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4 Ways to Prolong the Life of Your Vehicle's Transmission

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While any vehicle's transmission will eventually break down due to standard wear and tear, there are some things that you, as the vehicle owner and driver, can do to prolong the life of that transmission system. This can mean fewer repair bills over the life of the car and not needing to replace the transmission sooner than you should. Check out a few simple tips for prolonging the life of your vehicle's transmission.

Get an external cooler

An external cooler does just as the name implies; it helps to keep the transmission cooler, especially in heavy operating conditions. If you're hauling a heavy load, do a lot of uphill driving or use your vehicle for off-roading, that transmission can easily overheat, wearing out the gears, chains and other components. An external cooler will force the temperatures to stay lower so that the transmission parts will suffer less heat-related corrosion and less wear and tear overall.

Immediately fix steering problems

You may not associate steering problems with the transmission, but keep in mind that a vehicle's transmission works hard to keep the car in gear; if the car drags, pulls or needs an alignment, this puts added stress on the transmission overall. Check your car's tires for a needed alignment and balancing every year or as recommended by the manufacturer, and immediately fix any problems with the struts, tie rods and springs. It's also imperative that you keep the tires properly inflated and replace one as soon as it shows any signs of excessive wear.

Check the fluid after running hot

You may know to check the transmission fluid regularly and top it off as needed, but when the car runs hot, such as when towing a heavy load or driving uphill, this can cause that fluid to more easily burn away or become damaged. Check the level of the fluid after driving hot, and if it seems to be holding any debris or corrosion, have the transmission flushed and new fluid added as needed.

Don't use the transmission for braking

Constantly changing gears in the car puts added wear and tear on the transmission; while this may be needed when driving uphill or over muddy and rocky terrain, avoid using the transmission for slowing the car under normal conditions. Remember that it's usually cheaper to change worn brake pads than it is to repair or replace any components of the transmission, so use the brakes to slow the car rather than shifting into a lower gear.