All You Need to Know About Your Car Transmission Fluid

September 19, 2022
Posted by: Ramee M

Transmission fluid is one of the essential fluids a car needs. For optimum performance of your car, you need to make sure the fluid is up to the recommended level and standard. Every car has different requirements when it comes to this fluid, the details of which can be found in the driver’s manual.

Transmission fluid check and maintenance should be a part of your car care regime. In this guide, we will discuss the importance of car transmission fluid, its different types and how to identify if your car needs a transmission fluid change.


Generally, there are two different types of car transmission fluids: automatic transmission fluid and manual transmission fluid.


Automatic transmission fluid (ATF) is made for cars with automatic transmissions. ATF is also used in some modern manual transmission cars. This fluid helps with several important functions of your automatic vehicles that include:

  • Lubricating the gearbox
  • Valve body (control centre of an automatic car) operation
  • Torque converter operation (in automatic cars torque converter connects power source to the load source, in manual cars the clutch of the vehicle performs this function)
  • Helps with the clutch friction operation
  • Brake band chafing
  • Transmission cooling


As evident from its name, manual car transmission fluid is for older manual cars. Transmission fluid in manual cars is also referred to as lube or manual transmission oil. You can’t use manual car transmission fluid in automatic cars because it is heavier than 75 to 140W.


Car transmission fluid is similar to gear oil, but it lubricates the total drivetrain, including the metal parts and bearings in the gearbox. These parts and bearings protect the gears from grinding down when moving: the clutch, prop shaft, differential and final drive shafts.

It is essential to keep a check on your car transmission fluid to keep your gears swift. After all, gears are used when you drive, park and reverse, several times daily.

The automatic transmission fluid lubricates the moving parts; it also provides friction and hydraulic pressure to get the internal parts working.

Besides, transmission fluid also helps keep the transmission cool in both manual and automatic vehicles.


With the passage of time, your car’s transmission fluid will get contaminated with particles of dirt and debris and break down, leading to cracks and fluid leaks. This happens in both automatic and manual car transmission fluid.

Though transmission fluid doesn’t need to be changed as often as motor oil, car owners need to keep checking their vehicle’s transmission fluids.

How often one needs to check the fluid depends on the performance of gears. If the fluid starts to break down or their level is low, you will notice a drastic change in the way your gears perform while shifting and changing them. The performance of your gears starts decreasing, and the risk of internal gears and part damage increases.

This happens because the gears start grinding owing to a lack of proper lubricants. When you see these symptoms, check the transmission fluid.


First of all, you need to be sure if your car has a manual or automatic transmission. You can get this information from the owner’s manual. Depending on the way you drive and your car’s transmission, some manufacturers recommend changing manual car transmission fluid after every 50,000 to 90,000 kilometres. However, keep in mind this can vary depending on your car’s model and make.

That is why car owners must always follow the manufacturer recommendations for their cars.

Keep the following things ready to change the transmission fluid in your manual vehicle properly:

  • Safety equipment including rubber gloves and safety goggles
  • A spanner for the oil drain plug
  • A container to collect the used oil
  • A plastic pipe and funnel
  • A jack along with its stand
  • Some paper towels or newspapers
  • Rags

If your car’s transmission is automatic, you’ll need to first locate the transmission dipstick in the vehicle. Go through the owner’s manual to figure out its exact location. Once located follow these steps:

  • Remove the automatic transmission fluid dipstick and drain out the fluid already in it
  • Wipe it with a clean cloth, reinsert it fully to clean and pull back out when done
  • Add fluid if you think its level is low, always use the manufacturer recommended fluid
  • But before adding car transmission fluid, observe the markings at the dipsticks’ end
  • If it is marked as “full” one warm and one cold. The automatic transmission fluid level has to come up to the “warm” line. If it does not, you have to add more automatic transmission fluid.
  • To add fluid, insert the long funnel into the automatic transmission fluid dipstick hole.
  • Carefully add fluid little by little and recheck the “warm” level line on the dipstick.
  • If you notice any fluid leaks take your car to a service centre and get it repaired.
  • Consult with an automobile professional expert to get a transmission fuel leak repair.

Besides, if your car breaks down, is low on fluids and needs costly maintenance on a regular basis, it only makes sense to replace it. Take a look at these used cars for sale in the Qatar and select a vehicle according to your preference and budget.

Stay tuned to the Qatar’s top car blog for more on important car fluids.

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