When you consider how much work the transmission does, it makes good sense to change the automatic transmission fluid in your vehicle about every two years or 24,000 miles—more frequently if you tow or carry heavy loads.
Inspection of the fluid may show a certain amount of sediment in the transmission pan due to organic friction material from the clutches and bands, which is normal. A certain amount of metal flaking from metal-to-metal wear is also acceptable. On the other hand, metal flakes from spalling bearings and chips from gear teeth should raise concerns.
An experienced auto technician will be able to get a lot of information from the content, color, and smell of drained automatic transmission fluid.
TIP: As a precaution, check your transmission fluid at the time of each oil change. If the fluid has a brown color and/or carries a burnt smell, an inspection is warranted.
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