When to Service an RV Transmission

Determining when to service the transmission on your RV depends on several factors. The primary reason for transmission failure is related to fluid failure. Occasionally a transmission fails due to a mechanical failure, but that is much rarer than a failure related to fluids.

The temperature in a transmission is typically the same as in the overall engine, but the heat in the transmission will rise faster when the vehicle is straining. The life and viability of transmission fluids is greatly reduced when the temperatures rise. For example, fluid at 175F lasts for about 120,000 to 140,000 miles. If the temperature increases to 200F, it cuts the life of the fluid approximately in half to 60,000 to 70,000 miles. Even a short amount of time at a higher temperature can have an impact on the lifetime of the fluid. Rigs that spend time traversing mountain roads or towing an additional vehicle will need to be serviced more frequently.

Because it is not cost effective to change transmission fluids as often as a vehicle gets an oil change, the best advice for RV owners is to meticulously monitor the fluids. Be sure to keep an eye on operating temperatures and mileage in order to best determine when servicing should occur. Err on the side of caution, as it is much cheaper in the long run to service a working transmission than to replace one that no longer works.

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