Automatic transmission repairs can be very expensive. There are times it’s impossible to avoid having a transmission repair specialist service your vehicle, particularly if you encounter a breakdown.
Here are a few recommendations you can do to obtain the most life out of your automatic transmission and prevent a transmission failure.
1. Let your truck warm up properly. All of us have hopped into the driver’s seat, started the engine, put the vehicle in drive, and driven away? Always allow your engine at least a few minutes to warm up before you begin to drive, especially during the winter months.
2. Don’t change gears while your truck is moving. Allow your vehicle come to a complete stop before changing gears from ‘drive’ to ‘reverse’ or vice-versa. Failing to stop before changing gears puts a strain on your transmission, and after a while, it can lead to a severe problem.
3. Use the correct type of transmission fluid. Consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual to determine the correct transmission fluid you should use. If you’re still not sure, contact a transmission shop and ask a professional.
4. Check your transmission fluid regularly. On these trucks, checking the transmission fluid is easy. With the engine idling, pull out the transmission dipstick. Wipe it clean. Then, insert it again and wait. Then pull it out again and check for an accurate reading. If you find that the fluid level is low, you may have a leak. Healthy fluid is a bright red color, clear, and it should smell sweet. If it’s murky, dark-colored, or smells fishy, take it to a transmission repair shop to look things over.
5. Have your cooling system serviced regularly. We all know that your vehicle’s cooling system prevents the engine from overheating, but it also ensures the transmission fluid in the gearbox is cooled too? Without this service, it is more likely you’ll need a transmission repair. Make sure your cooling system stays in optimal condition.
6. Get your transmission flushed regularly. Changing the transmission fluid in your truck is best left to a professional. Consult your truck’s owner’s manual, but in general, get your vehicle’s transmission flushed once a year. How long the transmission fluid in your truck will last depends on the vehicle’s operating temperature and how much driving you do.
7. Never drive on a spare tire for an extended time. Mismatched tire sizes or driving with a tiny spare tire over an extended period is not only dangerous, it can cause unnecessary transmission damage, alignment issues and other expensive repairs. Be sure to replace or repair tires within 50 miles of the flat, to keep your vehicle running smoothly.
8. Regularly change the transmission filter. Your tuck’s automatic transmission has filters, and they needs to be changed at regular intervals. If you are driving a Dodge Ram 2500 series to 5500 series diesel, you will need to change your filter and fluid every 30,000 miles. Most newer trucks don’t have a transmission filter, but those that do should be changed each time you get your transmission flushed.
9. Have your transmission inspected annually. Having a certified transmission mechanic conduct a diagnostic check of your transmission for leaks and other abnormalities at least once a year and checking the transmission fluid’s level, color, and smell regularly is necessary for preventative maintenance.
10. Using your vehicle for oversized towing. Using your truck to haul extremely heavy or oversized loads, particularly in hot temperatures, can cause the transmission fluid to oxidize or burn, and in turn, do quite a bit of damage to the transmission. Using your truck for the job it was designed for is why you purchased a Dodge Ram truck. If you plan on keeping your truck running we strongly suggest you keep up with the Serve Duty maintenance schedule listed in the owner's manual.