What You Need To Know About Transmission Flush

We've said it before, and we’ll say it again. A contaminated, dirty system isn’t just bad form, it can cause early wear and tear, preventable maintenance issues, and system failure. It’s the single most preventable source of additional cost and trouble for anyone who has invested in equipment, machinery, or a service fleet.

In a recent blog, we covered the serious problems caused by contamination of oils and lubricants. Today we’re talking about cleanliness again, but this time we’ll specifically cover transmission issues. Do you know the basics of transmission maintenance, and when to do a system flush versus when to add fluid?

Before we get started, we want to remind you that we always recommend that you call in an expert if you’re not sure what the best practices are to maintain a piece of costly equipment, or to determine best practices for a fleet. As a leading commercial fuel and lubricants supplier in California, the team at Greg’s Petroleum Service can provide advice and support based on your individual needs.

Why Your Machine Needs Clean Transmission Fluid, and When to Flush

As you know, your transmission is responsible for the performance of the gears, clutches, and bearings of your truck, machine, or heavy equipment.

A contaminated transmission system, then, can lead to the inability to shift gears properly, grinding, and even system failure. Contamination is caused (in general) by wind, condensation, routine use, and water.

You can’t really control weather conditions. But routine use can be just as significant a factor. The high heat generated – even under “normal,” or not necessarily extreme conditions – will, over time, break down transmission fluid and leave the system vulnerable to contaminants that build up into sludge and clogging debris in the system.

When that happens, the contaminants aren’t cleared as the (old) fluid circulates through the system or carried along properly to be trapped in the filter. Instead, the contaminants lodge in the narrow fluid passages inside the valve body, where they get trapped and lead to system issues – such as poor gear shifting.

One thing you can do is regularly add a transmission flush additive to help clear debris and sludge. Check your equipment manual for recommendations on the timeline and be sure to be proactive.

But, old dirty transmission fluid, even with regular maintenance, is still carrying debris and isn’t as good for your equipment as new, clean transmission fluid. However, a full transmission flush can be expensive and may even dislodge debris (if the system is super dirty) to cause clogging.

So, what to do? Hopefully, you’re reading this at a time when you can put a maintenance plan in place BEFORE you have a problem.

We recommend you have a good maintenance plan in place to monitor the quality of your transmission fluid and to add cleaning chemicals when necessary. We also recommend using VPS Chemicals, such as those carried by Greg’s Petroleum Service, with higher cleanliness standards.

Remember, we’re here to help! Feel free to call us with questions or to review your individual equipment and circumstances. The right team can not only help with repairs but can provide a service plan to help you prevent issues down the line.

That’s exactly what we do here at Greg's Petroleum Service. Not only are we a trusted fuel fleet service supplier in California, but we also provide expert advice, a variety of automotive chemicals for maintenance, food grade oils and lubricants, and so much more.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to learn more, or if there’s something we can do for you.

How Use of Cleaner Lubricants Saves Your Equipment

Did you know that equipment manufacturers have tightened their cleanliness specifications for service oils and lubricants? It’s true, and it makes sense. If your fleet maintenance schedule doesn’t include a plan to ‘keep it clean,’ you’re leaving yourself open to ‘getting dealt dirty’ with costly (and preventable) ongoing maintenance issues and need for repairs.

As a leading commercial fuel supplier in California, the team at Greg’s Petroleum Service knows from experience that the operators of heavy equipment across industries have invested a lot in their fleet. The vehicles and machinery that they rely upon must stand up to all kinds of conditions. But wind, water, temperature changes, and use conditions such as cold starts and short drive times can lead to contaminated oils and lubricants.

And you may think the biggest risk of contamination is seen by operators of off-road heavy equipment, such as the machinery used in construction. While that is a factor, you might be surprised at how common the problem of contaminated oils and lubricants can be. So, who needs to keep the system clean?

In reality, every operator of motorized equipment can benefit from cleanliness. But the following industries are most likely to see immediate cost savings and results from switching to cleaner lubricants and upgrading their maintenance process.

Agricultural: Such as tractors, pickers and belt systems
Construction: Such as excavators, trucks, and back hoes
Manufacturing: Including conveyor belts, and gears and levers
Service Fleets: Large mass transportation for schools, healthcare organizations, and other emergency and public service providers

Now that you know nearly every industry can benefit, it’s time to look at some facts about how lubricant contamination can impact overall costs. Did you know that two-thirds of lubricant-related machine failure and worn out components is due to abrasion?

And if you do know that, do you know what causes the contamination that leads to abrasion and failed equipment? Over time, oils and lubricants contaminated by small particles lose their protective qualities. The small particles can cause increased friction and abrasion, leading to damage, failure, and preventable issues.

Moreover, those small particles aren’t always obvious when you do a quick visual service inspection. Most particles that cause contamination issues are so small that they’re invisible to the naked eye.

That’s why regular oil and lubricant changes are recommended for equipment used in extreme conditions. But, cost is sometimes a factor that discourage operators from making the frequent changes. Also, some owners choose to use synthetics, which are more expensive and therefore less likely to be changed with the recommended regularity.

But the problems caused by contaminated oils and lubricants aren’t limited to wear and tear, or the failure of a single piece of equipment. Check out this guide with more information on the subject.

In short, equipment issues can lead to loss of productivity, eat into profits, lead to low team morale, and harm the reputation of the company. So, what can you do?

Tips for Keeping Cleaner Oils and Lubricants from a Commercial Fuel and Lubricants Supplier

For all of those reasons, we recommend taking the following steps.

1. Know the right oils and lubricants for your fleet. Many manufacturers are labeling equipment with this information, but it never hurts to double check.
2. Stick to a consistent maintenance schedule. Following the manufacturers guidelines for oil and lubricant changes is critical.
3. Choose a certified clean lubricant that adheres to the ISO cleanliness code. (Ask us, if you don’t know what the ISO cleanliness code is!)
4. If you don’t know whether or not your equipment is making use of the best practices for cleanliness, do your homework to check for specifications and guidelines. It never hurts to call in an expert to review your practices to make sure you’re not overlooking something, either.
5. Finally, we recommend that you get in touch with an expert team.

For more information, please contact us at Greg's Petroleum Service. As a leading commercial fuel and lubricant supplier in California, our team of experts know that the right oils and lubricants can make all of the difference. We can recommend products to reduce contamination and costly wear, as well as improve performance.

If we can provide you with information, service, or products please don’t hesitate to reach out and contact us. We look forward to hearing from you!