Radiator and Transmission Maintenance

How to Change Transmission Fluid


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The transmission is the most important part of a car's engine, and knowing how to change transmission fluid can help keep it in good condition. Here is a step-by-step procedure on how you can change your car's transmission fluid.

Tools and Materials Needed:

  • Transmission fluid
  • Empty container
  • Jack
  • Jack stands
  • Wrench
  • Rubber mallet
  • Rag
  • Oil filter

Step 1. Warm up the Transmission Fluid

Before you can change the transmission fluid in your car, warm up the existing fluid first to make it easier for you to flush it out. Warming up the fluid makes the transmission flush step much easier to perform. To do this, just drive the car around the block.

Step 2. Jack the Vehicle Up

You can now lift the car up using the jack. Be sure to secure it properly on the jack stands.

Step 3. Locate the Transmission Oil Pan

Once the vehicle is secure, go under the car to look for the transmission oil pan or the transmission drain plug. The location of the transmission oil plan should be indicated in the owner's manual.

Step 4. Loosen the Oil Pan Bolts

Loosen the upper bolts of the oil pan. However, make sure that you don't totally remove the bolt, but instead unscrew it halfway out. In case the bolt does not come off easily, tap the sides of the transmission oil pan using a rubber mallet until it breaks loose.

Step 5. Set the Container

Place an empty container under it to capture the old transmission fluid. Set the container as close as possible to the oil pan to avoid any mess or splashes. If your vehicle has a stopper plug, use the wrench to remove the drain plug. Use a rag to remove the plug since it can be hot to the touch.

Step 6. Drain Transmission Fluid

Once you are ready, pull the transmission oil pan from the transaxle. The oil pan will not completely be removed, since the upper bolts will still loosely hold the pan in place. The transmission fluid should start to come out. Do not worry if not all of the transmission fluid does not come out. This is to be expected. The old fluid will not affect the new transmission fluid.

Step 7. Clean Drain Plug

The draining process will take some time so, as part of the transmission maintenance, it is advisable that you clean the drain plug as well. The drain plug often has a magnet that catches any scrap metals or dirt. Remove these from the plug using a clean rag.

Step 8. Put Transmission Oil Pan Back

Remove the oil filter and replace it. You also need to make sure that the seal on the oil pan is not broken. If not, put the oil pan back by reversing the steps you did to remove it.

Step 9. Add New Transmission Fluid

Through the fill plug, add the new transmission fluid. The fill plug is often located halfway up on the side of the transmission system. Start the engine to check the fluid level.

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