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How to change automatic transmission fluid

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Changing your own automatic transmission oil should be done every 20,000 to 50,000 miles. The good thing is it’s pretty easy! See how about this Autoblog Wrenched.

View all of us Autoblog Wrenched video for more tips on diagnosing, fixing, and modifying cars from expert detailer Larry Kosilla. While you’re at it, check out Larry’s other auto maintenance and cleaning video series Automatic log details!

Materials used:

Instructions (video recording):

[00:00:00] [Narrator] Changing your automatic transmission’s oil is easy and should be done every 20 to 50,000 miles for most service-requiring vehicles, but check your owner’s manual for when. change, the type of oil needed and how many liters the system holds before you begin. Here are the tools you’ll need to do it yourself. socket and torque wrench, brake cleaning, catch can, scouring pad, bucket, gasket glue, transmission fluid, gloves, goggles, basic tools, cleaning rag and funnel.

[00:00:30] I’m Larry Kosilla, detailing expert and coach for the past 15 years, but when it comes to what’s hidden, I’m a student. Follow me as the experts teach me how to diagnose, fix, and modify cars on Autoblog’s Wrenched. I’ve heard of quick lubrication places that offer a transmission change, a service, and even an exhaust. What is the difference between those two? – Well, changing the fluid will be the place where you just pour the liquid out, you pour the fresh fluid on top. A service that will remove the pan,

[00:01:00] put a new filter, and then fill the liquid back to the top. The drain really cleans the liquid out of the torque converter, which holds a few liters of oil that you can’t drain by just taking the pan out, so one of the better ways to do that is if you put in a new liquid, put it in a new filter, drive it around for a while, you’re dissipating a lot of the old liquid, mixing it in, and then you’re putting that liquid away. Now it’s hard because you have to do it twice, but it’s so easy you can really do it yourself. – [Larry] Check current fluid for condition, odor, colorand level.

[00:01:30] Use paper towels of the same color now as well as in the future so you can compare infusion fluids easily. Be sure to have an empty can before you begin this process. When the car is in the air, find the transmission and remove the drain plug or in some cases you’ll need to unscrew a few bolts from the pan and do what’s called slow draining before removing them all to avoid mess. Luckily, this car has a drain plug, which makes the process a lot easier.

[00:02:00] Now, with most of the liquid out, remove the drive tray. With the pan out of the car, now is the time to do some detailing. First, remove the previous gasket with a plastic razor blade or scrubbing pad, making sure not to gouge the flat surface, which could cause future leaks. The brake cleans the pan from the inside out, the bolts involved, and pays special attention to the magnet filter. Like the oil drain plug, the gearbox also has a magnet, which is attached to the inside of the pan

[00:02:30] to suck metal shavings out of the actuator during use. It’s scary to see all the metal shards, but I’d say it’s completely normal. Look at the drive mating surface and make sure it’s as clean as the pan. This is an extremely important step for a perfect seal, so it should not be rough, bumpy, or have any leftover gaskets. Now that everything is clean and ready to go, it’s time to replace the filter, but you should make sure the old filter and the new filter are exactly the same.

[00:03:00] Most filters will have a rubber gasket, like this one here. Add new transmission fluid to the rubber for better sealing prior to installation and torquing. Next, reinstall the pan but a new gasket is needed to replace the old one we scraped off. Before adding a new gasket, a layer of adhesive spacer adhesive is applied to the mating surface to hold the pad in place during reassembly to prevent it from moving or sliding and possibly causing a leak down the road. Now carefully install the pan while trying to avoid moving the pad,

[00:03:30] then hand tighten all freshly cleaned bolts. Once the pan bolts are hand-tight, torque them in a criss-cross pattern to evenly grind the gasket, the same way you would crumple your nut. In this case, it’s just a few more bolts. If you are wondering where to find the torque rating for your car, you can easily check it online or with Local agent. Take the old liquid in your previously empty water can and pour it into an old gallon or liter container to measure exactly how much has been removed from the tranny.

[00:04:00] Be sure to dispose of used liquid properly. This is a hazardous substance and must be disposed of properly. Check your local auto parts store to see if they recycle or can recommend where to go. Add your funnel to the dipstick tube and replace the same amount of the old liquid but with the new liquid. Next, start the car and apply the brakes, going through the gears to help flush out the fluid through the torque converter, the torque converter will squeeze out the old fluid that used to be trapped and left behind. even after our first flush.

[00:04:30] Now that the car has turned off, go back to the drain plug and drain the liquid again without removing the pan. You’ll see that the clean liquid we put in just a few minutes ago mixes with the old, and has now turned everything a little darker, but it’s definitely better than the old or original liquid we’ve seen before. on the car. Now repeat the last step by adding the same amount removed as we did before. Then start the car, run through the gears again,

[00:05:00] and pour liquid as required. Most cars need idling for accurate dipstick readings, but check your manual to be sure. Likewise, make sure your vehicle is on a flat or even surface to avoid measuring the dipstick incorrectly. So here’s what I learned. When you change the fluid, you’re really only getting about 50% of the old fluid out because the rest is stuck in the intricate maze you’re infusing. Second, make sure you use the correct specification fluid for the gearbox found in your manual.

[00:05:30] or you can cause premature wear. Third, having a drain plug is needed to complete our compromise between a simple change and our do-it-yourself flush as we did in this video. And finally, if you decide to see a professional, understand the difference between change and discharge. Make sure your mechanic knows that you know the difference between the two services, how many liters your tranny keeps, if he changes the filter and of course, if that’s included in the price. For more on how to do it repairs video, go to

[00:06:00] I’m Larry Kosilla from As always, thanks for watching.

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