What Transmission Fluid Do I Need? Everything You Need To Know

 What Transmission Fluid Do I Need? Knowing what transmission fluid you need for your vehicle is an essential part of properly maintaining your car, truck, or SUV. The correct type and amount of fluid keep the parts of your transmission running smoothly and efficiently. Transmission fluid is an essential component of your vehicle that is often overlooked but can have a significant impact on your vehicle’s performance.

Choosing the right transmission fluid for your vehicle can be a daunting task, especially if you are not familiar with the various types and brands available on the market. In this article, we will provide you with everything you need to know about transmission fluid, including its types, viscosity, and how to choose the right one for your vehicle.

what kind of transmission fluid do i need

Rich’s Auto will also discuss how to check your transmission fluid level and when it needs to be changed. By the end of this article, you will know exactly what type of transmission fluid is right for your vehicle.

Table of Contents

What Types Of Transmission Fluids Are There?

Transmission fluid is a type of lubricant specifically designed to keep your vehicle’s transmission components running smoothly and efficiently. There are several different types of transmission fluids available on the market, which can make it difficult to decide which one is best for your car, truck, or SUV. Below, we will discuss the different types of transmission fluids and their viscosity ratings.

Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF)

Automatic transmission fluid (ATF) is a type of lubricant used in automatic transmissions. It helps keep the internal components of the transmission cool and lubricated, allowing for smooth operation. The viscosity rating of ATF varies depending on the manufacturer, but it is typically between 0W-20 and 5W-30.

what kind of transmission fluid

Manual Transmission Fluid (MTF)

MTF lubricates the internal components of manual transmissions, promoting optimal performance and reliability. It also helps maintain an ideal temperature to minimize strain on transmission gears. Viscosity ratings range from 75W-90 to 80W-90 depending on manufacturer specifications – ensuring your vehicle delivers a smooth ride every time!

Read more: How To Add Transmission Fluid?

Synthetic Transmission Fluid (STF)

Synthetic transmission fluid (STF) is a type of lubricant specifically designed for modern automatic transmissions. It is made from synthetic base oils and additives, which help to reduce wear on the internal components of the transmission, improving its performance and efficiency. The viscosity rating of STF varies depending on the manufacturer, but it is typically between 0W-20 and 5W-30.

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Continuously Variable Transmission Fluid (CVT)

CVT fluid is a specialized lubricant designed to keep continuously variable transmissions running smoothly. Crafted for optimal heat dispersion and component lubrication, CVT offers the flexibility of viscosity ratings between 0W-20 and 5W-30 – meaning you get tailor-made performance depending on your vehicle’s needs!

What Transmission Fluid Do I Need?

Choosing the right transmission fluid for your vehicle can be a tricky task, especially if you’re not familiar with the various types and brands. To make sure you have the correct fluid, it’s important to check your vehicle’s owner’s manual or consult an experienced mechanic – they’ll know exactly what type of transmission fluid is best suited for your vehicle. Below, we will discuss some of the factors to consider when selecting the best transmission fluid for your car, truck, or SUV.

Viscosity Rating

Not all transmission fluids are created equal – they come in different viscosity ratings depending on their purpose and intended use. You should make sure that you choose a transmission fluid with the correct viscosity rating for your vehicle, as this will ensure smooth operation and optimal performance.


It’s important to choose a transmission fluid from a trusted brand that is known for its quality and reliability. Make sure you read customer reviews and do some research before making your decision – this can help you narrow down the options and find the right product for your vehicle.

what type of transmission fluid do i need


Transmission fluid can vary in price depending on the brand and type. Make sure you compare prices before making a purchase – this will help you find the best deal on the market. Ultimately, it’s important to choose quality over cost when selecting transmission fluid for your vehicle.

Refer To The Owner’s Manual

Most importantly, make sure you read and understand your vehicle’s owner manual. It will provide detailed information on what type of transmission fluid is best suited for your car, truck, or SUV – this should be the ultimate deciding factor when selecting the right product for your vehicle.

