does changing transmission fluid improve performance?

You own a vehicle, and its performance has suddenly dropped. What should you do then? Most automobile experts suggest working with the transmission fluid to improve this performance. But again, one question comes to mind, does changing transmission fluid improve performance?

In this auto car need guide you’ll learn the following:

  • What is transmission fluid change?
  • Is it a good idea to change your transmission fluid?
  • Does changing transmission fluid improve performance?
  • 4 Benefits of changing transmission fluid,
  • How do I know when my transmission fluid needs to be changed?
  • FAQs and more..

We have discussed this question and other relevant matters in this article.

What is transmission fluid change?

A vehicle may need versatile fluids to run properly. Transmission fluid is one of them. Consequently, it has been a debate whether you should change it or not. The automatic transmissions don’t need any fresh oil until 100k miles you drive the vehicle, depending on its manufacturer schedule. Alternatively, manual transmissions need more conventional gear oil than automatic ones.

You need to drain the pan during the transmission fluid change and replace the filter. But there is no need to removethe entire fluid. Instead, you can leave up to half quantity of fluid inside the torque converter and cooler lines. Adding new fluid can be more efficient than old fluid. Throughout the time, the fluid gets contaminated by dirt and dust. It can cause an overheat of the engine and a drop in performance. So, transmission fluid change is important.

Is it a good idea to change your transmission fluid?

Yes, it is!

Transmission fluid is an essential thing to lubricate the transmission parts. It also helps reduce any wear and tear happened by excessive friction and heat. Changing fluid improves the condition of the transmission.

Transmission fluid flush is almost similar to change. But in flush, all the fluids are removed, whereas change requires only a half portion of the total fluid. Most people think of transmission flush instead of changing it. Hence, transmission fluid change is also good for gaining optimal performance.

There are many incredible benefits of changing transmission fluid.

Does changing transmission fluid improve performance?

Owning a car requires some effort and expenditure. But, maintaining it for best performance requires consistent care of this vehicle. Therefore, people love to have a vehicle economical besides the show. Changing the transmission fluid can boost the fuel economy by giving life to the engine.

Once you change the liquid, you may experience better performance than running an engine with impure fluid. Also, it can save fuel and money for maintenance.

4 benefit of changing transmission fluid

Most people give attention to these facts when they think of their vehicles:

  • Tire, coolant, and air filter condition
  • Battery replacement
  • A motor oil change or replacement

But they overlook the transmission fluid change. Luckily, the oil change can make the transmission healthy to function the car well. There are numerous benefits of transmission fluid change besides improving performance. Some of these benefits of fluid change are:

1. Transmission Problems Reduction:

Dirt or debris enters the transmission fluid and contaminates it while driving or riding the vehicle. This clogged fluid loses its ability to give ample power and lubrication to the transmission system. In this case, a transmission fluid change can be a good idea. When you change the fluid, the debris goes off the vehicle. Thus, it helps to prevent any further critical transmission errors.

2. Fueling Efficiency:

You will love to save money or reduce paying for gas, won’t you? Many drivers or owners like you have a keen interest in increasing the fuel lifespan of a vehicle. If you change the fluid regularly, the engine will perform flawlessly.

It helps to flow the fuel through the engine properly. So, you will need less fuel for long-distance travel.

3. Better Engine Functioning

Transmission fluid change maintains the health of the engine better. The engine gets sufficient food (fluid) to function properly when you change the fluid. Also, consistent lubrication prevents the engine from shuttingdown unexpectedly.

Many service providers offer a warranty during an oil change, which means there will be no engine lock-up.

4. Money-Saving Idea

Repairing the engine runs with contaminated transmission fluid can cost you huge money. Again, you may need to install a new engine which is frustrating for any vehicle owner. Again, flushing all the fluid requires more money than changing it.

Overall, transmission fluid change is an economical idea. It reduces contamination and increases performance. Also, it can extend the performance of old transmission oil.

Does changing transmission fluid help shifting?

During the transmission fluid change, you can eliminate debris from the old, contaminated, blackish oil. If you don’t prefer changing the oil, it may clog all the gears. As a result, you may find gear shifting very complex. Alternatively, a clean transmission fluid can help you shift the gear superbly.

There will be no chance of gear shifting failure. Also, you can increase or decrease vehicle speed impeccably.

How do I know when my transmission fluid needs to be changed?

automobile engineer checking transmission fluid on a car

It is essential to know when to change the vehicle’s transmission fluid. Usually, each vehicle has a different schedule to perform the changes. You can check the user manual of the vehicle to know the frequency.

Mainly, you can inspect the fluid by finding the dipstick under the vehicle hood when the engine is on. You may also identify the quantity of transmission fluid by looking at the dipstick markings.

