Many car owners are unaware of the different types of transmission fluid that are available for their vehicles. Just like engine oil, there are different grades and types of this fluid that can be used, depending on your vehicle’s make and model. This can make you confused.
Using the wrong type of fluid will damage your car for a long time. So, it becomes imperative for you to know the suitable fluid for your car.
In this blog post, we will discuss the different types of transmission fluid available and help you figure out which one is right for your car. Stay tuned!
What Is Transmission Fluid
Transmission fluid is used to lubricate the components in the transmission system for optimal performance. It also acts as a coolant to keep the moving parts within the system clean and cool.
More than that, in automatic transmissions, this lubricant also helps provide friction and hydraulic pressure to make the gearbox work smoothly.
Transmission fluid usually has a red color to help you distinguish it from other fluids in the vehicle. There are many various types of this lubricant with different specifications. Using the wrong type can lead to severe damage to the system. So make sure to double-check with your owner’s manual carefully before changing/ adding any kind to your car.
Also, you can learn more about the right type of transmission fluid used for your vehicle at https://oilsadvisor.com/.
Types Of Transmission Fluids
Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF)
As the name implies, the ATF is used for automatic transmission. But it is also applicable to some modern manual vehicles, which makes it widely accepted. Some of the ATFs available are Dexron VI, Mecron V, Mercon LV, Matic S, K, or D, etc…
The automatic transmission fluid has synthetic blends similar to regular engine oil but with its fair share of pros and cons. Due to the variety of ATF, it will be challenging to identify the proper fluid for your vehicle model without consulting the owner’s manual. You can also employ the services of a professional auto repair shop or visit your dealership to ensure that the proper oil is used.
Manual transmission fluid (MTF)
Any fan of driving will always love the manual transmission. And this is due to the presence of more gears when compared to an automatic transmission. It affords you better control over the performance of the gearbox and clutch, which makes driving more enjoyable. So, every manual transmission will require manual fluid.
The function of the manual fluid is often overlooked because it is less visible to you, but it is as essential as any other vital part of your car. It balances the fluctuation in temperature and reduces friction to avoid wear and tear to damage the transmission parts. The MTF is also called the gear oil, responsible for smooth running and cooling of the transmission parts.
There are numerous manual fluids to choose from, but your owner’s manual will reveal the specific one best suited for your car.
CVT Transmission Fluid
The CVT transmission fluid is designed for continuously variable transmission systems. And these CVT systems can be alternatively referred to as pulley, single-speed, or steeples transmission.
The CVT fluid is engineered to suit modern cars with highly advanced technology to aid smooth transmission, and some of these modern cars are trucks, SUVs, etc.
If your vehicle falls under these categories, avoid using regular ATF because it can generate faults in your car. And the fault might not be immediate but will surely suffice over time.
Numerous benefits accompany the use of CVT fluid are listed below:
- Increases the lifespan of your vehicle.
- Helps preserve your car’s transmission.
- Provides efficient consumption of fuel.
- Optimizes the friction coefficient.
- Provides a smoother gear transition.
- Against wear and tear.
Dexron VI (GM) / Mercon V (Ford) / ATF+4 (Chrysler)
The Dexron VI (GM) is an automatic transmission fluid that provides consistent shift performance in extreme conditions. This is the latest model in the Dexron series of ATF fluid.
The Mercon V is a high-performance automatic gearbox fluid designed for Ford, Mercury, and Lincoln automobiles. In electronically controlled automatic gearboxes, this device performs admirably.
The ATF+4 is the recommended fluid for Chrysler and in situations where Allison C-3 and C-4 fluids are required. Using this fluid affords you improved anti-shudder properties and good low-temperature properties.
What Transmission Fluid Do I Have?
Knowing the type of transmission fluid your vehicle uses is not as complicated as many car owners think. It is an action you can carry out yourself with a simple guide.
The number one way to know your vehicle’s transmission fluid is through the owner’s manual. When you check through it, you will find various information about your car and its specifications.
But unfortunately, those that bought second-hand cars might not have an owner’s manual. So, how do they know the right fluid for their car? Below are some ways to check your vehicle’s transmission fluid without the owner’s manual.
- Using the year, make, or model tool to check for the transmission fluid of your car
- Check the white card on the driver’s seat door.
- Check beneath the hood or the transmission oil pan (requires a technician)
- Look up the 17-digit vehicle identification number. You can ask a technician to help you decode the VIN to ascertain your vehicle’s fluid.
Check the owner’s manual.
While checking the owner’s manual, you will find some of the specific transmission fluid for your vehicle. Here are some of the cars and the fluid required:
- Honda: Honda ATF DW1/Z1 for automatic transmissions
- Nissan: Nissan Matics
- Toyota: Toyota Type T-IV or WS
- Ford: Mercon
- Chrysler: ATF+4
- Audi: ZF ATF
- BMW: Dexron III
- Jaguar: JLM 20238
- Kia: SP-II/SP-III
- Mercedes-Benz: MBZ ATF 236.10/236.12/236.20
- Mitsubishi: SP-II/SP-III
- Mazda: Type M5V
- Porsche: ATF no. 999 917 547 00
In a world where there are numerous varieties, one needs to be careful in choosing or picking an item in order not to make the wrong choices. According to the owner’s manual, each vehicle has its specified fluid for the transmission system.
But, if you do not know, you might make a mistake and unknowingly damage your car.
This article has brought all the knowledge you require to make the right call when changing or filling your transmission fluid—even for those that do not have their owner’s manual.
Written by Ryan McCain
Ryan has got more than 15 years in the auto industry. Car was his first love and passion. That’s why besides being a mechanic and technician, he started writing for an auto blog. He spends his weekdays working for his garage and writing stories for oilsadvisor.com.