Best Car Battery Booster | Jump Starters | Auto Battery Charger
Wondering how to buy the best Car / Truck Battery Jumper Pack ? Want to know how to jump start a car without another car? Want to save time & money? For most powerful battery jumper packs reviews, and source to purchase at great prices, you’ve come to the right place! Don’t get stuck in the web traffic or highway traffic in search of the best jump starters.
A Battery Jumper Pack is one of the most vitally useful products you could mis-purchase, if you don’t know what to look for. I have owned many of them over the years because car batteries fail. My experience has been that some are wonderful emergency tools, surprisingly useful accessories, as well as time/money savers, while others are just plain junk. Learn what great features they can provide and how to save time and money.
As a member of the automobile industry for over 30 years I know Battery Jump Starters well and have many years of experience using them in various situations. One thing that I have learned is the value that having one available at all times has in saving a lot of stress, time and money. The following information is based on my extensive knowledge and experience.
Best Choice: Clore JNC660
This Top rated Jumper Starter is pound for pound the most powerful jumper/ starter on the market. This ‘best buy’ jump starter delivers 1700 Peak Amps of starting power and weighs only 18 pounds. The choice of Pros around the world . I Really like that it comes with a lifetime repair/ replacement. IF it ever fails, send $75 (shipping and handling) along with whatever parts remain, and they will either repair, refurbish or replace it. FREE Shipping available. NB: This is the best selling jump starter available on the market today.
How Do They Work?
Understanding The Basics
Battery jump starters work by using a self contained battery to provide electricity temporarily to start and run a vehicle or provide power to an electrical device. Connections are made through cables with clamps at the ends (some units have additional connection options for various popular devices like ipods, phones, laptops, and TV). The starter jumper may be temporarily used in place of a battery in an emergency in some cases.
First and foremost, read and follow all safety and use directions from the manufacturer. Most jump starters will require an initial charge (even if it seems to have a charge). This insures that you begin with a FULL charge. It also helps the internal battery life and performance to be optimized. This includes turning off the ignition and all electrical accessories before connecting the jumper starter to the vehicle. Always wear eye protection. Do not lean over battery when connecting or disconnecting for maximum safety.
If possible, check the fluid level in the cells of the battery which is discharged. Fill with distilled water as indicated by the split ring within each cell to the appropriate level. This may not be possible on all batteries, as some are sealed.
NEVER TRY TO JUMP START A FROZEN, LEAKING BATTERY OR BATTERY WITH A CRACKED CASE
Secondly, when connecting to a discharged battery, use the jump starter power off switch (if so equipped) to prevent any sparks or short circuiting should you accidentally touch the positive terminal to ground when making connections. Then after connections are double checked, turn the power switch to the on position.
Connect the positive cable to the positive (red) terminal of the dead battery. Then connect the negative (black) cable to the frame of the car (or if not possible for some reason, to the negative terminal of the dead battery). Connecting to the frame of the vehicle with a low battery will reduce the chances of a spark igniting any fumes which might be near the battery.
Did You Know…..
A battery’s job is to store electricity. We all know this much about them. Not everyone knows that if a battery (that doesn’t hold a full charge) is continuously used in a vehicle, it will likely shorten the life of both the starter and alternator (this includes any battery used to jump start a vehicle). The starter doesn’t have adequate power for starting, and the alternator is constantly trying to charge a battery which cannot accept a full charge.
Heavy Duty (thicker gauge) cables and clamps improve jump starting performance greatly.
The quality of the connections to the battery is important. Without good contact, the battery cannot receive or deliver electricity effectively. The connections should make contact with the maximum surface area possible for best results.
If the battery to be boosted is either too hot or too cold, heating or cooling it closer to ideal temperatures will improve boosting performance
This is also the case with the engine to be started. A very cold or very hot engine may be harder to start.
WARNING- Never flood a hot engine with cold water as you may cause serious damage. Badly corroded battery terminal connections can cause sparks. Batteries can explode if gases from within are ignited by a spark or flame. Always exercise caution. It is a wise practice to wear protective glasses when working with batteries.
A battery can lose its charge from being dirty. (Electricity ‘leaks’ across the dirt and oil, which is present on the case of a dirty battery, from one terminal to the other. This will discharge the battery).
Slow charging is better than fast charging.
