How Often To Change Transmission Fluid?

How often to change transmission fluid will be a long tedious debate if you want a generic answer without going into the nitty-gritty of your car, such as its make, operating conditions, the nuances you notice during gear shifting, etc.

How Often To Change Transmission Fluid?

To make an informed decision on how often should transmission fluid be changed depending on your own vehicle’s needs, you can follow a few simple guidelines. However, your first point of reference should always be the maintenance section of your owner’s manual. If the manual does not contain any recommendations, then you can determine based on the following factors.

1. Transmission Type: Automated or Manual?

Different transmission systems use different types of fluids. Fluid degradation over time is more common with automatic transmissions due to high heat generation from hydraulic pressure. Contamination of the transmission fluid is a bigger problem in manual systems. It happens because they have more moving parts causing more wear from friction.

how often should transmission fluid be changed
Fluid changing depends on the transmission type. (Photo Source: txautonet)

What can you do to make the transmission system last longer? Consider replacing the fluid at about 75,000 to 100,000 miles intervals for automatic transmissions. It will be from 30,000 to 60,000 miles in case of manual systems. A more frequent fluid change is rather helpful and does no harm, in case you are wondering.


2. Driving Habits

For normal driving at regular conditions, you don’t need to change transmission fluid often. But you will need frequent transmission fluid changes if your vehicle is used in ways other than ordinary conditions, such as:

  • Towing or heavy carriage,
  • Driving at low speeds for extended periods of time
  • Driving frequently on uneven terrains

Depending on the extent of use, you might have to change it frequently. The rule is to change at every 15,000 miles for manual transmissions and 30,000 miles for automatic transmissions. Keep the fluid under regular checking. Opt for a change if the color is anything other than the characteristic bright red.

Things To Watch Out

Various models of the same car maker may have different servicing requirements, for instance, Honda transmission fluid change is not the same for a Vezel and an Accord, or even for Honda Accord 2006 and 2018. It is not a good idea to ignore the manufacturer’s recommendations for how often to change transmission fluid.

A low fluid level is a shortcut to transmission failure or quick damage. Pay a visit to a service shop and test the fluid level if you doubt a leakage or find gear shifting strenuous.

Also, get your transmission system checked immediately if you feel the gear slipping, notice any unusual sound or vibration from the transmission or feel any inexplicable difference in your vehicle while handling your gearbox or transmission.

If you have never changed your transmission fluid yet, and your odometer reads above 100,000 miles, check out this article on black transmission fluid before you decide whether it’s a good idea to change the fluid at all.