Changing the oil in an automatic transmission – when does it need to be done?

It takes approx. 3 minutes to read this article

The gearbox is one of the key elements ensuring smooth operation of the drive train. It consists of many moving parts, so it needs the right oil to maintain high efficiency for a long time. When should the oil be changed? What to pay attention to?

Automatic transmission is one of the most complicated and costly car components. As a result, the eventual repair is extremely expensive and hits the owner in the pocket. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your transmission is operating under optimal conditions according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Aside from driving technique issues, the most important thing is to ensure that the gears inside your transmission are properly lubricated.

Why do you need to change your oil?

Transmission oil performs extremely important functions inside the mechanisms that are located there. Above all, the fluid ensures optimum lubrication and cooling of the components. In addition, in the torque converter it mediates the transmission power and is used in the very precise control system of the transmission

By the way, it is also worth mentioning the multidisc clutches located inside automatic transmissions. These components are designed to operate in an oil bath – the metal filings generated during clutch operation end up in the oil. The condition of the fluid also depends on the loads to which the transmission is subjected – the more work, the more swarf. Although modern transmissions are equipped with magnets that are designed to catch mechanical particles, even the most sophisticated filters cannot guarantee that all contaminants are captured. Safeguards only affect the length of the oil change interval, not the fact that the oil needs to be changed

Oil change risk

If you ask mechanics and experts behind the wheel about the need to change the oil, you will hear the opinion that as long as the transmission is functioning, there is no point in bothering with changing the fluid inside it. Turns out that’s not very factually based. Proper oil changes can only improve drivetrain performance. I point out that the key word here is the word “correct”.

How do I change my oil?

Your transmission should have a traditional drain plug, which makes the whole process much easier. Importantly, however, you may only be able to pour out half of the used oil – you can get rid of the rest by vacuuming it out or by just disassembling the transmission

It is best to change the oil using the drain hole first, and only then can you remove the oil pan. When changing the oil, you should consider the idea of changing the filter. Unfortunately, most vehicles do not offer this option due to the fact that the manufacturer stipulates a lifetime for this element. Later on, you will need to clean the interface between the oil pan and the gasket. It is best if you put on a new one. Then assemble the whole thing and make sure all the parts are tight. Only then pour new oil into the gearbox. After draining the oil tank, provide new lubricating fluids – only those specified by the component manufacturer

Once the proper amount of oil has been poured in, turn on the engine to check the oil level using the sensors and on-board computer. If the computer communicates that there is not enough oil in the reservoir – keep topping up until you get it

Manufacturers recommend that you change the oil after the first 100,000 kilometers of driving, after that you should take care of the hydraulic oil more often – even every 40,000 kilometers!


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