Like any other fluids in your car, you need to replace transmission fluid at regular intervals. So, how often do you change transmission fluid? The smoothness of your vehicle’s gears and clutch packs depends on the regularity of changing transmission fluid.
While most people familiar with motor oil know it should be changed regularly, the transmission fluid often remains underestimated. As a result, they are hesitant about how often to change the transmission filter.
This is why we have come up with our guidelines to preserve the smoothness of crucial components of your car. So, let’s go in-depth.
What is Transmission Fluid?
Transmission fluid is one of the essential fluids of a vehicle that protects clutch packs and gears by ensuring crisp and smooth shifting. The absence of transmission fluid can lead the gears to wear out or overheat. This could result in a significant repair expense in the end.
This is why, like other fluids in your car, you need to change transmission fluid regularly.
Symptoms of Low Transmission Fluid
There are some common symptoms of low transmission fluid. These could be some issues that you’ll notice when the transmission fluid is low, and your car requires a transmission oil change.
Low transmission fluid can occur some issues, including
- Increased transmission temperatures
- Inconsistent or jerky shifts
- Burning smell
- Slipping gears
- Transmission leaks
How often do you change transmission fluid?
Generally, there are two types of significant transmission: automatic transmission fluid and manual transmission fluid. However, synthetic transmission fluid and various specified transmission fluids depend on the dual-clutch models and CVT.
This is why many people with different models get themselves hesitant about how often to change transmission fluid honda or how often should I change my transmission fluid Toyota Camry?
No matter what car model you have, here are the ideal guidelines about the frequency of changing significant types of transmission fluid.
How Often to Change Automatic Transmission Fluid
The fluid in automatic transmission vehicles is named Automatic Transmission Fluid. This fluid gets burnt or goes wrong or deteriorates after a certain period. However, the deterioration of automatic transmission fluid depends on how much you’re stopping your vehicle in the city’s traffic, carrying how much load, or town trailers.
The more transmission being operated, the more deterioration occurring to fluid due to heat generation; when the liquid becomes hotter, it creates more stress on the transmission and the fluid itself.
Most of the automatic car manufacturers recommend changing transmission fluid within 100,000 to 150,000 miles. However, if you go to a mechanic, they may suggest you change it earlier.
However, the best thing would be changing automatic transmission fluid after 60,000 to 75,000 miles of riding. Still, you should check the user manual to get a proper guideline.
How Often to Change Transmission Fluid Manual
Most car manufacturers recommend changing the manual transmission oil at every 30,000 to 60,000 miles. However, the frequency may depend on the model and make of your manual car.
For the actual manual transmission fluid change interval, you can check the car manual. If you’re putting more stress on the manual transmission, your transmission fluid might require to be changed earlier than usual. This interval could be at every 20,000 miles.
Stressful conditions generally refer to driving shorter distances, frequently stopping at city traffic, rarely driving on the highway. In such cases, you have to change your manual transmission fluid sooner.
Besides, if you’re a new driver and shifting the gear too frequently, you might often require to change the manual transmission fluid.
How to Check Transmission Fluid
Transmission fluid dipstick isn’t available in many modern cars, and this is why automakers recommend checking the fluid in a service center. However, if your car has a dipstick, you can easily do it. First, let’s see how to check the transmission fluid.
- Read through the owner’s manual for the recommended process of checking the transmission fluid.
- Place the car on a flat surface for accurate reading
- Wait until the engine components cool down.
- Check the engine off or on, as it can affect the result
- While some cars recommend moving the gear selector, the ideal procedure is to keep the car neutral.
- Find out the dipstick with the help of the user manual.
- Remove the dipstick and check the fluid level. Be careful to avoid oil spilling and wipe the dipstick off using a fresh rag.
- Reinsert the dipstick.
How long does it take to change transmission fluid?
Changing transmission fluid may take only 30 minutes so far. However, the process can be integrated with any other services. These could be transmission inspection and Midas touch courtesy check.
So, the average time for changing transmission fluid can be one hour. In some cases, especially for new car models, the time can be less than older car models.
How to flush transmission fluid
So, how to flush transmission fluid? If you’re a do-it-yourself expert, you can do it on your own. However, the process of a transmission flush requires specific tools. These are
- Transmission Fluid
- Screwdriver, Socket set, and ratchet
- Drain Pan
- Wooden block or wheel chock
- Jack stands, and a floor jack
- Long neck funnel
- Paper towels or rags
After collecting all these tools, you can proceed to the primary process. First, let’s have a look at how to flush transmission fluid.
- First, start the engine and wait until it warms up.
- Find out the cooler lines of two transmission oil and disconnect them
- Pull out the transmission dipstick from underneath the hood
- Keep the engine on and pour the fluid. Remember to pour all 9 quarts.
- Reconnect the oil cooler lines
- Check for leaks by starting the engine again
- Take back the vehicle on ground level and warm up the engine
- Check fluid level
Transmission fluid change vs. flush
Many people get themselves confused about transmission fluid change and transmission flush. However, these processes are different so far.
Transmission Fluid Change
Transmission fluid change is the process of replacing 50-60% of the transmission fluid. This process doesn’t require any special equipment. When you’re changing the transmission fluid, you’re leaving some old fluid and making a mixture with the new fluid. First, however, you have to replace the transmission filter.
During the transmission flush, you have to replace 100% of the transmission fluid using a flushing machine or a pump inlet. In this process, you’re adding completely new ATF fluid with the help of special equipment and leaving no old fluid.
Cost of Transmission Flush
Generally, you may need to spend approximately $125 to $250 for a transmission flush. However, the cost of transmission flush can differ depending on the model of your vehicle, the equipment used, additional services, your location, and so on.
You can budget $150 as the average cost for a transmission flush. In the case of DIY color, you can finish the process at $40 to $90.
Cost to Change Transmission Fluid
If you’re going to change your transmission fluid at a service center, by a dealer, or private mechanic, you may need to spend $80 to $250. The average cost to change transmission fluid is $100.
However, if you want to do it yourself, the cost could be $40 to $90 so far. Although the total price can vary depending on the type of transmission fluid, make, and model of the car.
Does changing transmission fluid improve performance?
While many people underestimate replacing transmission fluid, it provides multiple benefits to the engine. And the most important fact is that changing transmission fluid can improve the engine’s overall performance and transmission.
Besides, after changing the transmission fluid, you’ll experience some benefits, including
- Better Fuel Economy
- No Engine Lock-Up
- Saves You Money
- Car Runs Better
So, now you might have learned about the importance of transmission fluid and why and when to change transmission fluid. As we have discussed everything that you need to know about changing transmission fluid, don’t delay changing the transmission fluid if you notice any symptoms of bad transmission fluid.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I change the transmission fluid myself?
Yes, you can change the transmission fluid with your own time. However, it may require a little bit of expertise to avoid any unexpected occurrence. If you’re a new driver and have no knowledge about those components, you should go to a professional mechanic.
Does Ford recommend transmission flush?
There is no hard and fast recommendation for a transmission flush in Ford. However, the manufacturer primarily recommends a transmission flush at every 30,000 to 50,000 miles.
What is the best high mileage transmission fluid?
Depending on customer reviews and performance, Pennzoil Platinum is considered the best high mileage transmission fluid.
Does flushing a transmission cause problems?
Generally, flushing transmission won’t cause any problem. However, if your transmission fluid transmission components are damaged, flushing can affect the valve body and cause issues. In addition, it could result in loss of shifting ability between gears.