If jump starting does not work, your battery may be absorbing too much of the electrical current needed to start your car. Try connecting the negative connection from the jumper cable or jump starter to a grounded part on the engine or frame. You can also try removing (just for a moment), the negative cable end from the battery and connecting the battery jump starter to the now disconnected cable end. This reduces the draw of the dead battery on the starting job. Immediately upon starting the negative cable should be returned to its connected position on the negative battery post. Leaving the negative battery cable disconnected may increase the possibility of damage to your alternator, so do not forget to reconnect it after starting
Some drivers report using a liquid to ‘help’ the electricity more efficiently travel from the battery through the cable connections to the starter. If a liquid that can conduct electricity is poured on the connections between the battery and the cables, it may help start some vehicles which didn’t start even with the help of a powerful jump starter. It might temporarily improve the connections enough to make a difference. I do not recommend this practice without first consulting with a knowledgeable advisor.
Ohm’s Law: Amps = Volts / Ohms
Power Formula: Watts = Volts x Amps
Battery State of Charge – (at approx 85 degrees Fahrenheit)
12.70v . . . . . . . . . . 100%
12.48v . . . . . . . . . . 75%
12.25v . . . . . . . . . . 50%
12.05v . . . . . . . . . . 25%
11.90v . . . . . . . . . . 0%
An Essential Jump Starting Tool
Portable Emergency Power
At some time almost everyone will have automobile battery problems and need a source of portable power. Whether you drive a new or used car or truck, chances are you may need a battery boost at some point. When you find yourself with a dead battery, instead of calling an expensive towing company ( towing service can take hours to arrive), having a battery jumper pack on hand can get you back on the road quickly and for free! In addition to having the capability of jump starting your car, it can also provide portable power when you need to power or recharge an electrical or electronic device, and a DC power pack is at the heart of these useful tools. So for charging your I-pad, I-phone, laptop charging and extended laptop use, and portable power when you need it, A battery jump starter can make your day.
Invaluable as portable power jump starters are, it is important to remember that the batteries vary widely in their capabilities. What does that mean? Buying the wrong battery jump starter will likely lead to BIG disappointment when you really need it most. We all want the best jump starter price for a top rated jump starter. Let’s look at differences in features and capacities. Battery jump starters are known by many names, including battery jumper pack, auto battery charger/starter, car battery chargers, car battery jumper, battery starter, battery booster, best battery charger and more. Whether you want to know the best emergency car battery jump starter for an 8 cylinder truck or want help choosing a battery booster for your car, continue reading to find out what you need to know to become informed, before buying a jumper pack.
Jump-N-Carry JNC300XL 900 Peak Amp Ultraportable 12-Volt Jump Starter with Light
This light weight best seller is a good jumper/ starter for small car needs. It’s compact. It’s easy to carry. You don’t have to search around in the dark looking for connections or make the connection backwards risking your cars expensive electrical components. Includes the famous one time repair replacement coupon. For a set handling charge, they will repair or replace the JNC 300XL booster just like they offer for its bigger brother the JNC 660.
When to Use a Jumper/ Starter
Start Car without another car- Safe and Easy Self Rescue
I used my car’s battery to power my laptop while I waited at the beach for some friends to arrive. After my friends had already left, I realized that between the radio, the lights I was using and recharging my phone and my laptop, I had discharged my battery just a little too much.
When you need to:
Jump start your car battery and do so without damaging another vehicle
Recharge or Power any of the following:
* music player or i–pod
* electric tools
* air inflator/ tire compressor
* emergency heater
* radio (weather, emergency communications, am/ fm/ satellite)
* any 120 volt appliance
* oxygen concentrator
This is a partial list of possible uses for an auto battery jump starter, in addition to jump starting car batteries. One of these uses may prove to be more than just a convenience. One of these uses could help save a life. Many of us want these valuable benefits. Yet, in purchasing this type of device, most are unaware of the features,benefits and limitations of these versatile products.
The battery jump starters may:
* Vary in their capacity (power output)
* Resistance to effects of heat/cold
* Relative safety
* Have internal chargers which protect a battery from overcharging.
* Alert you to reversed connections and overcharged or undercharged conditions
* Provide multiple voltage outputs. Provide 5, 12, or 24 volts without adapters.
