So you have some exciting plans for the weekend. You’re going to take some of your friends out on the boat for some water skiing. Of course, you’ve got the boat all ready. And you haven’t forgotten about your tow vehicle. You’ve gassed it up and even vacuumed it out. But you want to make sure that your vehicle’s maintenance is up to date.
Think about it – heavy traffic on the way out of town. There’s hilly terrain as you get to the lake. Some dirt roads – and its going to be pretty hot in this weekend. And all the time you’ll be towing around several thousand extra pounds. That all adds up a lot of severe strain on your engine, brakes and transmission.
Let’s just consider the transmission. It’s going to be working overtime, spending more time in lower gears. The internal transmission temperature is going to be much higher than normal. What’s a fun little blast to the local lake for you is really severe duty for your transmission.
It’s important to have enough transmission fluid. If it runs low, the transmission will run hotter and won’t have the protection it needs to cope with the added stress of towing. Transmission fluid breaks down and gets dirty over time. Whether you have an automatic or manual transmission, you need to have it serviced on schedule to make sure it runs efficiently.
An automatic transmission contains a maze of passages through which the fluid has to pass to keep it shifting smoothly. If you neglect transmission service, the passages can get clogged up and you start to have problems.
Neglect your transmission for too long, and it can fail. You really don’t want to pay for a major transmission repair.
This reminds us of how much of our driving around is under severe conditions. Towing or hauling a big load is obvious, but there are lots of other things that constitute severe driving conditions. Things like short trips, driving in very hot or very cold weather. Dusty roads and city driving add to the strain. Basically, any driving that’s not at highway speeds or under ideal conditions.
While you have your vehicle in, ask for a trip inspection. Your service technician will check your belts and hoses and let you know if your brakes are in good shape.
Now, don’t forget the sunscreen.
DID YOU KNOW?
Check your owner’s manual and ask an Auto Care Plus ASE certified technician about the service life of your vehicle’s transmission fluid. We would be happy to look up the manufacturer’s recommended service schedule on our ALLDATA computer system free of charge. With our extensive knowledge working with all makes and models of vehicles we have determined that a 30K -50K Mile Interval between fluid exchanges is ideal and maximizes the life expectancy of your transmission. If you tow or operate in very harsh environments (think New Hampshire and Maine) then you should stay closer to the 30K mile interval. Preventative Maintenance cost far less the transmission replacement and the hassle of breaking down and missing that trip to the lake.