Cost to change transmission fluid
A significant cost determinant is where you have it done – at a dealer or a mechanic/service center. Your car’s make and model are also important factors. They determine what kind and how much transmission fluid you need. An average car needs about 5-15 quarts ($40-$300) of transmission fluid, with most cars requiring between 8 and 20 quarts ($8 to $20 per quart).
It would be best to change your transmission fluid, and sometimes the pan gasket, when you change your transmission fluid. Filters cost between $15 and $30, and pan gaskets are between $75 and $150. All in all, these costs range from $130 to 480, with the average price being between $80 and $250. At a mechanics shop or service center, expect to be at the lower end of the price range; otherwise, be ready to spend more at a dealer.
If you don’t mind getting a little dirty, you can always change your transmission fluid yourself between $50-$100.
What type of fluid goes into transmissions?
Transmission oil has a similar appearance and consistency to engine oil. Transmission oil is generally thicker than engine oil because of its additive mix. Automatic transmission fluid (ATF) is red, whereas gear oil for manual transmissions can be in any color (transparent, honey, or red).
Besides a lubricant, transmission oil serves as a hydraulic fluid in automatic transmissions. In order to change gears, the mechatronic system uses hydraulics. Due to its hydraulic properties, ATF (Automatic transmission fluid) is used in automatic transmissions.
Moreover, ATF acts as a glue when clutches in automatic transmissions need to bind and transmit power to the wheels. Some grips in high-performance vehicles are susceptible to this extra holding capacity provided by ATF fluid. Gearbox oil for manual transmissions is more similar to engine oil. It’s not transmission oil specifically that some manufacturers use in manual gearboxes, but instead thicker engine oil.
ATF types (Automatic Transmission Fluids).
- The Type F fluid was designed to work with bronze clutch components on older Ford models. As bronze clutches were only used until the 1970s, you can skip this gearbox oil if you don’t own a vintage vehicle. Type F ATF has a less slippery nature and locks up and engages more quickly.
- Transmission fluids Dextron/Mercon are recommended by most manufacturers today. The ATF fluid in most Ford, GM, German, and Japanese vehicles is Dextron. For example, Dextron II C, II D, II E, III F, III G, III H, VI J, etc., have many variants. It’s best to consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual .
- Transmission Fluid with HFM (Highly Friction Modified): The friction characteristics of an ATF fluid are essential since it determines how well clutches bind together. There are differences in friction between HFM Fluid and Dextron/Mercon ATF. And some transmissions require HFM transmission fluid specifically.
How to change your transmission fluid at home?
Raise The Front Of The Car.
Slide a jack under the front of your car and position it to sit under the frame. Please make sure a jack stand is in place to ensure stability.
Drain the transmission fluid into a pan.
Find the bottom of the transmission. Next should be a drain bolt, which you will loosen using a hex head. When it’s loose, you may want to wear rubber gloves to prevent it from dripping. Remove the bolt by hand after it’s flexible.
Replace the filter and the pan.
If your vehicle has a filter, you’ll need to replace it with a new one. After removing the bolts surrounding the pan, you can swap out the filter and put the pan back in place.
Secure the drain bolt and refill.
Place the drain bolt back in place with your hex head. It is then necessary to determine how much fluid needs to be added back in. The drain pan (that is now full of dirty transmission fluid) can be poured into empty quart bottles. Add the appropriate amount back into the drain pan. The last step is to locate the transmission fluid cap and fill it with the new fluid.
Is it time to replace your transmission fluid?
Transmission oil should be replaced every 50000 miles or earlier. Even though some manufacturers, such as BMW, claim their transmissions do not need to be changed. Their transmission fluid is even marketed as ‘Lifetime’ fluid.
Yes, synthetic oils last longer. However, according to BMW, how long does a BMW vehicle last? How long is the warranty? That could be the case. Changing transmission fluid every 50k miles would seem to be a good idea to protect expensive transmissions that can cost over $5000 to repair.
If, however, you have never changed transmission oil in your high mileage vehicle, you should keep it running if it’s not causing any trouble. High mileage vehicles can develop problems like slipping clutches, gears, etc. when changing transmission oil.
Yes, replacing transmission fluid regularly will ensure a trouble-free ownership experience. Most manufacturers recommend changing transmission fluid every two years or 50,000 miles. Some automakers claim their transmissions do not require fluid changes with the advancement of synthetic oil technology. It is not recommended to keep the vehicle for a long time.
Third-party workshops charge between $90 and $150. Dealerships charge between $150 and $250. There will be a cost of $50 to $100 for parts (Fluid, Filter, Gasket).
A transmission fluid change takes approximately one hour. Obviously, this depends on the vehicle model.