Signs That Your Transmission Filter Needs to Be Changed

Posted on: 11 April 2017

If you have a high-end vehicle like a BMW, then you want to make sure that you are doing everything correctly to keep your car in good shape. This means changing the oil on time, adding a new air filter when one is needed, and investing in regular engine inspections. As you own your vehicle, you also should make sure that the transmission is attended to. While you may not know this, the transmission has its own filter that the fluid runs through. Keep reading for some signs that the transmission filter needs to be changed.

Your Transmission Fluid Appears Brown or Looks Gritty

The transmission fluid in your car is meant to lubricate and cool the parts of your transmission. It also cleans and protects metal surfaces, keeps the gaskets from cracking or breaking, and conditions parts to keep them from succumbing to temperature extremes. As the fluid runs through the transmission, it picks up small bits of debris as well as flakes of rubber that break free from the gaskets.

All of the debris in the transmission fluid is supposed to be trapped by the transmission filter. The filter works in much the same way as your oil filter. Like your oil filter, the transmission filter can only hold on to so much grime and dirt. The transmission fluid will remain dirty once the filter becomes completely clogged. 

You should check your transmission fluid about once a month as you check the other fluids. If the fluids looks brown, then allow a small amount of the fluid to drip on your finger. Rub it between your fingers. If it feels gritty, then it is probably quite dirty and the transmission filter needs to be replaced. If the fluid is discolored but does not feel gritty, then this is a sign that the fluid has broken down, but the filter is probably still in good shape, so ask your mechanic to change the fluid. 

Your Car Will Not Shift in the Cold

When a transmission filter is in need of replacement, then you will likely notice some issue with your vehicle during the winter months. Specifically, your car may not shift out of park into drive or reverse. When this happens, it is a sign that the transmission filter is so full of debris that the fluid is congealed with the contaminants. The fluid cannot move through the filter. As your vehicle warms up, so does the transmission fluid and the congealed clog. 

If you can suddenly drive your vehicle once it has warmed up for 15 to 30 minutes, then this is a sign that the filter must be replaced. If you do not have the filter changed, then you can damage your transmission since fluid can no longer flow freely through the filter. You also may become stranded as your vehicle refuses to move in the cold weather. 

Talk to professionals like Jim Stephen's Foreign Car Repair to learn more about keeping the transmission in your luxury vehicle in good shape.