General Question

Siren's avatar

Car Experts: To flush or not to flush (the transmission)?

Asked by Siren (3404points) January 8th, 2010

I have been looking up transmission flushing on the internet and some sites advise against it, citing potential damage to the system (transmission) as well as engine. They do suggest a full transmission service (drain the fluid, check the pan, refill, etc) but not a flush. However, two mechanics I spoke with, including a dealership are “pro-flush”, one even boasting that his shop bought a $5000 system. This kind of goes along with the warnings from the web, which say that shops buy the expensive equipment and try to convince customers they should get a flush.

So, are flushes necessary, or a waste or time. Or worse: potentially damaging to the engine/transmission? What say you?

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7 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

You don’t need to flush your transmission. It’s just a gimmick. Flushing the crank case is a gimmick, too. The only one of these procedures that might be helpful is cleaning your fuel injectors, and that shouldn’t be necessary for 60–70 thousand miles.

When they show you how dark your oil is, be happy. That means it’s working right.

john65pennington's avatar

Maybe my answer will help with your decision. i bought a brand new Toyota Solara in 2000. i love this car and wish i had a brand new one. they are not made anymore. my car has over 237,000 miles on it. it receives an oil change every 5,000 miles and a tire rotation. the timing belt has been changed one time. how many times have i had the transmission fluid flushed out and new installed? NEVER. everything about my Solara is the original equipment, except the radiator. my mechanic said to never flush the transmission fluid, only to add fluid when necessary. i hope this answers your question. i have 237,000 miles to prove that a transmission flush is not necessary.

Siren's avatar

Thanks for your answers so far. Do you think they don’t make cars to last like they used to? Maybe new ones break down faster and have different mechanical requirements for maintenance?

dpworkin's avatar

If anything new ones are more, not less, reliable.

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

Ive been told to not flush the tranny because the high pressure flush they put through the system can damage seals.

I think capitalism is causing things to be less efficient. Our whole system depends on constant growth, so it is in the best interest of a business to make sure old products break down quickly, so the customer keeps coming back for more. Cell phones are a perfect example.

Siren's avatar

@chris6137: I read the same thing about the seals. I totally agree about the capitalism. Appliances and mechanical devices just aren’t made like they used to be. Mind you, with some of those, sometimes there is a compromise of “sturdiness” and withstanding abuse vs. “lightness” and easy to carry, like vacuums.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Some transmissions (CVT) use a different fluid that is NOT to be mixed with any other transmission fluid. The last flush is still in the flush machine, the next step maybe a new transmission.

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