The same reason that you need to change your engine oil. Over time the fluid breaks down and stops protecting the transmission. This can cause your transmission to fail. How often is typically answered with a question of the type of vehicle you drive. How you drive and where you drive. That said, there are some general guidelines that can help you determine when it's time for a change.
If you drive a manual transmission, it's generally recommended that you change your fluid every 30,000 miles or so. If you have an automatic transmission, the interval is usually a bit longer—somewhere between 30,000 to 60,000. Even if you fall within these ranges, there are other factors that can affect how often you need to change your fluid, including the way you drive and the conditions in which you drive.
If you do a lot of stop-and-go driving you may need to change your fluid more often than someone who drives mostly on highways. Another consideration is if you tow a trailer or carry heavy loads on a regular basis, you'll also need to change your fluid more frequently.
If you're still not sure how often to change your transmission fluid, give us a call. We can give you specific advice based on your vehicle and driving habits.
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