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?

A: Great question! I’m going to assume you’re ...

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: White smoke coming from tail pipe.

While vehicle smoke can appear in a wide range of colors, white smoke from the exhaust is often an indication that the car is burning coolant in the engine. Coolant is normally found in the cooling system and can enter...

Q: Dry grinding/starting noise when in gear

Hi there. Sounds as if the transmission is low on fluid or the transmission is worn and has roller bearings that are damaged. Check the transmission oil level and see if the fluid is low. The fluid should slightly run...

Q: Transmission fluid leak

If transmission fluid is leaking, I would recommend having the vehicle looked at by a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic. Often times, the vehicle's transmission pan gasket has sprung a leak, and this is a minor repair for...

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...
What are the Car Pool Rules in Hawaii?
Hawaii is widely regarded as a land of vacation and relaxation, and as such, its scenic roads and routes are far better known than the state’s freeways. But, as with all...
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.