You can see more about “Can I Use Transmission Fluid For Power Steering Fluid?

Consider The Vehicle’s Age, Make, And Model

It’s important to take into account the vehicle’s age, make, and model when selecting transmission fluid. Different types of fluids may be needed for different vehicles – so make sure you do your research and select a product that is specifically designed for your car or truck.

transmission fluid for manual

Type Of Transmission

The type of transmission in your vehicle will also play a role in the type of fluid you select. Different transmissions require different types of fluids – so make sure you choose the right product for your vehicle’s specific requirements.

Check The Fluid Specifications

When purchasing transmission fluid, make sure you check the product’s specifications. This will ensure that it meets or exceeds the manufacturer’s recommended requirements for your vehicle’s application.

manual transmission oil

By taking the time to consider the above factors and selecting the right transmission fluid for your vehicle, you can ensure optimal performance and efficiency. Doing it correctly will also save you money in the long run – as choosing the wrong product could result in costly repairs. So make sure you do your research before making a purchase!

Why Do Transmissions Need Fluid?

Transmissions need fluid for several important reasons. The first reason is to lubricate the transmission’s internal components and prevent wear and tear. The transmission has many moving parts that rub against each other, and without fluid, they would quickly overheat and break down.

Secondly, the fluid helps to cool the transmission by absorbing the heat generated during operation. Transmissions can get very hot, especially when they are under heavy load or running at high speeds. If they get too hot, they can warp or become damaged, so the fluid helps to regulate their temperature and keep them running smoothly.

do manual transmissions have fluid

Another reason why transmissions need fluid is to maintain hydraulic pressure. Automatic transmissions use hydraulic pressure to shift gears, and the fluid is what allows this pressure to build up and operate the transmission’s various valves and pistons. Without fluid, the transmission would not be able to shift gears properly, and the vehicle would not be able to move.

Finally, the fluid in transmission also helps to remove contaminants and debris that can accumulate over time. As the fluid circulates through the transmission, it picks up these particles and carries them to the transmission filter, where they are trapped and removed. This helps to keep the transmission clean and functioning properly.

transmission fluid manual

In summary, transmission fluid is critical to the proper operation and longevity of a vehicle’s transmission. It lubricates, cools, maintains hydraulic pressure, and removes contaminants, all of which are essential to keeping the transmission running smoothly.

What Are The Signs Of Low Transmission Fluid?

Low transmission fluid can cause a variety of problems with your vehicle, so it’s important to pay attention to the signs and get it fixed as soon as possible. Here are some common indicators that your transmission fluid might be running low:

Difficult Shifting

If you notice that it’s becoming more difficult to change gears, this could be a sign of low transmission fluid. As the fluid level drops, the transmission has less hydraulic pressure available to shift gears properly, resulting in slower or more difficult shifting.

do manual cars have transmission fluid

Leaking Fluid

If you see a reddish-brown fluid leaking from your vehicle, this could be a sign of low transmission fluid. Check for any puddles beneath the car when it’s parked and take note if you notice an unusual smell that may indicate a leak is coming from inside the transmission.

Along with that, you should also learn about “Automatic Transmission Fluid How Long Does It Last

Grinding Sounds

If you hear grinding or whirring noises coming from the engine when shifting gears, this could be a sign that your fluid is low. When fluid runs too low, it causes metal parts to grind against each other, which can cause serious damage if left unchecked.

manual transmission gear oil

These are just a few of the more common symptoms of low transmission fluid. If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to check your transmission fluid as soon as possible and top up if necessary. It’s also a good idea to have your transmission checked by a professional to make sure there aren’t any other underlying issues that need to be addressed.

What Happens If You Use the Wrong Fluids in Your Car?

