When to Change Your Transmission Fluid: A Comprehensive Guide

how often to change transmission fluid

How often do you need to change your transmission fluid? It’s a question that a lot of drivers have, and the answer can be confusing. The truth is, there isn’t one definitive answer to this question – it depends on a variety of factors. This comprehensive guide will walk you through when to change your transmission fluid, how to check it, and where to get it done.

What is a transmission fluid?

Transmission fluid is a specialized lubricant used in the transmission of an automobile. It helps to keep components lubricated and cool while providing extra protection against wear and tear. It also helps to reduce friction, allowing the transmission to shift smoothly. Transmission fluid is usually made from synthetic base oil but can also be mineral or vegetable based.

What does a transmission fluid do

What does a transmission fluid do?

Transmission fluid is needed by your vehicle for a number of things, including:

Retains fluid pressure

Transmission fluid helps to ensure the parts of the transmission are working well. It also helps to keep them cool and lubricated. Transmission fluid does this by reducing friction.

Cools the transmission system

Transmission fluid helps to keep the transmission system in your car cool. It does this by reducing friction and helping to keep everything lubricated.

Stops oxidation

Transmission fluid helps to prevent oxidation–when the metal starts to wear down over time. It does this by keeping everything lubricated and cool.

Controls the gasket

Transmission fluid helps to guarantee the gasket in your car is functioning properly. It also does this by reducing friction and helping to keep everything lubricated.

Avert system rust

Transmission fluid helps to stop the rusting of the system. It also does this by keeping everything lubricated and cool.

How do you check the transmission fluid

How do you check the transmission fluid?

There are several ways to check transmission fluid, such as:

  • Check transmission fluid level when the car is cold
  • Check transmission fluid level when the car is hot
  • Change transmission fluid every X miles or years
  • Use a dipstick to check the transmission fluid level
  • Use a funnel to add more transmission fluid

How often should transmission fluid be changed?

Most drivers ask this question and the answer can be confusing. Generally, it is recommended to change transmission fluid every 30,000 to 60,000 miles or at least every two years.


This recommendation is based on vehicles using conventional oil and driving under normal conditions. However, this can vary depending on the vehicle and how it is driven. For example, if you do a lot of heavy towing or off-roading, then you may need to change your transmission fluid more frequently.



It is also important to note that some vehicles do not require regular transmission fluid changes at all – these include some newer cars with sealed transmissions. If you are unsure whether or not your vehicle requires a transmission fluid change, it is best to consult AquaShine Car Wash.

mechanic checking transmission fluid

Signs that you need to change transmission fluid

If you experience any of the signs below, it is best to change your transmission fluid. You should always observe your vehicle.


  • A warning light appears on the dashboard
  • Transmission fluid is dirty or has a burnt smell
  • Slippery feeling when you change gears
  • Grinding or shaking when shifting gears
  • Whining and clunking noises
  • Refusing to go into gear or delayed shifting
How to change transmission fluid

How to change transmission fluid

Changing the transmission fluid is a ten-step process. Follow these instructions to ensure you’re doing it correctly, but getting the procedure done professionally is still recommended for the best results.

1. Raise the vehicle

Raising your vehicle is an important step when it comes to changing its transmission fluid. It is recommended that you use a car lift or jack stands to do this safely in order to avoid any potential injuries.



When lifting your vehicle, be sure to do so in a well-ventilated area and make sure the surface is level and secure. Also, do not forget to place wheel chocks behind the tires to keep your vehicle in place while you work.

2. Locate the transmission pan and set up

You need to find the transmission pan. You do this by looking under the car. The transmission pan is where you put the new fluid. You also need to set up so you can work safely.

3. Drain old fluid

Once your vehicle is safely lifted, you can begin draining its transmission fluid. To do this, locate the drain plug on the transmission and use a wrench to loosen and remove it.

4. Examine the transmission pan

When you take the old transmission fluid out, you also take out the dirt and metal that has been building up. Inspect to see if it needs to be cleaned.

5. Change the pan gasket

You need to do this if the old gasket is not in good condition anymore.

6. Put the pan back and secure the bolts

Re-install the pan back on and tighten the bolts to make sure it’s placed back properly.

7. Refill with new fluid

You need to add transmission fluid when it is low. Once the pan’s back on, refill the transmission with fresh fluid. You can do this by using a funnel.



Be sure to do this slowly so that you do not overfill your transmission. However, if you accidentally overfill it, safely drain some of the fluid out before continuing.

8. Turn on the engine and change gears

After adding fluid, start the vehicle and shift gears.

9. Look at the fluid level

Check the transmission fluid level.

10. Examine your work

After the whole process, make sure to inspect everything and make sure it is all working.

How much does it cost to change transmission fluid?

The cost of changing transmission fluid varies, depending on many factors. If you do it yourself, you will need to purchase the necessary tools and supplies, such as a jack stand, a drain pan, and a new filter. Additionally, you will also need to buy the right type of transmission fluid for your vehicle. All in all, do-it-yourself transmission fluid changes usually cost around $50 to $100.


If you do not feel comfortable doing the work yourself, you can always take your vehicle to a professional mechanic. In this case, the cost of a transmission fluid change will depend on the make and model of your car, as well as any additional services that may be needed. On average, professional transmission fluid changes cost about $150 to $250.

How long does transmission fluid last?

The amount of time that transmission fluid can last before needing to be changed varies depending on the type of vehicle, how often you use it, and how you drive. Generally speaking, it is recommended that transmission fluid be changed every 30,000 to 60,000 miles. However, it is always best to consult with your vehicle’s owner’s manual or a qualified mechanic for detailed recommendations.

car breakdown

What happens if you don’t change your transmission fluid?

There are dire consequences when you don’t regularly change the transmission fluid of your car.

These include:

  • Your car is at risk of breaking down.
  • Your car burns more fuel.
  • A seal may leak or break, making your car smell like burning rubber.
  • It may be difficult to change the oil once it has become dirty.
  • It may be too late to change the filter of your car.
  • All the metal shavings will wreck your transmission.
  • You may damage the seals and gaskets.
  • You could be looking at a huge repair bill.

Remember to take care of your car

Transmission fluid is an important part of car maintenance, and it’s crucial to change it on a regular basis. Not doing so can lead to a number of problems, including decreased fuel efficiency, damage to the transmission, and even a hefty repair bill.


AquaShine Car Wash offers oil change and other auto care services in Katy, Texas. So be sure to have your car checked by them regularly to keep it running smoothly!


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