Transmission fluid helps maintain transmission lubrication and prevents damage to the transmission system. Every transmission system is slightly different and there are different types of transmission fluid available, which can affect how much you pay to replace it.On average, a transmission fluid replacement costs between $152 and $410 for most cars.
Transmission Fluid Change Cost Comparison
|Parts & Labor||12 months||170 $ – 420 $|
|Parts & Labor||12 months||159 $ – 352 $|
It means Cheese
|Parts & Labor||12 months||160 $ – 410 $|
|Parts & Labor||24 months old||144 $ – 550 $|
|Components||Confined||63 $ – 214 $|
|Components||Confined||55 $ – 224 $|
What is a transmission fluid change?
Transmission fluid acts as a lubricant for all the moving parts in your car's transmission system. In automatic transmissions, it also acts as a coolant and viscous fluid that helps transmit power from the engine.
Different transmission fluids are used depending on the type of transmission you have. Manual transmissions use a range of oils, from regular engine oil to specific transmission oil. Automatic transmissions use a specific product called automatic transmission fluid. The right type of use depends on your situation, so always check the manufacturer's recommendations.
A transmission fluid change is, as you would expect, when you have replaced the fluid in the transmission system. In a manual transmission system, the fluid tends to become contaminated over time, with some debris entering the fluid due to wear and tear on various components. These particles will float in the oil and contaminated oil will not lubricate the parts as well as fresh oil. This can have a negative impact on the lifespan of your box.
In manual transmission cars, the extra heat in the system causes the fluid to break down over time. The parts of an automatic transmission system are also subject to the same wear and tear as parts of a manual system, which also causes the fluid to become contaminated. Both of these factors can cause transmission system wear over time, so regular transmission fluid changes are recommended.
Benefits of changing transmission fluid
Regular transmission fluid replacement will keep the transmission in good condition and prevent serious damage. It can extend the life of components in your drivetrain and can save you a small fortune in repair costs over time.
Repairing or replacing your transmission is an expensive process, so precautions must be taken to ensure it remains in optimal condition.
Regular transmission fluid checks will help you spot potential problems in advance. Check the dipstick about once a month - if the fluid is still red, it's good. If it's darker in color or has a burnt smell, it's probably time to replace it. If the level is low, be sure to top it up.
When should you change your transmission fluid?
The general recommendation is to change the transmission fluid every 30,000-60,000 miles. There are several factors that can affect this, such as your driving style and the type of car you drive. Check the manufacturer's recommendation to see how often they think they should be changed for your make and model.
If you are particularly hard on your transmission, either from poor driving habits or because you live somewhere with difficult driving conditions, the frequency is likely to be higher. This includes towing heavy cars, driving at higher speeds on roads that require frequent gear changes and driving in cold weather.
Some automatic transmissions have a longer lifespan and many manufacturers recommend replacement every 60,000 - 100,000 miles. This obviously depends on the driving conditions, but if you take good care of your car, it can last a long time.
What happens when changing transmission fluid?
- Initial checks will determine if a complete fluid change is necessary. The mechanic will check the fluid color and fluid level. If the fluid is the right color, you may just need to top up rather than completely replace it.
- The car is jacked up and the mechanic locates the transmission fluid reservoir. It is attached to the bottom of the gearbox, usually fixed with 6-8 bolts.
- The drain plug is removed from the pan to allow the liquid to drain. On some cars, the pan may need to be removed completely to drain.
- A container is placed under the pan to collect the liquid, which is later discarded. If the pan needs to be removed, this can be quite messy, so you should use something wider than the wet pan.
- The fluid is checked for possible signs of transmission damage. Small metal chips are normal and expected, while larger pieces of metal may indicate a more serious problem.
- Draining the liquid only removes about half of the liquid. Removing it completely should completely flush the drivetrain. This is a more complicated process and will ultimately be more expensive.
- The mechanic usually inspects the transmission once it has been drained, looking for potential problems.
- If everything appears to be OK, the fluid container is reinserted and the drain plug is replaced.
- The car is jacked up and new transmission fluid is added. This is usually done in the same area as the dipstick, so it's a fairly simple process.
- The mechanic will let you run for a few minutes and check the fluid levels regularly. When it's low, they replenish it and don't fill it up too much.
How to save money on transmission fluid changes
Changing the transmission fluid is something you can do yourself if you have the right tools and are comfortable with repairs. It's not a particularly complicated job and doesn't require specialized equipment, so you can save money on transmission fluid changes by doing it yourself.
One thing to note about replacing the fluid yourself is that the fluid itself must be recycled properly. Many garages have drop off facilities and if not they may be able to direct you to the correct facility near you.
Example of transmission fluid change costs
|Ford F-series||173 $ – 221 $||140 $ – 189 $||313 $ – 410 $|
|Chevrolet Silverado||102 $ – 131 $||107 $ – 146 $||209 $ – 277 $|
|Ford Focus||102 $ – 131 $||79 $ – 113 $||181 $ – 244 $|
|Toyota Camry||118 $ – 151 $||105 $ – 201 $||223 $ – 352 $|
|Toyota Corolla||118 $ – 151 $||105 $ – 201 $||223 $ – 352 $|
|Nissan Altima||63 $ – 80 $||89 $ – 212 $||152 $ – 292 $|
|Honda CR-V||79 $ – 100 $||91 $ – 214 $||170 $ – 314 $|
|Honda Civic||79 $ – 100 $||88 $ – 97 $||166 $ – 198 $|
|Honda Accord||79 $ – 100 $||81 $ – 89 $||159 $ – 190 $|
|Ford Fusion||87 $ – 110 $||76 $ – 130 $||163 $ – 240 $|