This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.
If you’re a DIY enthusiast or just looking to save a little money, changing your own transmission fluid can be a relatively easy and rewarding task. With the right tools and a bit of know-how, you can tackle this job on your own and keep your car’s transmission in top shape.
In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps of changing your own transmission fluid, from gathering the necessary supplies to letting the new fluid circulate. So, if you’re ready to get your hands dirty and give your car’s transmission some TLC, read on!
First things first, let’s talk about why maintaining your car’s transmission is so important. Your transmission is essentially the “brain” of your car – it’s what helps to transfer power from the engine to the wheels and keep your car moving smoothly.
And like any other part of your car, it needs regular maintenance to keep it running at its best. That’s where transmission fluid comes in – it helps to lubricate the moving parts of your transmission and keep everything running smoothly.
Now, you might be wondering why you’d want to consider changing your own transmission fluid. After all, isn’t this the kind of thing that you should leave to the professionals? Well, sure – if you’re not comfortable working on your car or have no idea what you’re doing, it’s definitely better to leave it to the experts.
But if you’re a bit of a DIY enthusiast and you’re looking to save a little money, changing your own transmission fluid can be a fairly straightforward task. Plus, it’s a great way to get a little more familiar with your car and how it works. So, without further ado, let’s get started!
Gather the necessary supplies
Before you can get started on changing your transmission fluid, you’ll need to gather all the necessary supplies. Here’s a list of everything you’ll need:
- A new transmission fluid filter
- A new transmission fluid pan gasket
- A transmission fluid pump
- A fresh bottle of transmission fluid (make sure to choose the right type for your vehicle)
- A jack and jack stands
- A wrench or socket set
- Some rags or paper towels
- A scraper (optional, but helpful for removing excess gunk from the pan)
Now, finding all these supplies might seem a bit overwhelming, but it’s actually pretty straightforward. You can usually find everything you need at an auto parts store or online. Just make sure to double-check that you’re getting the right type of transmission fluid for your specific make and model of car – using the wrong type of fluid can seriously damage your transmission.
Jack up your car and secure it on jack stands
Before you can get to the fun part (i.e. draining all that dirty transmission fluid), you’ll need to jack up your car and secure it on jack stands. This will give you easy access to the transmission pan and make it easier to work on your car.
Now, jacking up your car might seem intimidating if you’ve never done it before, but it’s actually pretty simple as long as you take all necessary safety precautions. Here’s a step-by-step guide to jacking up your car:
- First, make sure you have a sturdy, flat surface to work on. A driveway or garage floor is ideal.
- Next, locate the proper jacking points on your car. These are usually located near the frame of the car and are reinforced to handle the weight of the car.
- Place your jack at the jacking point and gently lift the car off the ground until the tire is about six inches off the ground.
- Once the car is high enough, place a jack stand under the car and lower it onto the stand.
- Repeat this process for the other side of the car.
Now, it’s important to note that jacking up your car can be dangerous if not done properly, so it’s important to take all necessary safety precautions.
Make sure you have a sturdy, flat surface to work on and always use the proper jacking points – never try to lift the car by the bumper or other non-reinforced areas. And most importantly, never get under a car that is only supported by a jack – always use jack stands to support the weight of the car.
Locate the transmission pan and remove it
Now that your car is securely jacked up and on jack stands, it’s time to locate the transmission pan and remove it. This is usually located towards the back of the car and can be a bit tricky to find if you’ve never done it before.
A good way to locate it is to follow the transmission fluid lines – they should lead you right to the pan.
Once you’ve found the transmission pan, it’s time to remove it. This is usually just a matter of removing a few bolts using a wrench or socket set. Just be careful not to strip the bolts or drop them – you don’t want to lose them down in the transmission pan.
Drain the old transmission fluid
Alright, now comes the fun part – getting all that old, dirty transmission fluid out of the pan. This can be a bit messy, so make sure you have some rags or paper towels handy to wipe up any spills.
To drain the fluid, you’ll need to locate the drain plug on the bottom of the pan and remove it using a wrench or socket set. Once the drain plug is removed, the old fluid should start to drain out.
Once all the old fluid has drained out, use a scraper to remove any excess gunk from the pan. This will help to ensure that the new fluid can flow freely and won’t get clogged up with debris.
Install the new transmission pan gasket and refill the transmission with new fluid
Now that the old fluid is out, it’s time to install the new transmission pan gasket and refill the transmission with fresh fluid. This is a pretty simple process – just follow these steps:
- First, clean the transmission pan thoroughly to make sure there’s no leftover debris or gunk.
- Next, install the new transmission pan gasket, making sure it’s seated properly and there are no gaps or misalignments.
- Reinstall the transmission pan, securing it with the bolts you removed earlier.
- Now it’s time to refill the transmission with the new fluid. Use the transmission fluid pump to get the fluid into all the nooks and crannies – it might be helpful to have a friend hold a flashlight so you can see what you’re doing.
- Once the transmission is full, replace the transmission fluid dipstick and check the levels to make sure you’ve added the correct amount.
Start your car and let it idle to circulate the new fluid
Finally, it’s time to start your car and let it idle to circulate the new fluid. This is an important step, as it helps to ensure that the new fluid is flowing properly and reaching all the necessary parts of the transmission. Just start your car and let it idle for a few minutes – that’s it!
And there you have it – you’ve successfully changed your own transmission fluid! Just remember to dispose of the old fluid properly and to keep an eye on your fluid levels to make sure everything is running smoothly.
If you notice that your transmission is still having issues or your fluid levels are consistently low, it might be time to take it to a professional for a more thorough inspection.
Changing your own transmission fluid can be a relatively easy and rewarding task if you have the right tools and know-how. Just remember to take all necessary safety precautions and follow the steps carefully to avoid any costly mistakes.
And if you’re ever in doubt or feeling unsure, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and leave it to the professionals.