To Flush Or Not To Flush?
In the 17+ years that I have worked as an RCA or full-time rural mail carrier, every vehicle that I have used on the route (that’s 100%) have met their end due to the transmission going out. With all of the starting and stopping associated with most rural mail routes, this makes sense. That’s a lot of work for those poor transmissions to keep up with and when you toss in other elements like snow, dust, ice, gravel, etc. it makes sense to monitor your transmission regularly. Here are some simple ways to do this:
- Flush your transmission every 1-2 years depending on the amount of mileage you are putting on the vehicle. If you’re delivering full-time and putting on 15,000-25,000 miles a year, do it annually. If you’re just doing it part-time, consider a transmission flush every 2-3 years.
- With this in mind, make sure you are taking it to a reliable mechanic and that they do NOT use any type of a machine to perform the flush. It should be done manually. Many mechanics will use a machine to help them save time and in my mechanic’s opinion (and mine) I would never recommend this. I learned the hard way after taking my Buick Regal in for a transmission flush after less than 1 year of service on the mail route. Unfortunately the auto repair shop that I took it to used a machine to perform the flush and the transmission was never the same again. In fact, it died on me several months later. If I had known better at the time, I never would have done this but here’s an example where you can learn from my mistake.
- Check the color and odor of your transmission fluid regularly (every month or so). This is an easy way to ensure that the fluid is not getting dirty and filling with metal deposits. It will have a distinct metallic burning odor to it when it’s going bad. If you notice this, take it to your mechanic immediately and have them check it out for you.
A simple transmission flush will generally cost you around $250.00 USD and is well worth it considering the alternative of having to replace the transmission. This can easily cost over $3,000.00 and in most cases is not worth it depending on the age and condition of the vehicle you are using for your rural mail deliveries.