You can wipe the dipstick on a white paper towel to check the fluid color. It helps to identify the quality of the fluid and whether you should change it now or later. The bright pink color means there is no need to change the fluid. You should change the fluid if you find it pinkish light brown. Alternatively, mandatory change is needed if the color is deep brown and fluid has debris inside it.

Check the transmission fluid and identify the changing time when you find these issues:

1. Slipping gears

You may see the transmission or gear slipping, especially when reaching the higher surfaces. It is the sign of changing the old fluid to help smooth gear shifting.

2. Fluid leakage

You may see dark spots where you keep the vehicle (like a garage). Also, puddles on the driveway signify changing the transmission fluid. For better identification, you may place cardboard below the vehicle. The color of the leaked fluid is also a fact to indicate changing the fluid. It may appear bright or dark red-brown.

3. Loud roaring noise

When insufficient quality fluid, you may hear loud grinding or squealing noises during gear shifting. Check the transmission fluid level while running the engine if you hear the noise. Again, check the color of the fluid and identify if it needs changing.

4. Gear shifting problems

Gear shifting is a part of vehicle driving. If you find the shifting harder, it is a sign of changing transmission fluid. In automatic shifting, the shift will be delayed, and in manual, it won’t be easy to shift physically.

5. A strange odor

If you do not change the transmission oil for a long time, it may cause a slight burning odor. Surprisingly, this odor is quite like radiator coolant. But you can ask the mechanic to identify if it is relevant to transmission fluid change.

6. Bizarre surging

Dirty fluid may change the transmission oil sometimes. It causes a vehicle to surge forward or backward when you suddenly press the accelerator or brake.In such a situation, you should think of transmission fluid change.

7. Poor acceleration

Suppose you need to accelerate the vehicle by manual shifting. But it stalls for a few seconds. You may need to change or flush the fluid while asking any professional.

If you are a more visual learner, here is a video from ehowauto about Symptoms of Low Transmission Fluid on YouTube.

Should I change transmission fluid after 100k miles?

Of course. You should change the transmission fluid after driving the vehicle for 100K miles. Most new vehicles have service intervals of 100000 miles. But, you can check the owner’s manual of the car to know the intervals. It can be more or less than 100K miles. Also, it can be only 15000 miles if you use the vehicle in heavy-duty applications.

Is it bad to change transmission fluid on high mileage?

Yes, you can drive as much as you want. But things will not appear the same as expected. Suddenly, your vehicle will stop moving, and the engine won’t bark again. It happens because the transmission fluid gets dirt and debris throughout the time. Slowly, the fluid causes different problems leading to different vehicle problems. If you run the vehicle low on the fluid, the gear shifting may fail. Also, it can damage the transmission system’s inner parts. So, you should be careful.

Transmission Flush vs. Fluid Change: Which is Better?

When you think of “can changing transmission fluid be bad?” Some people think of flush instead of changing the transmission fluid. However, both are fully different services. Flush means removing all the fluids from the pan, while change requires half or less than half the quantity of fluids.

Before realizing which one is better, you should understand the role of the transmission fluid. It helps to cool down and lubricate transmission parts. When the parts wear down over time,the small particles of the interior contaminate the fluid. This is the time when you should think of fluid changing or flushing.

Flush means draining and refilling a transmission fully. It can eliminate all the sludge and dirty particles while leaving no chance of fluid clogs. Mechanics use flushing machines to complete the processes. However, you need to carry good expenditure and time if you regularly transmit flush.On the other hand, fluid changing is faster,with no flushing device urgency. Also, you can save money and time with it.

One downside of the fluid change is it will not be so effective as a transmission flush. Except it, everything goes better with transmission fluid change. Regular fluid change decreases the need to flush the pan.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

These are some FAQs about transmission fluid changing:

1. Can changing old transmission fluid be bad?

Of course, it is good for the vehicle. It helps to enhance the performance, cleaning the clogs and dirt particles from the fluid. Also, it renews the engine condition and proper oil flow like a new vehicle. Moreover, it’s more economical than the transmission flush.

2. Should I change my transmission fluid at 120k miles?

At first, you should look at prescribed service intervals depending on vehicles. After running the vehicle for 100K miles, most vehicles need a fluid change. But it is less for heavy-duty use vehicles like 30-60K miles. So, you should not wait for 120K miles. Still, experts suggest not changing or flushing the fluid until the vehicle runs smoothly without redundancies.

3. What should you not do when changing transmission fluid?

You should be careful while changing the transmission fluid. If you see the fluid is full of metal and excessive contaminants, you can change the fluid.

Gear shifting, leakage, surging problems are common results if you drive the vehicle without changing the fluid. So, you should not drive the car when you need to change the fluid. Also, do not force the engine to work even after service intervals.

Last Note: We suggest contacting the car care professionals first for any prior solutions to any problem. Have a safe and happy journey!

Who Worked on This?



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Mahir Ahmed


I'm the guy responsible for ensuring honest, informative, accurate and helpful guide to the reader.

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