* Include internal air compressors
* Feature inverters to provide 120 volt power (some of these have up to three 120 volt outputs)
* Contain work/emergency lights
* Some even have radios built in.
How to Jump Start a Car with a Car Battery Jump Starter – Important Tips when Jump Starting a Dead Car Battery
Safely Jump Starting a Vehicle
Schumacher PSJ2212 12 V 22 Amp DSR Battery Jump Starter
* Features 2200 peak/330 cranking amps for 12 volt batteries
* 4-gauge, 50 inch cables
* Includes heavy-duty clamps with copper jaws
* wider base for better stability
* Weight is 27 pounds
Battery Jumper Packs: Which One?
How to choose the Best Jump Starter
Power requirements and features should drive your decision in buying a battery jump starter. Also important are the convenience, shipping costs and/ or delays. A product other than the most advertised brand, can be a great value (brand name is not everything). Be ware of the cheapest available as they are the source of most frequent disappointment.
The biggest mistakes can turn out to be:
Not getting enough power (most buyers choose less power capacity than will serve them best). Batteries may perform better and last longer if each use does not require its maximum capacity. This holds true for both the battery in your car/ truck, and when choosing a battery jump starter
What most sellers of jumper starters do not tell you is that if your battery is low, the electricity that you provide by jump starting goes first to your dead battery, and then to starting your car. This means that you need enough power to both charge your dead battery somewhat and start your car. Add to that the effects of heat or cold (batteries perform best at about 68-80 degrees fahrenheit) and vehicles are harder to start if outside the optimum temperature range (hot or cold).
Buying a unit without features which may greatly enhance the use of the product (heavy duty 4 gauge cables, longer cables,heavy duty clamps, automatic charging, air compressor
I suggest a minimum of 400CCA for a small engine and at least 550CCA (preferably more) for any 8 cylinder or diesel engine.
Remember to check your purchase (starter) when it arrives to confirm it performs correctly and fully recharges.
I have featured some of the top rated models with better than average customer reviews and specs. Remember to check on the sellers warranty /return policies. Match your preferences to the applicable model.
ATD Tools 5928 12 V 1700 Peak Amp JumpStart
* Includes on/off switch for safety
* built-in work/emergency light
* charging level/battery indicator gauge
* AC/DC power cord for charging in vehicle
* Heavy-duty impact-resistant polyethylene case with rubber base
* 74 inch 4-gauge PVC coated cables that remain flexible in extreme cold temperatures
Starting Your Car with Another Car – Using a Jump Starter eliminates the need for a second car
Jumper cables are a great tool. But what if you don’t want to risk damage to the other vehicle? OR What if you don’t want to WAIT for another vehicle to arrive? Simply use a self contained Jumper starter, if you want to eliminate the need for a second vehicle.
Battery Jump Starters and Car Battery Power Problems
What’s wrong with my Car Battery? Why is My Car Battery Dead?
I have had every kind of battery problem you can imagine. I even had a battery blow up! Car batteries are the source of a high percentage of car problems. They are used under extreme conditions, which are hot, cold, dirty, oily, environments which cause high electrical discharge .Batteries are asked to perform flawlessly for years, and in most cases get little or no maintenance. It is because of this type of use, that many batteries ultimately fail prematurely. The average car battery is used to start the vehicle, power accessories, provide lights, music, and nowadays even Television for the vehicle occupants. As a result, the car battery is discharged much during even the short trips we may take. It is during these trips that the vehicle’s alternator is often incapable of recharging the battery to a full charge. Additionally, as many as 65% of batteries are undersized for the job they are asked to do. All of the above factors help to create conditions ideal for working a battery to an untimely demise. Batteries need to remain at the fullest state of charge possible in order to perform both well and have best durability . Lack of regular use, and low state of charge, helps create sulfation (an internal corrosion process) which reduces and ultimately can kill a battery. When used in a low state of charge, the battery’s life is also diminished. Using a car battery Jumper Pack when a battery is low will help not only the starter of the vehicle, but also the alternator and keep the battery from being used while significantly discharged. Due to the rising price of lead, batteries often cost $100 or more to replace. To get the best results from your battery:
Keep it fully charged
Keep the case clean
Check electrolyte level in the cells and refill as necessary
Keep connections tight, clean and corrosion free
Prevent it from freezing (a fully charged battery does not freeze as easily), and remember that hot conditions kill battery life also.
