How to Change Transmission Fluid: Step by Step

How to change transmission fluid

Obviously, there is a wide list of service that average driver cannot do, still, transmission fluid change is simple enough to do it yourself and to save a couple of hours in the service center.

Checking the transmission fluid level should be done regularly every month by using a dipstick. You should pay attention to its color and smell if it is bright and sweet – everything is OK, but if you spot some dirty or it smells burnt you need to change the fluid. If the oil level is low, add some fresh transmission fluid.

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How often should you change the transmission fluid?

To get to know about transmission fluid change frequency you need to open the manual and find out the proper schedule, it is recommended to change the fluid every 30-60 thousand miles. A transmission fluid change frequency depends on the transmission model, your driving habits, and the conditions.

Conditions may include trailer towing, high-speed driving or driving in harsh terrain, as a result, such car needs to be serviced more often. Automatic transmissions need the transmission fluid change every 60-100 thousand miles.

How much does the transmission fluid change cost?

The cost of transmission fluid change ranges from 80 to 250$ at independent mechanic or service center. If you brave enough to change it yourself the price will be cut in a half. The change process is easy and everything you need is to buy the filter and gasket for 40-90$, and the main component – the transmission fluid.

Note: A transmission flush is a totally different change process and costs twice more expensive.

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How to check the transmission fluid?

It is easy to check whether your car needs some fluid:

  1. Turn on the car and let it run few minutes (before the check let the oil to warm up).
  2. Use the wipe stick and put it in and out to check the transmission fluid.
  3. If the quality of the oil is ok, just pour some more oil up to the normal level. The main thing is not to overfill the system.
  4. If the oil smells burnt it means that it has to be changed. Appropriate oil has pink or red color and smells sweet.


Put your car on ramps

Before starting the procedure you have to prepare the car. Begin with putting the car on ramps or just jack up the front part of your vehicle. Don’t forget to use a block or stoppers not to let your car roll on the street or over you. Put on our clothes because the job is quite messy. Of course, you may use some newspapers not to make the driveway dirty.

Find the transmission Pan

Put your largest oil pan directly underneath. Starts with removing bolts slowly, don’t forget to keep your face away from the way.

Once you remove the bolt the fluid will pour, put all bolts away and let the oil drain into the pan. After that, wash all the deposits out of the pan with a help of transmission fluid. It is recommended to examine deposits in order to determine the status of the transmission and whether there are no other problems.

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Check the Gasket

Check this out in order to prevent the unplanned urgent replacement. If it looks worn, you should replace it. It is better to apply a thin layer of sealant in order to ensure the tight connection and the proof seal.

Remove the filter

After having the fluid drained, you have to change the filter. Be sure, the filter is full of transmission fluid, so be careful. Replace it with a new one and fit it in according to the manual. Then take bolts and place them appropriately, tight them with a help of a tool only after using a hand. Now it is the time to add some new transmission fluid. Almost everyone spill it, so don’t mind.

After completing the process, start your car and make it run for several minutes. Try to shift gears and park your car. Then you may control the dipstick. Put it inside several times to determine correctly the transmission fluid level, it must be on the correct line meaning “full”. If everything is just ok, you can take away ramps and blocks and feel delighted – you have just changed the transmission fluid yourself.

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