How Often to Change Transmission Fluid (Manual and Automatic)

In order for the gears inside your vehicle to have smooth movements, they rely on transmission fluid to do the job. Checking the amount of transmission fluid that you have left is similar to the way in which you check your level of engine oil. The only difference is that you check your transmission fluid while the engine is running because it is associated with a closed system. This means that you should never be low on transmission fluid. If you are, then bring your vehicle to an auto mechanic right away. Good quality transmission fluid is what you should care more about than volume, though. If the transmission fluid smells burnt or looks brownish, then you need to get new transmission fluid. If it is red with no burning smells, then the fluid is fine.

Changing Transmission Fluid with Automatic and Manual

The majority of car owners don’t think about their transmission fluids. The only thing you tend to hear is the owners of automatic cars saying it is critical to flush their transmissions. However, those with manual transmission vehicles must pay close attention to their gearbox. If the oil inside is too old, there will be a buildup of sludge and metal shavings. The information described below discusses how often it is recommended to change your transmission fluid in an automatic vehicle and a manual vehicle.

Manual Transmission Cars

The manufacturers of most vehicles recommend that you change your manual transmission fluid at least every 30,000 miles or at the most 60,000 miles, depending on the make and model of the manual vehicle. But if you are constantly putting your manual transmission under stressful conditions, then the fluid should be changed after 15,000 miles.

Stressful conditions for a manual car would be regularly driving short distances in it while very rarely going on the interstate or out of town. These short drives force the gears of a manual car to have to change constantly, which puts the transmission under stress. Other ways stress can occur is when new drivers are first learning the proper way to change gears. Often times, they will make mistakes which end up stressing the transmission.

Automatic Transmission Cars

The transmission fluid in your vehicle will eventually deteriorate and go bad. The fluid will deteriorate faster if you’re regularly stopping and going in city traffic, towing trailers, or carrying heavy loads on the vehicle. The reason this makes the fluid deteriorate is because the transmission heats up more as it is operating. The hotter the fluid is, the more stress is put on the fluid and the transmission itself. And since the fluid is responsible for allowing the gears to move smoothly, deteriorated fluid will make the gears work harder than usual.

The manufacturers of most automatic cars will tell you that you should change the transmission fluid every 100,000 to 150,000 miles. But if you were to ask a mechanic, they would likely tell you that this is too long to wait. Automatic transmission fluid should be changed every 50,000 miles instead.

Read also: 5 Symptoms of a Clogged Radiator and Replacement Cost


Whether you have an automatic transmission or a manual transmission, the process of changing transmission fluid will take some time. First, the mechanic must support the vehicle and then drain the old fluid from the transmission. Before the new fluid is added, the gaskets and filter for the fluid need to be checked. Don’t try doing this job yourself because it requires professionals who know what they are doing.


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