As many of you know, I own a 1991 Pontiac 6000 and I absolutely heart my car. I actually had to take it away from my grandmother, who at the time was 92 and who possessed both near-blinding cataracts and a totally valid Massachusetts driver's license.
Of course, preventative maintenance is important when you're driving a 18-year-old car all over the Northeast, and something had been bothering me about the car of late. In the morning, or the first start of the day, the car would struggle a bit to get out of first gear, and then WHAM it would move into the next gear. For the rest of the day, everything in terms of gear shifting would be fine, but it was almost as if the car itself didn't want to wake up and go to the day job. "Yo Chuck man, let me sleep a bit and look cool in the driveway."
So I thought to myself, when was the last time I changed the transmission fluid in the car?
And for the life of me, I couldn't remember ever changing it - and the car's up to 134,000 miles driven!
Of course, this necessitated a trip to my local Valvoline center (for those of you who know me, I'm extremely particular about where I take the 6000 - it's either the Valvoline center for fluids like oil changes, DePaula Chevrolet for mechanical issues, and Sears Auto Center for tires and the like - after what happened with Pep Boys last November, I basically only use them for things like headlight bulb replacements). They hooked my car up to what looked like a vehicular IV machine, and shoved a tube down the car's transmission fluid intake valve.
Then the crew at Valvoline started up a pump, and I watched as cherry-red transmission fluid came out of the tube, and coffee-black transmission fluid was sucked out of my car. Apparently this is how one changes transmission fluid in high-end vehicles like Mercedes-Benz cars, so I went with it. 20 minutes later, my car had fresh transmission blood in it, and the car immediately seemed to respond well. The hard shift from first to second gear was not as hard as it once was, meaning I may have saved my car from the dreaded TTT - the Terrible Transmission Termination.
I went back to Valvoline the next day, and they topped off the fluids (apparently after it cycles through all the nooks and crannies of the transmission, it needs to settle, and an extra half a pint needed to be added). Just more preventative maintenance to keep the 6000 running for another photography road trip this weekend.