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Perform Transmission Fluid Service By ‘Severe Duty’ Change Interval

by AutoCarePro Team - Nov 18, 2014

Improved lubricants have allowed service intervals to extend for many vehicles with automatic transmissions, utilizing “lifetime fluids.” In the past, service recommendations for automatic transmissions were based on time/mileage tied to requirements of new vehicle warranties (2-3 years or 30,000 miles). Lifetime fluid recommendations are now 5-10 years or the life of the vehicle (100,000 miles)unless the vehicle is subjected to“severe duty.”

The question that often comes up next: When is it appropriate to perform a fluid service? Taken directly from OEM owners’ manuals, “severe duty” has historically been defined as:

• Operation of vehicle when ambient temperature is above 90° F. or below 35° F. (Southern California)
• Carrying heavy loads or multiple passengers.
• High speed highway or interstate driving for extended periods of time.(Southern California)
• Driving in hilly or mountainous areas.(Southern California)
• Stop and go driving. (Southern California)

By definition, most drivers are engaged in severe duty vehicle operation most of the time. The severity and non-stop hot weather of this recent summers is a perfect example of severe duty conditions that really stress and deteriorate all of the lubricants in a vehicle. The standard recommendation is to cut the recommended change interval (30,000 – 100,000 miles) in half and perform service based on severe duty (15,000 – 50,000 miles).

Most drivers are looking to minimize the cost of ownership and still meet the warranty requirements. Most warranties clearly state that failure to perform routine maintenance will void the warranty. When we service vehicles, we owe it to our customers to qualify their driving habits. We need to show them if they operate their vehicle in a manner that may require a more frequent service cycle. When we provide the customer with the advice and service they need to maintain their vehicle and OE warranty based on real world considerations, we instill trust, confidence and loyalty.

Courtesy of Lubegard.

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