Using the wrong fluids in your car can do serious damage to its various components. Below, we’ll discuss what happens if you use the wrong transmission fluid in your car:

Corrosion and Rust

Different transmission fluids are formulated with different components that can react differently to the metal parts in your transmission. If you use a fluid that is not compatible, it can cause corrosion and rust, leading to premature wear and tear on these components.

is all transmission fluid the same

Loss of Lubrication

The right transmission fluid helps provide lubrication to the internal components of your transmission, reducing friction and helping them run smoothly. If you use a fluid with the wrong viscosity, it won’t be able to provide this lubrication as effectively, leading to premature wear on these parts.

Increased Heat

Using the wrong transmission fluid can also cause increased heat in your transmission. Different fluids provide different levels of cooling, and if the wrong one is used it can cause heat to build up faster which can lead to problems such as burning or sticking valves.

Battery Fluid

Battery fluid is essential for maintaining the charge in a car battery. If it runs low, the battery won’t be able to maintain its charge as well, leading to issues with starting and running your vehicle. It’s important to check the levels regularly and top up with distilled water (not tap water) if needed.

transmission fluid in a manual

Be Cool With The Water

Driving safety and optimal operability depend on a car’s cooling system being in top form. The proper blend of water and antifreeze prevents freezing or boiling, even when temperatures outside fluctuate. Keeping the right ratio of water and antifreeze is essential. If you’re ever in doubt, refer to your owner’s manual for guidance.

Special Sauce For Your Brakes

Your brakes are one of the most important safety features of your car, so it’s essential to keep them in good condition. Being able to stop quickly is key for avoiding hazards on the road, and brake fluid help ensure optimal performance. Make sure you always use the recommended type of brake fluid for your vehicle.

Glued-Up Gears

Manual transmissions require a specific type of gear oil to help keep the gears in good condition and running smoothly. If you use the wrong kind, it can cause them to stick or grind while shifting, leading to costly repair bills down the line. Make sure you check what type of gear oil your car requires before topping up.

what is automatic transmission

As you can see, it is important to use the right type of fluids in your car to ensure optimal performance and safety. It’s always a good idea to check your owner’s manual or ask an expert before topping up any fluid, as this will help avoid costly repairs and keep your car running smoothly for years to come.

Changing Transmission Fluid

Importance Of Changing Transmission Fluid

Transmission fluid is essential for keeping your transmission running smoothly and avoiding costly repair bills. Over time, the fluid in your transmission can become contaminated with dirt, metal shavings, and other debris that can cause damage to its internal components. That’s why it’s important to change the transmission fluid according to your vehicle’s recommended maintenance schedule.

When To Change Transmission Fluid?

The recommended interval to change your transmission fluid depends on the type of vehicle you have and how often you drive it. Generally, you should replace the transmission fluid every 30,000 to 60,000 miles. If you have an automatic transmission, you can typically boost that range up to 60,000 to 100,000 miles. When in doubt, always refer to your owner’s manual for specific instructions.

does manual have transmission fluid

Steps To Change Transmission Fluid 

Maintaining your vehicle’s transmission can be a simple and straightforward process. With the correct tools and knowledge of steps to follow, you’ll have no trouble improving performance with an at-home fluid change! Learn how easy it is by following these instructions:

Step 1: Prepare the Vehicle

Before beginning your project, take a moment to make sure all car doors are shut and the vehicle is in neutral. To protect yourself from any accidents or mishaps, be sure to suit up with protective eyewear and gloves for the safe handling of materials.

best gear oil for manual transmission

Step 2: Drain the Old Fluid

After you’ve given your vehicle a thorough pre-check, remove the transmission fluid pan. Discard any old fluids with care into an appropriately labeled container before moving on to phase three of the process.

Step 3: Change the Filter

Next, locate and remove the transmission filter. Replace it with a new one that matches your vehicle’s make and model before moving on to step four.

You can read more about “How Many Quarts Of Transmission Fluid?

Step 4: Refill With New Fluid

Finally, refill your transmission system with new fluid to its recommended level according to your owner’s manual. Once complete, replace the pan and plug any hoses that may have come undone in the process.

does a manual transmission have fluid

Following these steps ensures that your transmission is running optimally and safe from any potential damage. Doing so helps to prevent costly repairs and extend the life of your vehicle.

