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How to change over your transmission fluid

From its oils and antifreeze to lubricants for transmission and gears, a car’s fluids are critical to keep it operating in peak condition. When a car’s fluids start to degrade, it can not only have a negative impact on the way it runs, but also on your personal bank account. A crucial fluid for any car, transmission fluid is often forgotten by vehicle owners. Essentially a viscous oil, this fluid keeps the components of a car’s transmission well lubricated, but if neglected, it can result in a hefty invoice for repairs.

In the following sections, we’ll examine transmission fluid and emphasise the importance of having a fresh supply flowing through your vehicle. We’ll also show you some simple steps on how to change it over for yourself if you’re keen to tackle the task.

Understanding transmission fluid

Transmission fluid is a thick oil that has been designed to enable your car’s transmission to operate without failure. Through appropriate lubrication of the transmission’s innerworkings, the dedicated fluid mitigates the wear and tear of metal parts rubbing together and excessive heat being generated. Typically, transmission fluid is coloured either green or red to assist vehicle owners in differentiating it from standard engine oil.

How you can change your car’s transmission fluid

Changing any fluids in your car can be a messy and dangerous business, so to get started, ensure you collect the following protective equipment for the job first: mechanics gloves, safety glasses and plenty of disposable towels. Tool-wise, you’ll also require a set of socket spanners, a funnel and a drain pan, plus a transmission gasket and some fresh transmission fluid that is compatible with your manufacturer’s specifications.

Organise all your tools so they’re in easy reach where you’re working. This area should be a flat surface, like a garage floor or on your driveway, with plenty of ventilation available. With all tools assembled in your selected workspace, you can now change your fluid.

Lift up your car with a jack if necessary and pop up the bonnet. Locate where your transmission fluid is stored and remove the cap sealing it closed. Next, locate the transmission fluid’s dedicated pan and place your draining pan beneath it. Take your socket spanner and remove the bolts on the transmission pan and let all the old fluid drain out of the transmission until it’s empty. Fit the brand-new transmission gasket and reconnect the bolts. Using your funnel, you can then pour in the recommended amount of new transmission fluid required. Once complete, take out the funnel and replace the cap to complete the process.

Always change when required

For the most part, transmission fluids that are available today have been developed to last for distances of up to around 100,000 miles. Although you will find some brands offer even higher limits, it’s always advised to change over your fluid every 100,000 miles to be safe. Transmission oil that is not changed at these intervals will commonly seize up, seep out or evaporate, leading to total transmission failure and an astronomical repair bill, so it’s important to ensure it’s changed when required.

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