When Should You Use a Transmission Additive?

Do transmission additives work? If you have the symptoms of low transmission fluid, such as bumping or clunking into gear, transmission additives may help revive your transmission and keep you on the road. However, once you start to hear noise or smell burnt transmission fluid, transmission amendments may no longer be able to help your car or truck. The importance of changing transmission fluid and regularly maintaining your transmission to avoid damage can't be overstated.

The Hard Work Done By Your Transmission

The transmission is where the power of the motor is turned into the movement of the wheels. Your transmission functions under tremendous heat and pressure; the importance of changing transmission fluid is critical because once the fluid gets old and starts to burn, it will cling to the components of your transmission, gumming up the works rather than lubricating them.

How Often Should I Maintain My Transmission?

Like oil levels, transmission fluid levels should be checked when you have your regularly scheduled maintenance. However, unlike oil, transmission fluid levels need to be checked once the car is warm and running.

Depending on whether your car is an automatic or manual, your transmission should have a dipstick. It's important to note that there are probably multiple dipsticks poking out of your engine. Your transmission dipstick is quite long; remove and replace it with care.

If you've never checked your own fluid levels, do not attempt to work on a running engine without experienced help. The moving parts of an engine are quite powerful and can be dangerous.

How Do I Know When My Transmission Is In Trouble?

The symptoms of a failing transmission are pretty obvious:

  • Moving from a dead stop into gear with a "clunk" rather than a smooth feeling
  • Whining when revving the engine
  • A burnt smell
  • Leaking transmission fluid

If you notice that the car runs and moves fine when the engine is cold but starts bumping and clunking once the engine is warm, you probably have insufficient or burnt fluid; once transmission fluid gets old and overheated, it goes downhill quickly. Noise indicates damage to your transmission.

Which Noises Should I Worry About?

Transmission whine can sound a bit like power steering pump whine. If you rev a warm engine and get whine, it's probably transmission related. Get a noise when turning the wheel while the car is stopped? Check your power steering pump.

How Do I Add Treatment To My Transmission

Unlike oil, transmission additives are added to the engine via the dipstick hole. This takes a special funnel and some patience, and you need to do it while the car is running. Transmission fluids and additives can be very thick. Also, if your transmission fluid level is already high, the additives may not mix well.

So do transmission additives work? If you notice rough movement from a dead stop once the engine is warm, get your car serviced immediately. If your mechanic notes signs of transmission damage or failure, a good additive can help give you time to prepare to replace your transmission or your car. Be aware that many such additives are actually designed to prevent damage; damaged gears can't be repaired by an additive.

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