How Often to Change Transmission Fluid

Transmission fluid is a slippery fluid that acts as both a lubricant and a coolant for the parts inside of your transmission. In an automatic transmission, it also serves as a hydraulic fluid to transmit power from the engine to the transmission.

Like all automotive fluids, transmission fluid needs to be replaced periodically. This is because it degrades and breaks down with use. It also becomes contaminated with worn bits of the transmission. So, to keep your transmission working like it should, have the fluid and filter serviced at regular intervals.

How Often to Change Transmission Fluid

Transmission Dipstick

How often you should have your transmission fluid changed depends on the transmission type. Consult your owners manual or ask your favorite mechanic (hopefully Ed’s BnB!) For a specific recommendation, or keep reading for general information.

Automatic Transmissions – Most vehicle manufacturers recommend an automatic transmission fluid change every 30,000 to 60,000 miles. We prefer to err on the side of sooner rather than later, because today’s transmissions are complex and made with very tight tolerances. It doesn’t take much debris or wear to cause a noticeable problem.

CVT Transmissions – A newer addition to the world of Automotive Transmissions, a CVT (continuously variable transmission) has no physical gears. Instead, they change seamlessly through a continuous range of gear ratios using a special pulley system. CVT Fluid should be changed every 25,000 to 35,000 miles.

Manual Transmissions – A Manual transmission fluid change about every 30-40,000 miles is a good recommendation. In a manual transmission, the synchronizers, gears, and bearings create more debris from wear than you’d see in an automatic transmission, so you want to make sure your Manual Transmission has clean fluid as much as possible by changing it a little more often than with an automatic.

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