Average Cost to Change Automatic Transmission Fluid

While an oil change is simple, an automatic transmission fluid change is more complex. No drain plug means it’s usually best left to professionals.

While you can DIY, having a professional replace the fluid and filter is often the better option. Here’s how much it costs and how often it should be done.

transmission fluid change cost

See Also: How Long Does an Oil Change Take on Average?

Automatic Transmission Fluid Change Cost

The average cost at an independent repair shop for a job like this can run anywhere between $100 and $250. These costs fluid change itself and replacement of the transmission filter. Expect to pay more at a dealership.

The parts to do the job can cost you on average around $50-$100 but can vary greatly depending on how many quarts of fluid and the type of fluid. In addition, you’ll need a new transmission filter and possibly a new pan gasket. But these are all just estimates.

transmission pan leaking

In order to know what your particular costs will be, you will have to get a quote from your local mechanic or dealership but in most cases, they can do it over the phone. Usually, the year, make, and model of your vehicle will play the biggest factor in the quote or estimate they’ll give you.

Depending on the area, there will be taxes and a disposal fee added on to the shop’s total costs.

Related: Common Signs of Low Transmission Fluid

When to Change the Fluid

signs of low transmission fluid

The average car manufacturer recommends that a vehicle should get new automatic transmission fluid every 100,000 miles and sometimes even upwards of 150,000 miles.

However, most mechanics and automotive repair shops will tell you that you need to get it done every 30,000 to 60,000 miles because 100,000 miles is simply too long. They may even recommend a flush instead but you may want to avoid that.

But like with typical oil change intervals, it’s heavily dependent on your driving habits so there’s no one-size-fits-all interval. 

Over time, automatic transmission fluid deteriorates just like any other automotive fluid. The longer you wait, the worse it will be for your car. This is especially true if you normally drive under severe conditions that put more stress on the transmission such as stop-and-go traffic or “spirited” driving.

But don’t worry because if you regularly take your car to a shop or dealership for oil changes, they’ll inspect your ATF and will be able to tell you the right time to get the automatic transmission fluid changed or flushed.

See Also: Differential Fluid Change Interval

There are some warning signs that you can pay attention to that will let you know when it is time to get a fluid change for your automatic transmission.

For example, if you have trouble changing gears in your automatic shift then it is a sign that your transmission fluid is dirty. You may also notice your vehicle surging forward or backward as a result of the dirty transmission fluid not being able to flow correctly.

Any kind of unexpected issues like this is an immediate sign to get your fluid changed right away.

Mark Stevens


  1. Myself and i dont know why anyone else would either if ya changing the fluid it beyond well worth it to change the filter otherwise ya just wasting time.. shoot ya be better off changing the filter and useing the old fluid …..

  2. “…you will need to change the automatic transmission fluid every 20,000-30,000 miles. You will also need to change the filter as well. The average cost at an automotive shop for a job like this can run anywhere between $150 and $210. These costs just cover the fluid change itself…”
    The writer is contradicting himself. First he says that the cost to change the fluid and filter might cost between $150 and $210. Then he says that that cost is just to change the fluid itself. So which is it? Is his estimate for the fluid alone, or for the fluid and the filter?

    1. Every vehicle is a bit different, but many automatic transmissions also require a filter replacement when the transmission fluid is flushed. Opting to replace the filter, clean the pan, and replace the gasket will add to the parts/labor costs.

    2. Got my routine transmission fluid replaced, the guy changed the drain plug as well. (Total cost $120)

      However, noticed leakages after 3 days, went back to the garage and was told to replace the pan. Did so, $380 (pan+oil+labor).. Next hour observed leakage continuing..

      Cause – the drain plug bush had been loose.

      Lesson learnt after spending $500 on this issue, don’t just take the mechanics word, try to find exact spot of leakages by yourself. Could save some bucks.. Cheers!!!

  3. I had my transmission replaced and right after it was replaced it started leaking. I took it back 3 times to be fixed. It still leaked . I took it somewhere else to have tranny fluid changed and that person noticed a bolt was stripped. Now the place that replaced Tranny said it could have been caused by a part that was changed on front end. He thinks there maybe a crack. Can the crack happen when the bolt was stripped.

    1. Moi j’ai fait changé l’huile de transmission et quand il on remis le bouchon de vidange en le vissant serré la transmission a craqué vis a vis le boulon de vidange une micro fissure que j’ai remarqué parce que apres le plein de la transmission il y avait toujours une goutte d’huile vis a vis le bouchon de vidange.Jespere que sa vous a aider.

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