How to: Transmission Fluid

Explains how to replace transmission fluid and filters on most vehicles.


Changing your automatic transmission filter is a very important part of maintaining your vehicle. To ensure you have smooth shifts at the right time, changing your transmissions fluid and filter is very necessary. Failure to do so will cause major damage to your transmission and therefore, fuel mileage and power.
Tools Needed

Safety glasses

Socket wrench and socket

Drain pan


New transmission fluid(manufacturer specified)


1. Raise and support vehicle.

2. Find the right size socket for your transmission pan bolts and unscrew all but one side.

3. Place your drain pan underneath the transmission and unscrew the rest of the bolts.

4. Slowly descend the transmission pan onto the drain pan and dump the rest of the liquid out.

5. Remove the gasket from the pan or the mating surface, then clean the mating surface thoroughly.

6. Wash the transmission pan in a parts washer or some sort of cleaning solvent. Then remove all metal filings from the magnet.

7. Now you must remove the filter. Some filters require that you just pull down on it to remove. Others will have two screws in the middle of the pan. Finally, there are some transmissions that have two filters. The second filter will most likely be silver in color and will just screw on a mating surface.

8. When removing filters, no matter which kind, always remove the o- ring. This is very important, otherwise the filter will not seal properly and have major problems.

9. Install the o-ring on your filter or filters, then install your filter in the transmission.

10. Place your new gasket on the pan and place four bolts in each corner.

11. Install the pan to the mating surface and finger tighten them. Then screw the rest of the bolts in hand tight.

12. Tighten all the bolts in manufacturer torque specs and pattern

13. Lower the vehicle and remove the transmission dipstick from the engine bay.( this is where most transmission fill tubes are located, on some newer motors they will have a screw cap on the top of the transmission in the right side of the engine bay.

14. Using your funnel, pour your new transmission fluid into the fill tube. Fill it to a little bit below the manufacturers recommended amount of fluid.

15. Start the vehicle and slowly shift through all the gears(while remaining stationary). While the vehicle is still running check the fluid level through the transmission dip stick. If more is needed then add more fluid, if too less is needed then you must drop your pan and start over again. It is absolutely unacceptable to overfill your transmission.

16. On transmissions that do not have a dip stick there will be a bolt on the bottom side of the transmission. After filling the transmission with fluid, unscrew this bolt. If fluid is pouring out, wait until it is slowly dripping to screw the bolt up. If none is flowing out, pour more fluid until it slowly drips.

17. Test drive the vehicle to make sure there is proper function in your transmission.

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Published in: Do-It-Yourself


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