FAQs about What Transmission Fluid Do I Need?

Can I Do My Own Transmission Fluid Change?

Yes! Changing the transmission fluid in your car is an important part of regular maintenance and something you can do by yourself with the right tools and knowledge.

Can Changing My Car’s Transmission Fluid Help Improve Its Performance?

Yes! Changing your car’s transmission fluid regularly helps keep your car running smoothly and prevents damage due to contamination from dirt, metal shavings, and other debris over time. A clean and well-maintained system ensures optimal performance and extends the life of your vehicle.

Can Use The Wrong Type Of Fluid Damage My Car?

Yes! Using the wrong type of fluid can cause serious damage to your car’s transmission and lead to costly repairs. To avoid this, always check your owner’s manual or ask an expert to help determine the right type of fluid for your vehicle.

Is It OK To Add New Transmission Fluid?

For transmissions that have never had their fluid changed, a new-fluid change could cause them to slip. This is because the old fluid contains built-up clutch material which has been providing support over time – so its removal can lead to slipping even if it wasn’t occurring before. Therefore, it’s important to consult with a professional and have them assess the situation before adding new fluid.

What is Included in an Auto Tune-Up?

Professional mechanics perform several important tasks to keep your car running smoothly. These include replacing ignition system parts, like spark plugs and wires; swapping out filters such as cabin air, oil, or fuel if necessary, and verifying the condition of belts and hoses that can affect overall performance.

Is Transmission Fluid And ATF The Same Thing?

Automatic transmission fluid (ATF) is a key element that ensures the smooth and reliable operation of an automatic transmission. By keeping ATF levels optimal, you help to preserve superior performance as well as protect your car for years to come. Some owners may refer to ATF as transmission fluid, but the two terms are not interchangeable. Always consult your owner’s manual for specific information about recommended fluids for your car.

Is All Transmission Fluid Universal?

Car and truck drivers must take note to make sure that their vehicles have the correct type of Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) specified by their manufacturer. Refer to your owner’s manual for more information on ensuring optimum performance from your car or truck!

How Many Years Does Transmission Fluid Last?

In general, transmission fluid should be changed every 60,000 to 100,000 miles. However, this timeframe can vary depending on the type of vehicle and other factors such as driving habits or environmental conditions. Make sure to consult your owner’s manual for specific information about recommended service intervals for your car or truck.

Is It Ok To Change the Transmission Fluid Without Changing The Filter?

To help ensure your car runs optimally, it is recommended to swap out the transmission filter whenever you change the fluid. Sticking with that regular maintenance schedule as suggested in your vehicle’s owner’s manual can prevent a host of issues down the line and keep you on track for many smooth rides ahead!

Can A Transmission Flush Fix Slipping?

Yes, in some cases a transmission flush can help fix slipping. However, it is important to consult a professional before taking this route as it is not always the best option for your car’s specific situation. A transmission flush should be used if you have started experiencing slipping issues after changing the fluid or when there are signs of slippage from other sources such as excessive heat.

Can I Use Any Type Of Transmission Fluid In My Car?

No. Using the wrong type of transmission fluid can damage your vehicle’s transmission. Be sure to consult your owner’s manual or speak with a mechanic to determine the right type of fluid for your car.

Conclusion for What Transmission Fluid Do I Need?

The right type of transmission fluid is essential for maintaining the performance and longevity of your car. Whether you’re dealing with slipping issues or just looking to maintain optimal conditions, it’s important to use the proper fluid that has been recommended by your vehicle manufacturer.

Making sure you know the right answers to questions like “What Transmission Fluid Do I Need?” can keep you safe on the roads and make sure your vehicle runs smoothly for many years. So arm yourself with knowledge, and understanding, and check up regularly on your car’s health and maintenance – it could end up saving you a lot of money in the long run!

Don’t forget to share this post with your friends, family, neighbors, car enthusiast, drivers, and all vehicle owners in general – they will thank you later!




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