Towing a travel trailer or fifth-wheel can be tough on a vehicle’s transmission, as full-time RVers Erin and Patrick Floresca discovered firsthand. Erin and Patrick drive a Ford F-350 Powerstroke Diesel with a Regal Prowler fifth-wheel in tow. Usually the truck tackles steep inclines without problems, but after spending a day driving the winding roads of Yellowstone National Park, they felt a drag in their vehicle’s performance. When faced with a 9,000-foot summit pass, the Florescas decided to take an alternate route. As they turned around, a steady stream of fluid began spewing from the engine. “We got the rig off the roadway and started to inspect. It didn’t look good. We were stranded in the middle of nowhere,” noted Erin Lehn Floresca, who is the RV editor for Bella Online (bellaonline.com) and writes a detailed account of their experience in the newsletter. Experienced fulltimers, Erin and Patrick were no strangers to Good Sam RV Emergency Road Service (ERS) (goodsamclub.com/ers) and didn’t hesitate to call the dispatch center. Soon the Florescas’ truck and fifth-wheel were towed three hours to town. So how can RVers prevent potential transmission problems that interrupt an enjoyable trip? Before heading out, check transmission-fluid levels and make sure there are no leaks. During these scorching summer months in particular, tow vehicles often fall prey to high temperatures, steep roads and heavy loads. With an engine that is working harder, the coolant becomes hotter and the transmission might start to slip. One of the biggest money savers to keep a vehicle in top condition is to periodically check the level of transmission fluid and renew it according to the vehicle’s owner’s manual recommendations. Some RVers opt for synthetic transmission fluid, add-on performance enhancers or auxiliary coolers. To learn more about improving transmission performance, contact a transmission specialist. Cottman Transmissions (cottman.com) and Good Sam RV ERS have teamed up to offer a 10 percent discount (up to $100) on automatic-transmission and driveline repairs, as well as specially priced transmission-fluid changes for Good Sam members.
Originally Published in Trailer Life Magazine