Truck PAC ES6000 3000 Peak Amp 12V Battery Jump Starter
What Happens If The Cables are Connected Backwards?
Avoid Serious Damage – Use Wisely
One man’s experience….
” I was helping a buddy of mine who needed a jump. It wasn’t the first time I helped him when his car wouldn’t start, so I trusted that he was going to hook up the jumper cables correctly without my supervision. After about 10-15 seconds when his battery began to smoke, I freaked out and realized what he had done. He had connected the jumper cables backwards!”
Connecting cables or jump starters backwards can cause significant damage to a vehicles electrical system. Fuses, fusible links, and even a vehicle’s computer may be vulnerable to damage if connections are reversed. It could cost hundreds of dollars to repair. Most connections are marked(red) for positive and (black) for negative connections. Jump starters and jumper cables are available with reverse connection protection.
* This is one of many good reasons why smart people buy a battery jump starter. There is no need for a second vehicle. Using a separate battery, a jump starter enables you to prevent damaging the vehicle used to start the vehicle which won’t start.
How Much do They Cost?
From less than $50 to $500
Cheap battery jump starters are sold at many outlets and retailers. They are a great, economical solution to “my car won’t start”. But before we race off for the ‘bargain spot’ special, consider a couple of ideas first. This type of product is a ‘rescue battery’ conveniently packaged in a box complete with cables, clamps, and other optional accessories such as lights, gauges, meters, safety protection and electronic chargers. The batteries themselves are usually Gel cell or the SLA battery (Sealed Lead Acid) type. If purchased alone (just the battery without anything else) they can cost between approx. $35 to $399. They range in price so widely because of the quality, durability, and the amount of power they can provide. The lowest cost battery may be an ‘it could work’ option for ‘car won’t start’ problems. The cables, clamps, meters, lights, chargers, and safety protection devices all also range in quality. So knowledgeable experts will advise you to spend your money on a product which will work, and not take a chance on a ‘I hope this thing will work’ product? To put costs in perspective, a good reliable battery jumper will cost approximately the same as a tank of fuel. A single call for emergency roadside rescue may cost you more plus your valuable time (even if you have roadside service like AAA or a like service. They have limited resources, and you simply have to wait, sometimes for hours. There are incidents where nobody responded even after calling roadside service). If you have no such service, expect to pay $90 and up (and you still have to wait). A quality jump starter will last for years (properly maintained). The quality units are strong enough to jump start a vehicle many times. Often a car needing a boost will stall, perhaps several times. Imagine having a booster and it running out of electricity before you are safely on your way. I suggest that you buy quality for peace of mind.
Jump N Carry 950 2000 Peak Amp Booster/ Starter
“THE” Favorite for guaranteed power- with a Lifetime Replacement coupon. When you want the BEST!
This jump starter has Higher quality power,cables,and clamps which provide better results. Also, the automatic charging is more convenient and helps to prevent accidental overcharging . Winning features, greater performance.Check out the best price for JNC 950 Jumper.
I really like that it comes with a lifetime repair/ replacement coupon (I found out on Amazon). IF it ever fails, send $75 (shipping and handling) along with whatever parts remain, and they will either repair, refurbish or replace it. FREE. Shipping available.
Industrial grade, Hot Jaw clamps
It’s the largest 12 Volt Jump-N-Carry unit.
With 2000 Peak Amps of starting power, it will start 1-6 commercial trucks. Plus, its heavy-duty battery satisfies the most aggressive portable power users. Its onboard automatic charger can provide up to 24 Hour/365 Day continuous charging.
The ubiquitous automatic transmission is something that most of us take for granted in our daily routine, often leaving it negelected and misunderstood. Being complicated with many internal parts, it is one of the most expensive components to repair in our cars and trucks. This guide is for the daily user to get the most out of their automatic. It is not a “how to” tutorial on servicing and rebuilding transmissions nor does give a detailed explanation how an automatic transmission works. My goal is to dispel the many myths and otherwise bad information out there to help you, the consumer, make informed decisions when having your transmission serviced. And of course, this information should be useful anyone that services their own vehicle.
