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How Often to Change Transmission Fluid

Are you wondering how often to change transmission fluid? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Taking good care of your car is an essential part of having a reliable vehicle for years to come, and changing your transmission fluid regularly can help keep it running smoothly.

In this blog post, we will discuss why you should consider replacing your transmission fluid from time to time, as well as offer helpful tips on what type of fluids work best and how often they should be replaced. We will also provide a few simple steps to help you check your transmission fluid at home.

What Does Transmission Fluid Do?

When it comes to the maintenance of your car’s transmission system, transmission fluid is a must-have. Not only does it lubricate vital mechanical parts, but it also helps to keep everything running smoothly. What’s more, this essential fluid also keeps transmission pressure and temperature in check to ensure optimal performance, guards against oxidation and conditions the gasket, and helps to prevent corrosion and rust build-up in your transmission system! Safe to say that having a fresh supply of transmission fluid around can really do you a lot of good.

Related: Transmission Overheating: Symptoms, Causes, Solutions

How Often Should You Change the Transmission Fluid?

How Often Should You Change the Transmission Fluid 002
How Often Should You Change the Transmission Fluid 002


If you drive manual, it’s recommended that you change your transmission fluid every 30,000 to 60,000 miles. If you have an automatic car, the range increases to 60,000 to 100,000 miles.

However, it may be necessary to change the fluid more often if you drive in heavy traffic or tow heavy items on a regular basis. In cases of heavy-duty usage with a manual car, consider changing your transmission fluid at least every 15,000 miles.

Always consult with an auto technician should you need advice on when and how to change your transmission fluid.

Related: Common Causes of Black Transmission Fluid

Does My Manual Transmission Vehicle Need Its Fluid Changed?

The answer is yes! Some vehicles require special manual transmission fluid and some are even compatible with the same transmission fluid that’s used for automatic models. It all depends on your type of vehicle, so it’s important that you take a look at your vehicle manual or get in touch with the manufacturer for their recommendations.

Making sure you have the right kind of transmission fluid can help keep the transmission and clutch in good working order and make them last much longer.


What Type of Transmission Fluid is Best for Your Vehicle?

Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF)

Depending on your vehicle’s specific make and model, the answer could vary significantly. From Mercon V and Mercon LV to Dexron VI, Matic S, K or D – there is a seemingly endless list of types available. Considering the technical differences between these ATFs can be a daunting task for those unfamiliar with their vehicle’s inner workings.

Synthetic blends are also available which come with their own set of pros and cons so it is always important to do your research before deciding what type of fluid is right for you.

Continuously Variable Transmission Fluid (CVT Fluid)

If you have a modern car, truck or SUV and it is manufactured for the use of continuously variable transmission fluid, then it is essential to use CVT fluid. Using regular automatic transmission fluid instead can lead to problems and long-term damage for your vehicle.


How much to change transmission fluid?

The cost can vary drastically depending on where you decide to take your vehicle and how much you’re willing to do yourself. Should you choose to have a professional handle the job, mechanics shops or dealerships may charge between $80 and $250 for the labor alone.

On the flip side, tackling the project yourself can save a good amount of money as it should only run between $50 and $100 when factoring in oil and any necessary parts.

Related: How Long Do Transmissions Last

What Happens If You Don’t Change Your Transmission Fluid?

Don’t risk system failure or costly repairs by neglecting to change your transmission fluid. Low levels of transmission fluid can impede performance and accelerate wear on important components, compromising the smooth operation of your vehicle. This can result in delayed shifts, gear slippage, power loss and unexpected gear changes that could create an unsafe driving situation for you and other motorists.


Signs You Need to Change Transmission Fluid

If you’re unsure whether or not it’s time to change your transmission fluid, the best and safest option is to either inspect it yourself or have a trained technician take a look.

Ideally, transmission fluid will be a rich and vibrant red color; however, if it appears dark brown or blackened you should get it checked as soon as possible.

Additionally, there are other tell-tale signs that can indicate that new transmission fluid is needed such as difficult shifting, grinding noises while shifting, slipping gears and unexpected surging – forward or backward.


How Much Transmission Fluid Do I Need?

