The automatic transmission is one of your vehicle's most complex components. It has dozens of moving parts typically under electronic and hydraulic control, so fluid is imperative to its operation. Most manufacturers recommend periodic automatic transmission fluid changes.
Even though some of the newer automatic transmissions are sealed and require limited maintenance, most automatics rely on automatic transmission fluid. ATF is used to lubricate the transmission and activate the various clutches that assist in changing gears.
When using a jack, exercise caution to ensure no accidents. Always secure the vehicle with jack stands, ramps or cribs. We recommend installing wheel chocks to the opposite end being lifted to prevent the vehicle from rolling.
Before draining the fluid, make sure the transmission is at normal operating temperature. Also make sure there's a fill spout for the new fluid; some newer transmissions do away with traditional fill methods.
A tip to help keep things clean: Removing all but the last four bolts at the back of the pan allows fluid to drain with minimal splatter.
Make sure the transmission pan and transmission mating surfaces are clean, and that the old filter grommet and transmission pan gasket are removed before installing the new parts.
Check your owner's manual for the recommended type and quantity of transmission fluid.
Check your owner's manual to determine if the vehicle needs to be running or off to accurately measure the transmission fluid.
Wiping it clean ensures you're measuring the accurate oil level and not any residue that may falsely indicate higher levels.
When checking the fluid, also check the condition of the fluid. If it's older, the fluid tends to get darker, and in some cases, you can smell a burnt odor; the latter may suggest the transmission could use service. Be sure to follow your manufacturer's recommend fluid change intervals found in the owner's manual.