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Auto Q&A with Tom Torbjornsen: Change transmission fluid and filter

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Dear Tom,
I noticed that a lot of automotive shops only want to change the transmission fluid and not the filter these days. Is this a good thing?
Lance from Peoria, IL

Good question. Transmission fluid usually is changed at 35,000 to 40,000 miles with the filter. A lot of shops today have a flush machine. This device can suck old fluid out and pump new fluid in without taking the pan off. I do not recommend this procedure because flush machines reverse-flush the trans fluid. This process dislodges dirt and wear particles out of the old filter and back into the transmission. Always change the filter along with the fluid when changing trans fluid. Good luck to you.

Tom Torbjornsen is an automotive expert of 37 years. An automotive journalist in good standing with the IMPA (International Motor Press Association) and MPG (Motor Press Guild), Torbjornsen is the Repair and Maintenance Editor for AOL Autos, At Home Portals and many other websites. Please send your car questions to his website at




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