Shift Into Reverse
The first mass produced automatic transmission was GM’s Hydra-Matic introduced in 1939. With humble beginnings, automatic trasmissions have progessively gotten more and more sophistcated over the years. Throughout the 1950s, 2 speeds were the norm like in the Chevy Power-Glide. By then end of the 1960s, 3 speeds became the standard. A fourth, overdrive gear followed suit with electronic controls coming online in the 1980s. Now 5 and 6 speeds are common and there’s even an 8 speed available from Lexus! An automatic trasmission has hundreds of parts with some of these newer units having over 1,000 pieces which translate into more expense if they require replacement.
What’s going on in there?
Automatic transmissions basically work with various internal components that are “held” and/or “applied” by friction devices known as clutches and bands. With the given combination of these applications, power is transmitted through the transmission at the necessary forward ratios or reverse.
The torque converter itself is a hydraulic coupling device that basically serves as a clutch between the engine and transmission. It is what allows your car to sit still at a redlight while in gear. Add engine speed and the converter hydraulically engages moving the car.
Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) is a hydraulic fluid that serves to clean, cool and lubricate the internal components of the transmission. It is the same fluid that creates the “coupling” in the torque converter. ATF is also what hydraulically applies the components mentioned above. The fluid distrubition is through the valve body, a device with a fine maze of small passages and valves. There are numerous gaskets, rubber o-rings and seals that keep the fluid where it belongs.
Knowing how this network of parts work is not as important as knowing these factors:
- There is pressure and friction going on inside of your transmission which means HEAT.
- There are small moving parts with close tolerances. They must remain CLEAN and move freely.
- Heat and contamination can damage and/or impede the operation of these components.
- The failure of a single component will cause a malfunction or complete failure of an automatic transmission.
- There is no such thing as a mechanic in a can.
Once something fails internally, it’s a diminished return; however there are some components that can be serviced without transmission removal or complete overhaul if they are dealt with promptly. Many times though, one failure will lead to another like dominoes.
Example: A small rubber seal loses its integrity because of excessive heat. This results in a loss of fluid pressure that would apply a component such as a clutch pack. That clutch pack begins to slip a little. The slippage generates even more heat damaging further components which causes even more heat. Friction media begins to shed itself into the “bloodstream” of the transmission. A particle of contamination impedes the function of another component and so on. It’s a vicious cycle of runaway temperatures until something finally burns itself out leaving you stranded.
More on the ATF…
Automatic Transmission Fluid is an often overworked and abused multi-tasker, as it cools, cleans, lubricates and is required to move parts under pressure. Over time, the heat and hard work will deteriorate the fluid and its ability to do the jobs we’ve asked it to do. It’s impotant for the fluid to be replaced at the manufacturer’s service intervals if not more frequently. This is especially important in heavy duty applications or severe operating conditions.
Something that is overlooked is the type of fluid that goes into your transmission. In the old days, it was pretty much Type F for Ford and Dexron for GM. Those days are gone and there are different types of fluid out there that are specifically engineered for the transmission they go in. Among other things, they each have different friction properties. They do not mix well and adding the wrong fluid type to your transmission can mean trouble down the road. Be wary of “universal” fluids. Your owners manual and sometimes dipstick will tell you what fluid goes into your transmission. I promise you that it will not say “Use only Universal Fluid from El Cheapo Auto Parts.” Some makes, especially German cars, specify a fluid that the chain parts houses do not carry. This means it will come from a dealer or import specialist and it’s expensive. It’s still better than replacing a $5,000 transmission though.
Use your dipstick…
The fluid level and condition should be checked once a week. If you don’t know how to check your ATF, it’s pretty simple to learn. A mechanic should be glad to show you, especially if you’re a lady. The transmission should be completely warmed to operating temperature. The car should be on a flat, level surface and in P(ark) or N(eutral). With the warm engine running, pull the dipstick and wipe it clean with a lint free cloth or paper towel. Replace the dipstick making sure that it is fully seated. Pull the stick again and note its level in relation to the marks near the bottom of the stick. There are generally 2 marks around an inch apart. The warm fluid level should be up to the upper mark but not past it. A level showing between the marks is usually acceptable. If it is short of the lower mark, then the proper fluid should be added. This will require a funnel that will fit into the dipstick tube as it is added there. Only add a small amount at the time, checking the level frequently as you add. Do not over-fill your transmission. Different manufacturers will mark their dipsticks differently and often have some type of directions stamped onto the dipstick itself. Your owner’s manual or workshop manual should give you the information specific to your car.
