Are you trying to learn how to change the transmission fluid because you don’t want to pay high fees to the mechanic? Then you are in the right place.
It will probably cost you around 200-250$ if you take your car to a mechanic, but if you DIY, it will just cost you around 25-50$; such a significant difference.
You may think that changing the fluid might be difficult, but it is easier than it looks. It’s a thing that should not be ignored as it can cost a lot more if you are careless.
In today’s world, around 18% have a vehicle, so it’s good to learn how you can change the transmission fluid at home. But before moving forward, let me tell you a few things about transmission fluid and when to change it.
What is Transmission Fluid?
It’s a slippery liquid that keeps the transmission parts of your vehicle clean and lubricates them so that they work correctly and smoothly.
It’s an integral part of your vehicle as it keeps the gearbox and other parts lubricated.
You should always keep it in check like you do your engine oil, as if it becomes too old, it could damage your car’s transmission parts.
Difference between Automatic and Manual Transmission Fluid
The prime difference between these two is the change or flush mileage recommended by the manufacturers.
In the past, the manual transmission fluid was for manual vehicles, and it was as thick as honey, but as the time has progressed, they have also shifted to automatic transmission fluid as it allows smooth gear shift.
When to Change the Transmission Fluid?
This question might be in the mind of people currently reading this.
There’s a simple way to determine when you should change your transmission fluid; changing time is different for different cars.
It is usually between 30,000 to 100,000 miles depending upon your vehicle.
There are a few signs you should watch over during your daily drive, that are:
- Transmission is making a strange grinding noise.
- The drive is not smooth and is surging
- A delay in the vehicle’s movement
- The gearshift is slipping gears.
If you see any of the above-mentioned signs, then consider checking the transmission fluid.
How to Check Transmission Fluid
To check the transmission fluid, open your car’s hood, and lift the dipstick. It can be in three probable states:
- If it’s Bright Pink, then it is in good condition and doesn’t need to change.
- If it is Brown, then consider changing the fluid as it is almost at the end.
- And if it is Black with metallic pieces and a burnt smell, then change the fluid on an urgent basis as it can cause significant damage to gears.
Now you know the basics, so next, let me take you to step by step on how you can change your transmission fluid.
How to Change Transmission Fluid
There are two approaches to this process.
Number One – is the flush process by which the fluid is sucked out using a machine. But this process doesn’t clean the fluid pan thoroughly, and the filter cannot be changed, so the second process is always the preferred one.
Number Two – is when the fluid pan is removed to clean it, including the metallic waste. For this procedure, we need the following equipment:
- Safety Glasses and Gloves
- A Torque wrench
- A Funnel
- A Catch can
- Transmission Fluid ( According to User Manual )
- Transmission Filter
- Seal for Fluid pan
- Jacks and Bricks
Now let’s change the Transmission Fluid.
Step #1: Getting Things Ready
As we have already checked the fluid and in this case, it is black and burnt, so we need to change it.
First, make sure that parking your car in a flat place and jack it from both sides to make enough space that you can go underneath. Remember to put two bricks or thick piece of wood behind the rear wheels to ensure that it does not slip.
Now take your tools and lie down under the car. I suggest you use a mat or plastic sheet to keep your driveway clean.
Step #2: Removing the Fluid
Now, Find the pan under the car. It is usually in the center, but it’s a bit back for the rear wheel cars. Now that you have determined its position let’s start unscrewing the bolts.
This is a bit tricky as it could make your clothes dirty, so you should wear gloves and glasses.
Start unscrewing from the back, and when you reach the last bolt, put the catch pan at the back and slowly lower the pan from the back at an angle to empty the pan. When it drains, remove the pan and clean the rest of the fluid.
There may also be small metallic pieces. If those pieces are big enough, contact a mechanic. Remove those pieces too and clean the pan.
You should also unscrew the filter and change it and check that the O-rings set in their orifice. Look for any loose screws as that gasket maintains the pressure; If so, then tighten all of them.
Now come back to the pan. Use a brake cleaner to make it new again and install a new seal.
Now it’s time to attach it back. While screwing the bolts, don’t screw them abruptly as that can cause a pressure change. Do it in a crisscross fashion.
Start from the center and up-to-the end in a crisscross way. Tighten the screw to about 10-15 foot-pounds to keep the pressure constant.
All Done. Now, let’s change the fluid.
Step #3: Adding the New Fluid
Firstly, You have to measure the amount of fluid to be poured in. For it, take an oil container with markings and pour the removed fluid into it carefully and note the fluid’s level. It is the simplest way to determine the fluid level.
Now open the hood, remove the dipstick, and put a funnel inside it. Start pouring the transmission fluid recommended by your user manual according to the level measured.
Do not overfill the container as it can damage your transmission. After you have poured in the right amount of fluid, remove the car off the jacks and check the transmission fluid.
Check your user manual to know the right state in which the car has to be in to check the fluid. If you don’t follow it correctly, then you would not measure the correct level.
So make sure that your vehicle is in the right state. Check the dipstick; it has a marking; if it is up to that, then its okay, but if it is low, then pour some more fluid.
Step #4: Disposing Off the Fluid
Now quickly check if there are any leaks under the car. If not, then you are good to go another 60 to 100k Miles.
As the last step, collect all the old fluid into a bag and drop it off at the nearest fluid recycling site as this fluid is very harmful to the environment.
Wash your hands and clothes or any residue, and you are done.
Changing the transmission fluid is not that hard as it seems. If you follow the steps and precautions mentioned above, you will be able to do it without any issue.
Always check your transmission fluid over time and maintain it as it is an essential part of the gears.