The modern automatic transmission system is complicated and is comprised of a lot of different moving parts. All of those parts would grind and wear out rapidly if it wasn't for the lubrication provided by the transmission fluid. There are gears that grind, bands that rotate and linkages that move within the transmission system. All that movement also creates heat so the fluid does more than just lubricate, it also keeps all of the parts nice and cool. Not changing your automatic transmission fluid, as recommended in your owner's manual, will shorten the life of your transmission.
Most car manufacturers recommend you change the automatic transmission fluid every 30,000 miles but there are several driving conditions can deteriorate the fluid faster and cause you to change it sooner. Hard driving conditions like frequent stop and go driving, hauling heavy loads or towing can lead to faster deterioration. Newer transmission systems are sealed and require you to change the automatic transmission fluid less often and in some cases never. Check your owner's manual to see the manufacturers recommended service intervals. It is also important to regularly check the fluid level, because running your car with low levels can also harm your transmission.
Changing the transmission fluid from your automatic transmission is not as easy as changing your engine oil but it is still something you can do on your own. You will first need to purchase the correct fluid, there are several different kinds, so consult your owner's manual. After locating the transmission pan, you will need to drain the oil fluid. Most cars do not have a pan with a drain plug, so you will have to remove the complete pan by first loosening the bolts on one end of the pan so that the fluid drains into a catch pan. After most of the fluid has been drained, then you can remove the pan completely. At this moment, with the pan off the car, you can go ahead and clean it as well as replace the transmission filter and gasket. After re-installing the pan, go ahead and add as much transmission fluid as you drained. You can go ahead and start the car and slowly shift through all the gears, then recheck the fluid level.
Changing your automatic transmission fluid is part of your vehicles regular car maintenance. Changing it at the car manufacturers recommended service intervals will keep your transmission shifting smoothly. Car Parts Discount has the parts, like transmission fluid and transmission filter kits, to help you do the job right.