This dipstick is from a 2002 Dodge Neon with about 150K miles and a fairly well maintained transmission. The fluid level is fine. The fluid condition is not bad but is dark enough to warrant a service in the near future. Notice that this stick has separate ranges for both “hot” and “cold.” The fluid still should be checked “hot” in which would be the upper 2 marks on this stick.
What’s that smell?
Along with the fluid level, it is important to pay attention to the condition of the fluid. A simple visual examination and smell test can tell you a lot about what is going on inside of your tranny.
Take a sniff of the fluid. It should smell like oil and nothing else. If it smells scorched, there is an internal problem. A friction component has gotten too hot and burned up. The scorched smell will coincide with very dark fluid color. Any particles on the stick, especially metallic, indicate an internal failure. If the car is still drivable with scorched fluid and/or a metal presentation, then it’s only matter of time before the transmission will die. Under those circumstances, servicing the transmission is a near moot point and may lead to a quicker break down.
Look at the color of the fluid after wiping some on a white lint-free cloth or paper towel. Fresh fluid will have a bright rosy color. It is normal for ATF to darken over its service life so don’t be alarmed if your fluid has a brownish tint to it. This is a good cue for a proper transmission service in the near future. If the fluid is really dark but not burned, the service needs to happen ASAP.
You gotta be cool…
Heat is the number one enemy of automatic transmissions. Letting high temps take charge is asking for failure. Auto manufacturers build a small transmission cooler within the radiator which means it is being cooled by hot engine coolant. It is better than nothing but still short of ideal, especially when towing or someone with a hot foot. You will find that part of a towing package is an auxillary transmission cooler.
Adding an aftermarket cooler to supplement the factory setup is relatively inexpensive and good added insurance for your transmission. There are absolutely no downside to this with proper installation. Most do-it-yourselfers can do this at home in an afternoon or a reputable shop can install one for you. These kits can be purchsed for well under $100 with some starting under $50.
Touching on fluid again: Low fluid levels will cause temps to elevate and if it’s low enough, things will slip starting that vicious cycle I mentioned before. Adding a cooler will give a slight increase in fluid capacity which will can handle the heat better.
The Great Debate.
There is much debate, confusion and misinformation online regarding the proper service of automatic transmissions. A lot of well intended but misguided information comes from auto enthusiast forums. Many times information is quoted as fact but is actually someone regurgitating something they’ve seen before. There are extremely knowledgeable people online that provide great information but there are far more people that just don’t know. Before banking information, you should consider if the source has had formal training and professional experience etc. Cousin It may be handy with home repair, oil changes and tune ups but it doesn’t make him a transmission professional. Who’s to say he didn’t learn a bad practice from the World Wide Web…?
A Clean Transmission Is A Happy Transmission.
Automatic transmissions need to be properly serviced at their required intervals if not before. The debate is over how they are getting serviced.
- Should the service be a drain and fill?
- Should it be dropping the transmission pan, cleaning it and replacing the filter?
- Should it be “flushed.”
These methods often get confused. There is actually more than one flushing method and a service doesn’t necessarily mean a flush was performed. The first is the “flush machine,” mostly found at the nation’s Fasty Lube chains. The other is a method used by dealerships, repair garages and the guys at home. Each have there merits and pitfalls.
Junk in the Sump
There is one underlying fact that you should consider before making a decision on where or how you will get your transmission serviced. At the bottom of your transmission is a pan. Think of it as resovoir of sorts for your fluid. It is removable, and in most cases, it is removed to replaced the transmission filter. Over time, fine particles from normal wear accumulate in the bottom of the pan. Most pans will have magnets to keep the metallic particles in place. When you remove a pan you will have an almost paste like “slurry” coating on the bottom of the pan which consists of friction material and fine metal particles blended with fuid. Higher mileage, negelct and abuse will present more matter in the pan. Removing the pan is the only way to clean this gunk out. The pan pictured here is a fairly mild case with normal use and service.
The Traditional Service
The traditional automatic transmission service consisted of removing the pan, cleaning it and replacing the filter. Most pans do not have drain plugs so it can be messy. A drain plug is nice since you can drain the fluid then drop the pan. Some folks will tap the pan and add a drain plug for future service.
