Updated at: 10-08-2023 - By: Lucas

If you take care of your car, you’ll make sure that the engine oil is changed on time. But, when was the last time you changed the fluid in the transmission? Well, most people can’t remember if they ever changed the transmission fluid.

Most car makers say that the transmission doesn’t need to be serviced for a long time. They do this mostly to show that their cars are easy to keep up and to follow rules about the environment. During the warranty period, it’s unlikely that anything will go wrong with the transmission.

After the warrant is up, they don’t care what happens to it. If you don’t take care of the transmission for too long, it can break down on you. And these high-tech automatic gearboxes don’t come cheap to fix or replace.

The best way to protect your car’s transmission is to change the fluid every 50,000 miles or every two years, whichever comes first. On average, it costs about $100 to change the fluid in a transmission. But fixing a transmission can cost up to a few thousand dollars.

How much Transmission Fluid Change Costs

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A transmission oil change can cost anywhere from $90 to $150 at a repair shop. The dealer will charge $150 to $250 to do the same job. This is true whether you have a stick shift or an automatic transmission.

If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, new transmission fluid, transmission filter, and gasket will cost between $50 and $100. (if you clean the pan too). Even though you can just pour in the new fluid after draining the old one, we recommend cleaning the bottom pan and changing the filter as well.

What type to fluid goes into transmission?

Transmission oil has the same colour and consistency as engine oil. The additive mix is different, and engine oil is usually thicker than transmission oil. Red is the colour of ATF oil, which is for automatic transmissions. Gear oil for manual transmissions can be any colour (transparent, honey, or red).

In automatic transmissions, transmission oil is both a lubricant and a hydraulic fluid. The hydraulics are what make the mechatronic system that changes gears work. Because it is a hydraulic fluid, Automatic transmission fluid (ATF) is used in automatic transmissions.

ATF also acts as a glue when clutches in an automatic transmission need to stick together to send power to the wheels. The extra holding power that ATF fluid gives is very important, and some clutches in high-performance cars can be very sensitive to this.

When a car has a manual transmission, the gearbox oil is more like engine oil. Some car companies don’t even use transmission oil in the manual gearboxes. Instead, they just use a thicker engine oil. Find out more: How to choose the right Gear oil for Manual Transmission?

Characteristics of a Good Transmission Fluid

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A good transmission fluid should be able to hold the clutch pack together well. Lubricate the moving parts, keep the temperature steady, stop corrosion, not foam up when it moves around, not damage the seals, and not easily break down when it gets hot.

The transmission of a car is made up of many gears that run on top of each other. A lot of friction and heat are made by this. If you take the transmission oil out of the gearbox, it won’t even last a few miles.

There are three types of ATF (Automatic Transmission Fluid)

1) Type F Fluid: Type F fluid was made to work with older Ford models with clutch parts made of bronze. Bronze clutches were only used until the 1970s, so you can skip this gearbox oil if you don’t have an old car.

Because Type F ATF is less slippery, the clutch can lock up and engage quickly.

2) Dextron/Mercon: Most car companies today recommend using Dextron/Mercon transmission fluid. Most Ford, GM, German, and Japanese cars have Dextron ATF fluid already in them.

Even Dextron has many different kinds, like Dextron II C, II D, II E, III F, III G, III H, VI J, etc.

So, the best thing to do is check the owner’s manual for your car and write down the exact transmission fluid rating needed.

3) HFM (Highly Friction Modified) Transmission Fluid: The friction of an ATF fluid is important because it affects how well the clutches work. The way that HFM Fluid and Dextron/Mercon ATF behave in terms of friction is different. And the transmission of some cars needs HFM transmission fluid in particular.

When should you Replace Transmission Fluid?

Transmission oil should be changed at least every 50000 miles. Even though some car companies, like BMW, say their transmissions never need to be changed. They even put “Lifelong” on the label of their transmission fluid.

Yes, synthetic oils do last longer, but what does the company say about the life of a BMW? The length of the warranty? Possible.

It seems like a good idea to change the transmission fluid every 50,000 miles to protect expensive transmissions that can cost over $5,000 to fix.

But if you’ve never changed the transmission oil in your high-mileage car, it’s best to keep driving it if it’s not giving you any problems. Changing the transmission oil in a car with a lot of miles on it can cause problems like a clutch that slips, a gear that won’t move, etc. We explain why it can be bad to change the ATF in a car with a lot of miles on it.

Are Transmission Flushes Really Neccessary?

Yes, changing the transmission fluid on a regular basis will keep your car running smoothly. Many car makers say that transmission fluid should be changed every 2 years or 50,000 miles. But as synthetic oil technology improves, some car companies say that their transmissions will never need to have their fluid changed. But if you plan to keep the car for a long time, we don’t think it’s a good idea.

What’s the Cost of Changing Transmission Fluid?

An outside workshop will cost between $90 and $150. Between $150 and $250 will be charged by the dealership. Fluid, Filter, and Gasket will cost between $50 and $100.

How much Time does it takes to Change Transmission Fluid?

Most of the time, changing out the transmission fluid takes about an hour. Of course, it depends on what kind of car you have.