Transmission Flush Vs. Service – Why Should You Choose One Over The Other?

Many transmission shops will offer two options for maintaining your car's automatic transmission. The first option, a traditional transmission service, doesn't involve removing all the old fluid from your car. On the other hand, a transmission flush uses a specialized machine to push the old fluid out and replace it with fresh fluid.

While the latter option may seem more advantageous, there are some good reasons why servicing your transmission may be better than scheduling a full flush. It's important to understand how these options differ and how they affect your vehicle so you can choose the correct one for your current situation and needs.

What Makes Flushing a Transmission Challenging?

When you change your oil, most of your current oil will drain out. While some may remain in small passageways, this tiny amount typically flushes away with each new oil change. However, your transmission contains many more tiny parts and passageways, providing more locations for the fluid to pool and become trapped.

A typical transmission service involves removing your transmission pan and "dumping" the oil from the bottom of the car. This process allows much of the oil to flow out, but some remains in relatively hard-to-reach areas. As a result, servicing your transmission will replace most of the fluid while leaving a little behind.

Flushing your transmission is more complex and requires specialized equipment that pushes new fluid through the transmission and cooling lines. This fluid will sweep away the old fluid, ensuring that none (or very little) stays in the transmission. These machines may also use special additives to help break up dirt and grime.

Why Should You Choose a "Regular" Transmission Service?

Since a flush completely replaces your transmission fluid, it may seem like the better option. However, routine servicing is almost always more effective. Each service will remove most of the old fluid, so scheduling transmission service jobs at regular intervals will ensure you gradually replace all of your old fluid with new fluid.

This process is gentler than a flush, which can dislodge grime and dirt, potentially leaving it trapped elsewhere in your transmission. While flushing may sometimes be necessary, such as when removing severely burnt or contaminated fluid, it's better to avoid it when possible. Instead, frequently servicing your transmission will ensure its overall condition remains clean and healthy.

If you aren't sure which option is best for your vehicle, discussing your choices with a qualified transmission shop is a good idea. A professional will consider your vehicle's age, mileage, and service history and recommend the service that will help you keep your transmission running well for as long as possible.

To learn more about transmission service options for your vehicle, contact an auto service in your area.