Does the oil in the automatic transmission need to be changed?

In short, YES! Prevention is cheaper than repair!
Here are some details about the automatic transmission and why the oil change is necessary.

Why does it need to be changed?

Oil exchange is one of the most important activities for a car.Why? Because any moving mechanism needs lubrication. In addition, like other vital vehicle fluids, the transmission oil deteriorates over time.

The gearbox is a very popular item in the use of the car. At each gear change, the oil acquires various residues (splinters on the sprockets, iron filings) and is subjected to very high temperatures. All this changes its oxidation degree and lubrication properties. Specialists say that every 7 ° C above 80 ° C, the degree of oxidation of the oil doubles. Some only use the bath oil exchange by the traditional method, but, thus, only 30-40% of the oil is replaced and it does not “prolong” the life of the gearbox.

An automatic transmission works on the basis of hydraulic circuits, and the liquid inside is in fact a liquid similar to that of a power steering. It is a much more liquid oil than the one in the manual gearbox, but it is also subjected to a higher temperature.

When is the oil change performed?

If you have been interested in this issue before, you have certainly received different answers. Some car manufacturers recommend changing the transmission oil every 150,000-200,000 kilometers, which is a lot, if we think about it.

An average driver travels about 15,000 kilometers in a year, so the operation to change the transmission fluid will be done in about 6 years. Who knows under what conditions the liquid looks during 6 years? Therefore, it is good to change the transmission oil earlier, every 2-3 years or every 70,000 kilometers.

The transmission fluid is most often red. As it deteriorates, it tends to become darker brown / black. It may acquire a burning odor, which may indicate that it needs to be changed or that the transmission is developing mechanical problems.

Before changing the oil

After changing the oil

Signs that you need to replace the automatic transmission oil:
  • if changing gears is no longer smooth
  • speeds change late
  • the transmission makes noise while driving and shifting gears
  • shaking the gearbox when changing gears
  • the gearbox produces small shocks when shifting gears
  • if you see a dirty, muddy oil on the dipstick from the box oil, instead of being transparent and clean
  • when it is cold and the box changes completely until it heats up

How to change the oil?

Poti sa iti faci schimbul de ulei la cutia de transfer in orice service auto? Daca service-ul auto este echipat corespunzator, atunci da.

What does “properly equipped” mean?

Car manufacturers have noticed the need for special equipment to change the oil in the automatic transmission. Their request was answered by engineers who created high-performance equipment.

The equipment must provide maintenance both for high-performance automatic gearboxes, which change gears very quickly, and for automatic gearboxes mounted on off-road vehicles, which change gears more slowly and have different tilt angles and torques.

The equipment washes the components of the box, after which it dynamically changes all the oil at a controlled temperature.Also, some automatic transmissions are equipped with filters that need to be replaced with the oil change.

Are you at risk if you don’t change it?

Yes it is a risk! Because the heat affects the oil inside an automatic transmission, significantly reducing its lubricating properties, this process in turn leads to damage to the parts in the automatic transmission.

What do the manufacturers say?


Automatic gearbox manufacturers recommend changing the oil and filter of the automatic transmission specifying the number of kilometers at which the change is made as well as the type of oil. Automatic gearboxes are manufactured by several large manufacturers (ZF, GM, BorgWarner, Getrag, Jatco, etc.) according to certain requirements and specifications of car manufacturers and are delivered to the latter to be mounted on cars. Because of this, most misinterpretations of automatic gearboxes occur.

In conclusion, changing the oil in the automatic transmissions contributes to prolonging the service life of your vehicle, but only if it is changed at the interval set by the manufacturers (150,000 kilometers, as a preventive measure can be done at 70,000 kilometers) , because after that it loses its lubricating properties and can have negative effects on the parts of the automatic gearbox.

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