Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: When Should I Change My Transmission Fluid?

asked by on

When should I change my transmission fluid?

Great question! I’m going to assume you’re asking about an automatic transmission. The answer is: it depends! I suggest starting by looking at the manufacturer’s schedule of maintenance recommended for your particular vehicle in the owner’s manual. Between 30,000-60,000 miles is a common interval to replace transmission fluid. That advice is good to follow for a long, healthy life for your transmission.

Some manufacturers build automatic transmissions now with no dipstick, stating that the transmission is sealed for life and requires no fluid replacement. Although this sounds good, it isn’t a good way to make the transmission last a long time. The manufacturer’s main concern is that the vehicle make it past the time and mileage specified in their warranty.

The exception to this recommendation is when the car has over 100,000 miles on the original transmission fluid, or the current transmission fluid is very dark and burnt. Changing the fluid in either of these scenarios can very likely do more harm than good, because the transmission has adapted over time to operating on dirty fluid with worn clutch plate material in it, and suddenly replacing that fluid with new fluid can cause it to shift poorly and slip while accelerating. Approach either of these situations with caution.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Jerking and high rpms

It may sound like a simple suggestion but I would recommend checking the transmission fluid level to be sure that it is within specification as a low transmission fluid level can also cause some of the issues you are experiencing....

Q: Advice on what type of service to do on a car before a road trip

My advice is to stick to one type of oil. In my old cars, I've been using Castrol GTX forever. It's normal and it's not synthetic. I've never had a problem with it, they don't burn out oil and they...

Q: I got a warning that said hybrid safety warning do not drive

Hybrid vehicles are quite complicated, and by nature, their control computers are also both complicated and somewhat intelligent. If your vehicle suggests to not drive it, it's probably for a very good reason. The symptom you described can be...

Related articles

How Do Power Car Windows Increase Passenger Safety?
Power windows are responsible for approximately 2,000 emergency room visits every year. When a power window closes, it exerts enough force to bruise or break bones, crush fingers, or restrict an airway. Though...
P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...
P2103 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle Actuator Control Motor Circuit High
P2103 means there is a fault with the throttle actuator control motor circuit, likely due to a defective electrical component or part.