Replace Transmission Fluid

Checking automatic transmission fluid is easy. Pull the transmission dip stick out and read the FULL mark. If in doubt, check the car owner's manual.

Checking automatic transmission fluid is easy. Pull the transmission dip stick out and read the FULL mark. If in doubt, check the car owner’s manual.

The Fix-It Club has offered free online repair help for many years. Now we’re including dozens of Fix-It Guides on car repair. These are jobs that most people can safely do to keep their car running longer. (Our car has 235,000 miles and is still going strong!)

If you’re a die-hard do-it-yourselfer, get your car’s service manual out and follow instructions for replacing automatic transmission fluid and filter. (Manual transmissions don’t need fluid replacement, just periodic refilling through a plug on the side of the tranny.) Draining and replacing automatic transmission fluid isn’t that tough of a job, but replacing the filter can be on some cars. Basically, here’s how the job goes:

1. Place a sufficiently large drain pan under the transmission or transaxle, then remove the drain plug to allow all automatic transmission fluid to flow into the pan.

2. Remove the cover on the bottom side of the transmission to expose the transmission filter. As suggested by the car’s service manual, remove the filter and replace it with a new unit.

3. Replace the cover gasket with a new one, then replace the transmission pan cover, tightening screws to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

4. Ecologically recycle the old transmission fluid, filter, and gasket.

Fix-It Words

transaxle is a transmission and torque converter or clutch and differential encased as a single unit on front-wheel drive cars.

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