When determining how much transmission fluid I’ll need for my vehicle, it’s important to check the owner’s manual for the recommended capacity. The amount of fluid you need can range from 8-9 quarts for small passenger cars to more than 20 quarts for heavy-duty trucks.

This number could range even higher depending on the make and model of your car so looking at an owner’s manual or consulting a professional mechanic is always wise.


How does low transmission fluid cause wear?

Low transmission fluid can cause some components to wear out prematurely due to the friction created by lack of lubrication. Without adequate amounts of fluid, transmission gears can slip, preventing the vehicle from engaging properly and leading to premature wear on important parts like clutches and bands.

The internal parts of a transmission are made up of small, thin pieces that rely heavily on their lubricated environment for proper performance – without enough fluid, these parts can be damaged or fail completely. This is why it’s best practice to check your levels often and keep them at a healthy level.

How to Check Your Transmission Fluid?

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How Often to Change Transmission Fluid 003


1. Park your car on a level surface and let the engine run for 10-15 minutes to warm up the transmission fluid. This will make it easier to read the dipstick.

2. Pop open your hood and locate the transmission fluid dipstick – this is usually located near other engine components like the oil or coolant reservoir, however you can refer to your owner’s manual if unsure.

3. Remove the dipstick from its tube and wipe off any excess fluid with a clean rag before inserting it back in its tube until it stops. Make sure not to push too hard as this could cause damage to vital parts inside of your vehicle.

4. Pull out the dipstick again and check for two things: the fluid level and its color. The transmission fluid should be between the “full” and “add” marks, which is usually indicated by two lines or arrows on either side of the dipstick.

5. If your vehicle is low on transmission fluid, use a funnel to carefully pour in new fluid until it reaches the full mark. Make sure not to overfill as this can cause serious damage to your vehicle’s transmission system.

6. Re-insert the dipstick into its tube before closing up your hood and taking your vehicle for a test drive – this will help you spot any potential issues related to changes in direction or speed that could indicate further problems with your car’s transmission system.


FAQs about How Often to Change Transmission Fluid

Is it really necessary to change transmission fluid?

Yes, it is. Over time, transmission fluid accumulates dirt and other contaminants that can cause wear and tear on your vehicle’s components. Regularly changing your transmission fluid can help keep your car running smoothly and avoid costly repairs down the line.

How many years will transmission fluid last?

A commonly accepted shelf life is usually no more than five years from the date of manufacture. However, depending on your vehicle’s make, model and how often you drive it, you may need to change your transmission fluid more frequently. In most cases, you should plan to have a fluid exchange every two to three years or every 30,000 to 60,000 miles for maximum efficiency.

What are the signs that you need a transmission flush?

Are you experiencing strange noises, hard shifting gears, slipping gears, or uncontrollable vehicle surges? These signs may indicate that your car is in need of a transmission flush. When dirt and debris build up in your transmission and cause a lack of hydraulic power and fluid flow interference, it leads to inadequate pressure within the gear system.

Does car run better after transmission fluid change?

Yes, a transmission fluid change can improve your car’s performance and extend its life. Regularly changing your transmission fluid helps to keep it clean and free of contaminants that can cause damage and hinder the efficiency of your vehicle’s internal components. This will help ensure smoother shifting and better gas mileage, as well as reduced wear on parts like clutches and bands.



At Brad’s Car Tunes, we understand that car maintenance can be tricky, so it is important to make sure you have the most up-to-date information on routine maintenance. We strive to provide our readers with helpful tips and hints so they can keep their cars running smoothly for years!

How often to change transmission fluid is something people may not know much about, but you can find all the information you need directly from us. Our website has a wealth of insight on this topic and is updated regularly with relevant knowledge to help drivers out.

Don’t forget to check out our website for more useful advice and information and thank you for joining us as we figure out how to get the most out of your beloved ride!

1 thought on “How Often to Change Transmission Fluid”

  1. During my second change, the dealer initially addressed the stuttering issue that impacted the 8-speed transmissions under warranty. Although this occurred some time ago, I need to review the records to confirm whether they replaced the filter or solely the fluid. Considering my current mileage is around 115,000km, I am contemplating an oil change. Would it be advisable to only change the oil and filter, or should I opt for a full flush and filter? Additionally, I would appreciate guidance on the recommended mileage between oil changes.


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