From the day you buy that first car you’re told the importance of changing your engine oil at regular intervals. But how often are you told that you need to replace the transmission fluid? Just as important, replacing your transmission fluid is an essential part of engine maintenance. Is it possible for me to change my own Automatic Transmission Fluid?
Some car owners may sigh at the thought of changing their Automatic Transmission Fluid but the reality is with a bit of mechanical knowledge many DIY-ers are changing their own ATF themselves in their own garage or driveways. In this story we’re going to give you a quick rundown on what you need and the procedure of servicing your ATF. Transmissions require very specific grades of oil not just to prevent wear and tear but also to retain the correct fuel economy settings of the vehicle from the factory. With constant exposure to high heat & pressure the oil begins to breakdown and when left unchanged can affect the smoothness of the gear changes or even worse stop working all together which can cost a lot to replace or repair.
WHAT FLUID DO I NEED?
Don’t know what automatic transmission fluid you need for your specific make and model? Simply use the Liqui-Moly online oil guide to find out exactly what products you need: http://www.liqui-moly.com.au/oilguide
WHERE CAN I BUY IT?
Liqui-Moly automatic transmission fluids are available from The Car Care Store: https://thecarcarestore.com.au
DO IT YOURSELF
Transmission service kit, Liqui-Moly Automatic Transmission Fluid, Safety glasses (Optional), Rubber/latex gloves (Optional). Tools: Car stands or ramps (Optional), Socket set, Funnel, Oil draining pan, Rags, Drop-sheet (Optional)
Make sure that you park the car on a level surface and put the hand brake on. If you have car that has a low stance you may need to use a set of car stands or ramps to give you enough clearance to get underneath. Note: To avoid spilling any oil onto the garage floor or on the driveway lay a drop-sheet down before starting.
To help the oil drain more freely, take the car for a short drive around the block to warm up the fluid. If you’re changing the fluid after driving the car for an extended period, be very careful as the temperature of the oil can be extremely hot. Turn the engine off, open the bonnet.
Get beneath the car and undo the transmission drain plug, which is located on the bottom of the transmission pan.
Note: Some automatic transmissions do not have a drain plug, if this is the case the fluid will drain once you’ve removed the pan.
Now that that the fluid has drained undo the bolts that hold the transmission pan in place on the automatic. Thoroughly clean the pan with Liqui-Moly Brake & Parts Cleaner and a clean rag.
Remove the old pan seal/gasket and clean where the gasket/seal mates up to the transmission. If this surface is not cleaned properly there is a chance a leak will occur when you pour the new fluid in.
Next, align your new gasket onto the rim of the oil pan. You may want to pre-fill the pan with your new ATF to speed up the process. Check out the difference between the new and old fluid.
With the pan removed you will see a filter that will be secured by an O-ring, clip or screws. Remove the old filter and replace with the new one that came with your transmission service kit. Carefully fit the pan back onto the transmission making sure not to kink or damage the new gasket/seal and retighten the mounting bolts. Fit the drain plug back in and tighten.
Note: Use new drain plug seal if applicable.
Now that the used fluid has been drained it’s time to refill the transmission with new fluid. Place the funnel into the dipstick tube and slowly pour in the new automatic transmission fluid.
Once you have added the required amount start the car and with the hand brake on and your foot on the brake pedal slowly work the car through the gears a few times (while remaining stationary).
Now put the vehicle back into Park and with the engine still running put the dipstick in and check the oil level. Add any additional ATF as needed. Note: You must always check the automatic transmission level with the engine running. Most dipsticks have a cold & hot level so pay attention when inspecting.
Do a final visual inspection beneath the car to make sure that there is no oil coming from the drain plug or transmission pan. Dispose of the used fluid responsibly, either take it to a recycling center or an auto repair shop that can recycle it for you.