How To Change Automatic Transmission Fluid


If your vehicle stalls at red lights, or you have trouble shifting , it may be time to change the transmission fluid. It is suggested to inspect the transmission fluid every 30,000 to 50,000 miles or according to your owner's manual. Checking and changing your transmission fluid isn't hard. Here are tips to change your automatic transmission fluid.

Prepare to Work

For this project, you need:

  • work gloves
  • safety goggles
  • two ramps
  • concrete blocks
  • cardboard or plastic
  • ten gallon plastic bucket to catch oil
  • rags
  • ratchet set or wrench
  • funnel
  • transmission fluid

Move the gearshift to neutral or park. Run the engine until it gets to the regular temperature, and leave it running to get an accurate reading. Prop the hood open. Refer to your owner's manual to locate the transmission and dip stick, which is commonly red. 

Insert the dipstick in the fluid. If the fluid is any other color than red or it smells, shut off the engine and let it cool. Wipe the dipstick with a rag, and put it back in place. You may be able to just top off fluid, if you get a low reading and the fluid is still red and smells clean.

Drain the Old Transmission Fluid

Set the vehicle on the ramps, and place blocks around the tires. Lay the cardboard or plastic under the vehicle, and keep the bucket close.

Crawl under the vehicle and locate the drain pan, which is commonly connected by multiple bolts. Set the bucket under the drain pan.

If there is a plug, remove it with a wrench; keeping your face away from the opening. If it doesn't have a drain plug, loosen the two upper bolts on the pan halfway, then detach the upper bolts.

Fluid should start filling the bucket. Keep a watch for metal shavings. The drain pan usually has a magnet to catch them. If you notice the shavings, take the vehicle to a mechanic.

Replace the Fluid

Ensure you buy the correct automatic transmission fluid. Newer vehicles require a different kind of fluid, so check your owner's manual.

Ensure the fluid has drained completely. Clean the drain plug opening with the rag, and reinstall the plug. If you removed the pan, reattach it.

Take the vehicle off the ramps. Prop the hood open, and remove the dipstick. Insert the funnel in the port where the dipstick sits, and add fluid. Avoid overfilling.

Close the hood. Run the engine for several minutes, and check the fluid level again. If the vehicle still stalls, or you don't trust your skill, visit a transmission service.


23 March 2017

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