How to Change Automatic Transmission Fluid and Filter
A transmission fluid change is something you can do at home, and the steps are easy enough:
- Elevate the Vehicle and Drop the Transmission Pan
- Replace the Transmission Fluid Filter
- Replace the Transmission Pan Gasket
- Install the Pan
- Add the Fluid
You’ll need the following tools:
- Safety Goggles
- Ratchet Set
- Torque Wrench
- Brake Cleaner
- Paper Towel
- A Scraper and Abrasive Pad for the Gasket
You’ll also need a container to catch the old transmission fluid, and you can check your owner’s manual to find the right fluid and filter type.
Elevate the Vehicle and Drop the Transmission Pan
Use ramps or jack stands to safely raise the vehicle, then find your transmission pan next to the catalytic converter — it will be secured with multiple bolts. Remove the rear ones to let the pan hang down at an angle. When it does, fluid will leak out into your container. The bolts should be easy enough to remove with your ratchet.
Replace the Transmission Fluid Filter
There’s usually only one bolt holding the filter — again, just a ratchet is all you need. Check the new filter is identical to the old one, then slip it on and secure the bolt. It’s a good idea to lube the O-ring with some transmission fluid before your do.
Replace the Transmission Pan Gasket
The rubber gasket along the edge of your transmission pan should come away easily, but you can use your plastic scraper if it doesn’t. When the pan is out, spray it down with your brake cleaner before wiping the surface with your paper towels. Clean the mating surface and grease the edge before placing the new gasket.
Install the Pan
Put the pan back up, screwing all the bolts until they are finger-tight — if you go too tight, you’ll risk damage. Maximum torque should be around 12 pounds per foot.
Add the Fluid
Finally, use your funnel to pour your new transmission fluid into an old jug so you can get the perfect amount. You can then transfer fluid into the transmission itself — and then you’re done.
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