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Automatic Transmission Filters & Parts

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Automatic Transmission Filters & Parts

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What is the automatic transmission filter and where is it located? 

Your automatic transmission needs fluid to operate its hydraulics, lubricate the machinery, and keep the transmission cool.  Dirt, debris, or any foreign material in the transmission fluid could wear out transmission parts.  The transmission filter’s job is to filter out that material so that the transmission fluid can do its job.  The transmission filter is housed inside the transmission oil pan, underneath the transmission, at the front of the vehicle. 

How do I know if my ­­­­automatic transmission filter needs to be replaced?             

Over time, the material that the filter draws out of the fluid will stick inside the filter and start to clog it up.  This will reduce its ability to filter out more material.  Eventually, it might keep the fluid from flowing properly.  That’s why the transmission filter needs to be replaced regularly.  Your owner’s manual will tell you how frequently to do this.  Normally, you will change your transmission fluid and replace the transmission fluid filter at the same time. 

If you let the transmission filter go too long, the transmission may begin to exhibit certain symptoms.  The transmission may slip or grind when shifting gears, or may suddenly lurch into the next gear.  Wear or overheating in the transmission can result in a burning smell, or even, sometimes, smoke coming from the engine compartment.  When you finally get around to replacing the filter, you might find that the transmission fluid has a burnt or sludgy appearance. 

Can I replace the automatic transmission filter myself?  

As part of regular maintenance, replacing a transmission filter is pretty easy, although the job can get a bit messy.  You will have to drain the transmission fluid.  Be sure to have a drain pan ready.  Loosen the bolts from the transmission oil pan to drain the fluid, then remove the bolts and pull off the pan.  At this point, you can unbolt the old transmission filter.  You’ll want to thoroughly clean the transmission oil pan before you reinstall it.  It’s normal to have a small amount of sludge and metal shavings stuck to the pan.  There is a magnet in the pan that catches metal filings.  Clean that part extra carefully.  Apply gasket sealant and a new gasket to the pan before you reinstall it.  Before you reinstall the pan, you’ll naturally have to install the new transmission filter and bolt it into place.  Then reinstall the pan and insert the bolts.  Tighten the bolts to the manufacturer’s torque specifications.  Over-tightening or under-tightening the bolts can result in transmission fluid leaks.  Tighten the bolts in a crisscross pattern to apply even pressure to the pan.  Then be sure to add new transmission fluid.  

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