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Automatic Transmission Fluid/Filter Change

Automatic Transmission Filter Change Cost

The average cost for an Automatic Transmission Fluid/Filter Change is between $244 and $339. Labor costs are estimated between $96 and $123 while parts are priced between $148 and $216. Estimate does not include taxes and fees.
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How Much Does an Automatic Transmission Fluid/Filter Change Cost?

Automatic Transmission Fluid/Filter Change Service and Cost

What is an automatic transmission fluid/filter?

Transmissions are responsible for receiving power from the engine, and sending that power to the driveshaft or axles at the requested speed. The automatic transmission adjusts automatically to driving demands, and keeps the engine running in an optimum range for a given speed.

How does the automatic transmission fluid/filter work?

Automatic transmissions use the rotational force supplied by the engine to pump pressurized automatic transmission fluid (ATF) through many components, resulting in the transmission selecting the appropriate gear ratios for vehicle speed and power demand. Power is typically transferred through sets of clutches or bands, and different clutches or bands being engaged or released will change the gear ratio. ATF lubricates these clutches and bands, while still allowing them gripping force. through normal operation, the ATF will being to carry small particles from wearing internal components. The automatic transmission filter will remove the particles to prevent them from causing damage to internal components.

What are the symptoms related to a bad automatic transmission fluid/filter?

When the transmission filter becomes clogged with debris, the driver may notice the engine revving without accelerating the vehicle, commonly called transmission slipping. The transmission will be completely unable to produce hydraulic pressure needed to actuate internal components because the fluid cannot be pumped through the filter. This will produce the same symptoms as running the vehicle low on transmission fluid because the condition is replicated internally. If operation is continued when the transmission begins slipping, damage will occur to transmission bands and clutches, as well as the transmission front pump.

Can I drive with a automatic transmission fluid/filter problem?

Driving a vehicle that has passed the manufacturer specified service interval is not generally recommended. The vehicle can be safely driven, but skipping maintenance may cost far more in the long run. Also, the vehicle should be taken for factory specified maintenance as soon as possible if the maintenance has been missed. If the vehicle has any transmission issues that cause drivability concerns, or the noted symptoms, the vehicle should be towed to a repair facility for diagnostics.

How often do automatic transmission fluid/filters need to be replaced?

Automatic transmission issues can happen anytime, regardless of mileage or age. However, it is common to see high mileage vehicle's in poor condition because of neglected maintenance. Performing factory maintenance on schedule is the best way to help prevent transmission failure, and keep the transmission shifting smoothly. Changing the ATF and transmission filter is a scheduled maintenance item for most vehicle's. Since each manufacturer may set different service intervals, check the owner's manual for information that applies to your specific vehicle. This is the best way to get accurate information, and keep your vehicle running like new.

Automatic Transmission Fluid/Filter Change Repair Information

How are automatic transmission fluid/filter issues diagnosed?

ATF and transmission filter changes normally do not require a diagnosis. They are most often completed as scheduled maintenance, or as part of a repair necessitating draining the transmission fluid. If the transmission is being diagnosed for other issues, the fluid and filter may be replaced as a step in the diagnosis, or the transmission may require flushing.

How is a automatic transmission fluid/filter replaced?

Changing the ATF and filter for many transmissions requires the transmission oil pan be removed to access the transmission fluid filter. That means the transmission pan gasket. which is the most common transmission leak, is replaced as part of the transmission service. The filter is normally a few screws at most, and the transmission pan can be replaced, and filled with ATF.

RepairPal Recommendations for automatic transmission fluid/filter issues

We recommend OEM quality or better replacement transmission filters. Inferior filters can allow the circulation of small particles that can damage internal components in a short time. By using a quality filter, the transmission is protected from these fine particles, as they will be captured by the filter.

What to look out for when dealing with automatic transmission fluid/filter issues

There are many types of transmission fluids, and they are not typically interchangeable. Consulting the owner's manual for your vehicle is the best way to ensure you have the correct fluid for your transmission. If improper transmission fluid is added, the resulting damage could be severe.

Can I replace the automatic transmission fluid/filter myself?

The average DIYer can service most automatic transmission without too much difficulty. The biggest issues are especially pumps for European vehicle's, and over-tightening the transmission oil pan fasteners. As long as the proper tools are on hand, and the correct fluid has been selected, the job should be dirty, but doable.

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