The downsides to this are: Not all of the fluid will be removed. The average car transmission will hold around 12 quarts of fluid, give or take. Trucks and SUVs will hold more. This method will only get 4-6 quarts however some cars have a drain for the torque coverter which may get another 4 or so quarts. Some consider this “invasive” and therefore risky.
The upsides are: You get that nasty gunk out of your pan. You get a new filter. The technician will get a good idea of the condition of the transmission based on what’s in the pan.
Some people elect to first clean the pan, change the filter then repeat changing the fluid until it has been mostly replaced. It’s easier with a drain plug of course.
One way of flushing the transmission is by disconnecting a cooler line from the radiator and pumping the fluid out (engine running) while adding new fluid through the dipstick.
The advantages are: All of the fluid can get replaced with less fluid wasted than in the traditional method. It is simpler, usually less messy and less invasive than the traditional method.
The disadvantages are: There’s a risk of pumping too much fluid out before replacing it with new fluid thus causing damage. This may not be so much an issue for professionals that use this method as it could be for a shadetree guy. The pan does not get cleaned or the filter replaced with this method alone.
The pan and filter may be serviced first and then the remaining fluid be flushed. I prefer this and this is how I service my cars as well as customers cars.
Cooler Line Flush Machines
The 2nd flush method is via the hotly debated flush machine. These are mostly found at fasty lubes and muffler/brake/tire chains although a few shops and dealers are using them.
The advantages are: It’s fast and convenient. It replaces almost all of the fluid.
The disadvantages are: The obvious disadvantage is the pan and filter are not being serviced which in lies the problem of these machines. Some models of this machine use higher pressure to “power flush” the transmission. That alone may cause transmission damage. The bigger issue is that the abrasive sump slurry is being forced up into the filter and possibly into the delicate inner workings of the transmission.
Many people have had this procedure done and find themselves having their car towed into a transmission shop for a $2,000 repair bill. This doesn’t mean that using this machine will ruin your transmission but it has and may happen.
Defenders of these machines make these arguments:
- Replacing all of the fluid is better than a partial replacement. That in itself is true.
- Removing the pan is invasive and risky. False
- The filter is a simple screen and can be left in place. False. It is a very fine mesh that may become clogged when that past like slurry gets washed up into it. They were designed to be serviced and sold everywhere for a reason.
They also argue that newer model machines don’t use high pressure blah blah blah. It doesn’t matter. These machines do not clean the pan sediment from the transmission nor do they replace the fliter however they may very well wash it up into the old filter and beyond.
The machines are like slot machines. They are there to make Fasty Lube money. You may win or you may lose. In most cases, oil change technicians are not formally trained and certfied mechanics nor have they had training in automatics transmissions other than running the flush machine. I’m not attacking the individuals; they have a job to do and they do provide a convenient means of getting your oil changed, which everyone should be doing. The hook is they will invariably try to sell you overpriced products or services that at times are not even needed. Women are often easy targets of these services.
The youtube videos and before and after pictures are not telling the whole story. They don’t show what was in the pan and how it may have been washed through the transmission. Of course a freshly replaced fluid sample will be brighter than the old fluid. It will remain bright until a clogged filter or contamination stir-fries the transmission.
Defenders also say transmissions were ruined because they had a pre-existing problem. That may be true at times however a transmission on its last leg will tell you by the condition of the fluid. It’s not a good idea for a car owner to run get a flush when the transmission starts misbehaving. The average consumer may not know that though. They should actually have a mechanic check it first. A lube place with good practices should take a quick look at the fluid and ask the consumer questions before pushing another quickie flush sale and getting them out of the door.
I don’t know of any transmission shops that approve of these machines unless the pan and filter have been serviced first. Most transmission professionals will tell you to avoid them like the plague.
Pump Inlet Flush Machines
Finally, there is a newer type of flush machine known as a pump inlet flush machine. In this case the technician removes the pan for cleaning and replaces the filter. New fluid goes directly into the inlet and old fluid is removed without being recirculated through the transmission.
This advantage of this method is that it covers all of the bases: The mechanic can inspect the contents of the pan and clean it properly. You get all new fluid and a new filter. Its only disadvantage is the service will cost more which is insignificant compared to transmission repair.
I know that this was a lot of information but I hope that it will help you have the advantage in getting the most out of your automatic transmission. A happy transmssion makes for a happy car. A happy car makes for a happy car owner.