FTC Disclosure: I get commissions for purchases made through some of the links in this article for more information, visit our Advertising Disclosure Page.

You can subscribe to the Everything About RVing YouTube Channel for some great videos about RVing

When To Service Your RV's Transmission

by Motorhomes of Texas
(Nacogdoches, Texas)

Motorhomes of Texas

Motorhomes of Texas

This story was submitted on our
RVing Tips And Tricks Page.

If you are undecided about whether or not you should service your transmission or when to service it consider this: Transmission failure is mostly attributed to fluid failure. Mechanical parts failure is in the minority when blame is laid. The breakdown and failure of transmission fluid is precipitated by two elements...contaminants and heat with heat winning the race for worst/biggest contributor.

Transmission temperatures run generally in the same range as engine temperature until putting it under a strain. Heat in the trans will usually climb higher, faster than engine temperature with normal being in the 175F to 200F degree range and hill-climbing takes it up from there. At 175F, fluid will last about 120K TO 140k miles (discounting the contamination factor). It's life expectancy however decreases almost exponentially with increased heat! At 200F the breakdown occurs at around 60K - 70K miles. As you can see, an increase of only 25 degrees can cut the life almost in half. Now see below the increase versus the fluid life:

225 degrees = 35,000 miles

250 degrees = 20,000 miles

275 degrees = 10,000 miles

300 degrees = 1,500 miles

325 degrees = 500 miles

Short periods of time at higher temperatures takes a toll as well but trying to calculate exactly when you should change the fluid has to be done on an individual basis. If you pull a toad and drive in the hills or mountains you need to service more often. Most high-end motorhomes have transmission coolers and many have temperature gauges. If you don't have these two items it might be beneficial to have them installed.

Let The Good Sam Extended Service Plan Pay Your RV Repair Bills

Servicing your transmission ideally would be done as often as every other oil change but that is just not practical. It would not be cheap and at some point, it ceases to be cost-effective. The point is: be aware of the health of your trans fluid. Monitor it's operating temperatures and service accordingly. Servicing too often won't hurt your wallet near as bad as overhauling the beast.

Textips from Motorhomes of Texas

Share Your
Favorite RVing Tip Or Tricks With Us

Do you have any suggestions or comments on this topic? You can add them to this page by clicking on the "Click Here To Post Comments" link located near the bottom of this page.

Comments for When To Service Your RV's Transmission

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

(Retire mechanic)
by: Mike

Most of the heat generated in an automatic transmission comes from the torque converter. That is the device that connects the engine's output to the transmission's input. Inside it are sets of fins that throw transmission fluid from the engine side fins against the transmission side fins in order to transmit power to the transmission.

As you drive a great deal of heat can be created by the friction of the fluid against the fins. To minimize this heat buildup, avoid pulling hills while lugging the engine in higher gears. Better to shift down a gear or two and go a little slower; a side benefit, especially with diesel engines, is that the engine runs at a higher RPM and that spins the water pump faster keeping the engine cooler.

by: Norma

Thank you so much for this...I had always wondered and now I know for sure!

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to RVing Tips and Tricks.