What’s the Real Difference?

 So you go to pick your vehicle from your local auto repair facility after some work is completed and the person cashing you out mentions that your transmission fluid is past due to be changed.  They advise you of two services they provide, one being a transmission flush and the other a transmission service.  Well which one should you choose?

When deciding whether to flush your transmission fluid or simply exchange the fluid, the first step is to understand the key differences between the two.   Many people are unaware of what each service includes, so we have outlined the key elements of both to help you get a better understanding of the differences.

Transmission Fluid Change
  • Fluid Changed: 4-6 quarts
  • Filter Replaced (if applicable)
  • Screen Cleaned (if applicable)
  • Gasket Replaced (if applicable)
Transmission Flush/Transfusion
  • Fluid Changed: 10-12 quarts
  • Filter Replaced (if applicable)
  • Screen Cleaned (if applicable)
  • Gasket Replaced (if applicable)


So What’s The Real Difference?

The main difference as outline above is the amount of fluid that is exchanged from the transmission system as well as the method in which the fluid is being exchanged.  Regardless of which service is performed, the filters, screens, and/or gaskets applicable to the vehicle must ALWAYS be changed.   During a transmission service (drain and fill) around 30-40% of the fluid will be changed.  When performing a transmission flush around 80-95% of the old fluid be exchanged.

So Which One Should I Get?

There are a few different factors that you should take into account when making your decision that will determine which service you should get. The first thing to consider is when the last time the fluid was changed.  If you are unsure of this, ask your auto repair facility for records of all services performed to the vehicle.  If there is no way to find information on the last fluid change, we strongly recommend changing the fluid.  If your trusted mechanic has recommended changing the fluid, then so do we!

Start by draining the fluid: Anytime you are unsure of the fluid condition, we always recommend starting by draining the fluid.  If the fluid is very dark and contaminated, save yourself from costly repairs down the road and get it flushed.  Flushing your transmission system is the only way to completely clean the dirt and debris from the torque converter and from the rest of the transmission system.

Our Recommendations

We have owned a successful transmission shop for 30+ years and have learned a thing or two about maintaining transmissions in the time we have been in business.  We recommend changing your transmission fluid every 30,000 miles, regardless of manufacturers specifications or fluid type used.  If your vehicle experiences above normal use due to heavy towing or if you drive your vehicles harder than the average person (you know who you are!), then we recommend changing the fluid every 15,000-20,000 miles.

We always recommend starting by draining the fluid and deciding which step to take from there based on the fluid condition.  Use the chart below to determine where your fluid condition falls and to help decide which option is best.  For more information or to speak with an expert, visit us on the web or give us a call today!

transmission fluid color chart