January 25

Can a Transmission Fluid Flush Fix a Shifting Problem?

Auto Repair


Can an automatic transmission fluid flush fix a transmission which is shifting poorly? The answer is yes; sometimes.

While we only recommend a transmission flush as a maintenance service to prolong the life of this costly component, sometimes a flush will improve how your transmission operates.

transmission fluid flush
Clean, new transmission fluid on the left, dirty old fluid on the right

We recently had a new client come to us asking if we would flush the transmission fluid on his 2004 Volvo S60. His transmission was making some very rough shifts and it was making the drive uncomfortable. The Volvo dealer that serviced his car refused to do a transmission flush and insisted that the transmission must be removed and overhauled to rectify the problem.

I explained to our client that there was no guarantee that the flush would make any difference but he wanted to give it a try. Hey $300 can be a worthwhile gamble when $3000 – $4000 is at stake. We did the service on his vehicle and while doing so noted that the fluid was horribly discoloured. It looked more like dirty motor oil than transmission fluid.

A thorough road test after the service found a smooth shifting transmission. A follow up call from the client confirmed that the transmission worked beautifully and he was very pleased.

While we still offer no guarantee that a flush will fix a problematic transmission, sometimes it will. When it works it can save you a lot of money!

Transmission Fluid Flush
Automatic transmission fluid machine. The sight glass on the left shows the dirty fluid as it exits the transmission. This fluid is very dirty and discoloured

About the author 

Bernie Pawlik

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