What is the Automatic Transmission Fluid Service all about?

Automatic Transmission Fluid service needs to be maintained at specific levels and regularly checked, as its functions serve to operate hydraulic systems, maintain soft seals and lubricate the internal transmission, which can all be expensive repairs without the lubricating power of the fluid.

Keep in mind:

Today's automatic transmission fluids are typically created for specific transmissions, so it may not be optimal to use “universal” transmission fluids when servicing your vehicle. Improper automatic transmission fluid service can lead to poor shift quality and can even decrease your transmission's lifespan. It’s important to reference your owner’s manual to get the proper automatic transmission fluids, as improper service can lead to the aforementioned issues and may void your vehicle’s warranty.

How it's done:

  • Park the vehicle on a level surface
  • Allow the engine to idle
  • Shift the gear through all positions slowly
  • Place the transmission in park or neutral depending on manufacturer’s requirements while the car remains idling
  • Slowly remove the transmission dipstick as it may be hot
  • Note where the level is marked near its end
  • Insert the dipstick fully back inside its tube, then remove it and read the level
  • Be sure not to overfill it, but add fluid level just below the “add” label

Our recommendation:

It’s important to consult your owner’s manual to find the right recommended intervals for your vehicle. Equally important is to tell your technician about the type of driving that you do - whether that’s a lot of highway driving or stop-and-go traffic. Also your technician should note if the transmission contains a filter that needs to be changed simultaneously as the fluid ages and breaks down.

What common symptoms indicate you may need to replace the Automatic Transmission Fluid Service?

  • Delayed, harsh engagement in between shifts
  • Transmission slipping, engine rpm’s raising when accelerating while the vehicle isn’t moving forward
  • Sudden clunk type noises coming from underneath when upshifting or downshifting.

How important is this service?

The fluid lubricates, cools, and cleans vital internal transmission parts and maintains the hydraulic pressure required for proper transmission function.


The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

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