Car encyclopedia

Automatic Transmission Fluid and Filter Replacement

Automatic transmission fluid is a lightweight oil that is used to operate the hydraulic mechanisms in an automatic transmission, provide lubrication, and act as a coolant for the transmission. The filter helps trap dirt and contaminants in the fluid before it travels through the transmission.

Why Should It Be Serviced?

it's important to have the automatic transmission serviced at the manufacturer's recommend interval. Transmission performance can be affected by dirty or old transmission fluid and/or a clogged filter. Lack of service may result in one or more of these symptoms:

  • Grinding or strange noises from the transmission
  • Problems shifting gears
  • Gears may slip
  • Vehicle may surge forward or backward

When Should It Be Serviced?

  • We recommend a transmission fluid and filter replacement every 20,000 to 40,000 miles. Having it serviced at these intervals will help reduce the chance of any related drivability concerns. Please consult your owners manual for their recommendation for your specific vehicle.

How It's Done

To replace the automatic transmission fluid and filter, the transmission pan is removed, allowing the fluid to drain from the transmission. Then the transmission filter is removed and replaced. Next, the oil pan is cleaned and inspected for debris and then reinstalled with a new pan gasket. Finally, the transmission is filled with fresh fluid.

Caution: On vehicles where the fluid is extremely degraded, replacing the fluid can result in transmission shifting issues. If your vehicle has not had routine transmission service performed, please consult with your service technician before performing this service on a high mileage vehicle.

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