Is a transmission flush a good idea?

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I did a google search on the topic but got a lot of conflicting
opinions.  My question is simple: would it be a good idea to get a
transmission flush done on my car?  I have a 1998 Chevy Prism with
almost 98k miles on it.  The car hasn't had any problems save for an
air condition repair last June (that I paid way too much for, but
that's another issue).  Anyway, I could get a transmission flush for
around $40 with all the specials shops seem to be running around here.
 They claim their transmission flushes clean out the torque converter
and replace almost all of the old fluid.  Would having this service
done to my car be a wise choice or would I be wasting my money?

thanks,
Joe Broge

Re: Is a transmission flush a good idea?
Currently I'm going thru the transmission loop of what's wrong with my
transmission and how/where to fix it.  I just got off the phone
yesterday with a decent independent mechanic shop near me and he
discussed this very same question / answer.  Basically it goes like
this...  if you never had the fluid changed, it could be dirty enough
to have particles in it which accumulated and created a sludge which
stuck to some of the seals/gaskets which may be helping it from
leaking.  If you change out the fluid, that sludge goes out and now
the seals are no longer protected by the sludge and it now "could"
leak.  In this case, it probably was better not to change it and have
the seals replaced.  
On the other hand, if the fluid was changed fairly often or doesn't
appear dirty, it should be fine to change it with no consequences.
Therefore it really depends and as he said, it's a crap shoot.  He
told me that he had one case where he flushed out some transmission
and while the car drove in, after the flush it was undriveable (feel
sorry for that person).  


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Re: Is a transmission flush a good idea?
snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Joe) wrote in message

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Depends on how often you've been changing the transmission fluid.
Is it red in color or brown?
In my view, if you plan on keeping the car, it's nice to have all the
fliuid changed, then after that just maintain regular transmission
servicing by draining fluid from the pan.
If your existing fluid is already in good condition, you wouldn't need
this service, but bear in mind, most transmission failures seem to
result from "burned" fluid. Once the fluid is overheated, it tends to
degrade more rapidly, so changing it often really helps extend
transmission life.