Q: How often do I need to change the fluid in my automatic transmission?
A: Many technicians recommend 30,000 to 50,000 miles between transmission fluid changes, but it depends on the vehicle and driving conditions. Always consult your owner’s manual for service intervals. Tranny fluid is commonly changed using two methods. In the first method the transmission pan is removed to access the filter. This method removes only about 1/3 of all the fluid in the tranny. Another method, called flushing, removes all of the fluid. However, depending on the flushing method and the service facility, the filter may not get changed. I recommend getting the tranny flushed and the filter replaced. This will allow the technician to inspect inside the transmission for any metal shavings or debris that could predict a future transmission failure. This procedure may cost you $100 to $150, but is cheap insurance considering a tranny rebuild can cost $1500 to $2500.