Jim Grant's Tech Tips
Over Done Maintenance?
Q: My mechanic believes that the transmission fluid should be dumped every 15k. The radiator flush at 30k and the throttle body cleaned at 15k and 27k miles. Are these a bit much? The dealer claims the transmission should be flushed at 30k. The radiator flushed at 5 yrs. The manual says the transmission should be flushed at 50k, radiator at 150k. I'm confused. Who is right?
A: It depends. What type of vehicle and what does it do for work? If you own a pick-up and plow snow or pull a trailer then I would suggest a transmission flush every 15k. If the vehicle lives an easy life then I would go with 30k on the transmission service. Unless the transmission oil was getting dark or burnt, then I would suggest flushing earlier. The cooling system? Forget the Owner's Manual if it says every 150k. The long life coolants are not making it in our area. You should have your cooling system inspected with each oil change. Coolant can go bad that quickly! Depending on the coolant type it should be checked with a Ph strip for acidity or tested with a voltmeter. The test strips don't work right with some of the long life coolants. A voltmeter will display a value based on the acidity of the coolant. I've seen readings so high you thought you could jump start a dead battery from long life coolant that was only 2 years old. As for cleaning the throttle plates, yes if they're dirty. If not, wait until the next service. Proper vehicle maintenance is a balancing act. With some common sense and regular inspections, the correct service can be performed without going overboard, all the while allowing you to get the most service life out of your vehicle.