color and appears murkier than it is supposed to be. Reddish or rust-colored transmission fluid is the signal for you to change the transmission fluid. The fluid will eventually change color due to multiple factors like overheating the system and foreign particles entering the vehicle.

A fluid change is thus recommended every once in a while. You can change the transmission fluid yourself if you feel nearly brown now. The user manual will come in handy. Always check the color of the fluid before changing because you will get a good idea of the general time frame when you require fluid changes in the future.

Transmission Fluid Flush

Transmission Fluid Flush 1
Source: autochimps.com

In complete contrast to transmission fluid change, flush allows for the complete replacement of the transmission fluid. The main difference between transmission fluid change and flush is that some residual is left in the former while the latter completely replaces all the residue and old fluid from the system.

The transmission flush may seem like a better alternative to fluid change, but it is only recommended now and then, depending on how far your vehicle has traveled. While you may do fluid change frequently, a flush is only recommended every 60,000 miles or so.

The Procedure: Transmission Flush vs Change

For changing the transmission fluid, the process involves changing the entirety of the transmission fluid as well as the filter. In this method, the filter is removed, and another one is fitted. Changing the filter along with the fluid allows for the removal of any dirt and grime as well as the blockages in the filter that might be causing overheating.

The defining feature in a transmission fluid change is that almost all of the fluid is emptied and replaced with a new one. One important thing to note here is that not all of the fluid can be removed in one go. Some of the old fluid is left behind during the change and is mixed with new fluid every time the transmission fluid is replaced.

As mentioned above, transmission fluid flush happens when your vehicle hits a certain distance. The distance threshold may be different for different vehicles. The flush has the benefit of heightened performance with complete replacements of the transmission fluid. The performance will be better as overheating will be prevented, and there will be significant wear resistance to clutches and gears.

Which is Better: Transmission Flush vs Change

Which is Better
Source: yourmechanic.com

As mentioned above, the requirements for having a fluid change and flush are very different. Typically, only the murky fluid will be removed from the pan, with some liquid left behind in a transmission fluid change. But since flushing is not feasible every time due to higher prices, change is preferred more often.

The transmission fluid is in both the transmission pan and the torque converter. Compared to a fluid change, a flush is way more thorough because the murky fluid is removed from the cooler lines as well as the torque converter and the pan. If we are talking about the objective cleaning capabilities, then the flush is more thorough in promoting the high efficiency of the vehicle.

Fresh fluid, in general, will promote better performance and prevent overheating and rusting. A regular fluid change leaves some of the residue behind. Therefore, a flush machine is used for the complete drainage of the transmission fluid and residue.

When Should You Get It?

The frequency of getting transmission flush and change depends on the type of maintenance the car has been getting so far. Ideally, if you are in the habit of regularly maintaining your car, you should get a flush after covering a certain distance. But there is an important condition to this rule, you should only get transmission flush when you are in the habit of regulating transmission changes.

For instance, if you are not in the habit of maintaining your car’s transmission system, then initially invest in a fluid change. Even if 50% of the transmission fluid is left behind, it still would be better than the condition the car’s transmission was previously in. Additionally, choosing a transmission flush on a system that has not been cleaned or replaced before can do more harm than good.

It would make the dirt travel in the opposite direction and cause clogging on fine pipes, reducing efficiency rather than improving performance. A transmission flush should thus only be preferred if you have changed the fluid a few times previously and now require better car efficiency. Flushing will drain out all the residual grime and discolored fluid. It will give you a better cleaning which the change was missing out on.

The Takeaway

The Takeaway 1
Source: bmwofstratham.com

If you want to reduce the overheating of the transmission, both transmission fluid change and flush will work well. It depends on your maintenance practices as the condition of your car. While the flush is more thorough with cleaning, it can have some setbacks when you are not in the habit of changing fluid regularly. Make sure you maintain a healthy balance between the two. Price concerns are also essential to consider, so engage in fluid change more than a flush.