How To Change Manual Transmission Fluid ?

Manual Transmission Fluid Change

How blood flows into the veins and keeps you active, the fluid for the transmission is like that. You can’t predict the work structure of this liquid until you face lower performance from your car.  

When the transmission fluid of the engine expires its working ability and fails lubing due to losing viscosity grade, you need to change the fluid. At that time, you have to know how to change manual transmission fluid to perform the job. 

Fortunately, you can do the task with the help of some essential tools, a little DIY skills, and some patience. The whole process will take less than 1 hour and save around 50 bucks. Sounds interesting! 

This guide tailors to let you know the 

  • Signs of bad transmission fluid
  • Simple instructions for changing manual transmission fluid
  • Benefits of changing transmission fluid
  • When to change transmission fluid 
  • How much it costs to change the transmission fluid 

Overall, once you read the post, you will clearly understand manual transmission fluid change procedures and the relevant question’s answer.  

Symptoms Of Dirty Transmission Fluid 

It’s essential to learn the signs of dirty transmission fluid to determine when you should change the fluid and whether that is worth it for you or not. There are a few symptoms that indicate inappropriate fluid of the transmission. Such as 

  • If you never change the transmission fluid, it can lose its viscosity, getting black due to sludge and deposits. So the fluid can be dirty. 
  • The bad transmission fluid leads to lower hydraulic power and slippery gear. 
  • When the fluid gets bad, it can’t correctly lube the engine’s components. As a result, the transmission parts come in contact with one another and produce heat. So, the engine gets hotter than usual. 
  • Producing low manual transmission fluid or manual transmission noise when accelerating is one of the significant reasons for bad fluid. As it means something gets damaged and that generates the noise. 
  • A slipping sensation or the slow ratio changing tells you that the transmission fluid becomes dirty. 
  • Sometimes you find moving your car in reverse is more complex than before. Though there can be many reasons, bad transmission fluid is also notable.

These are the most common reasons for dirty transmission fluid. If any explanation from the list matches your car, it’s essential to immediately change the transmission fluid. 

When To Change Transmission Fluid 

Most engine manufacturers recommend changing the transmission fluid to keep your transmission healthy. There are two ranges for miles based on the manual transmission fluid and automatic transmission fluid. 

  • You have to change transmission fluid within 30k to 60k miles for manual transmission.
  • For automatic transmission, its range will be from 60k to 100k miles. 

However, if you drive harshly in high temperatures, it’s better to change the fluid early as there is no harm instead of benefits. 

How To Change Manual Transmission Fluid

There is no rocket science to change the manual transmission fluid instead of simple steps. Take a cup of tea, drink it, refresh yourself, and start the DIY job. 

Step 1: Taking preparation 

It’s said that taking proper preparation is half the battle. So you should allow at least one hour from your working schedule to perform the job and collect some equipment at your fingertips. Here is a list of tools that you will require for changing the fluid.

  • New transmission fluid (as per your transmission requirement)
  • Jack point
  • Jack stands
  • 24 mm socket wrench
  • A ratchet 
  • A fluid pump
  • A drain pan
  • A clean rag
  • Washer 
  • Hand gloves 

Step 2: Lift the car

You have to lift the car from the ground to access the car’s fluid filter bolt. After raising the vehicle with a jack point, place a few jack stands below the car to set it safely. Otherwise, the vehicle may shake when you work beneath the car. 

Step 3: Remove the fluid filter bolt

Wear safety hand gloves and crawl below the car to reach the fluid bolt. Once you locate the bolt, set the 24 mm socket wrench with the bolt and rotate it clockwise to loosen. But don’t remove the bolt entirely as it starts dripping the dirty transmission fluid. 

Now, place the catch pan exactly under the bolt. Remove the bolt and you’ll notice the dirty transmission fluid starts to drain. Wait until all the liquid drains, and in the meantime, wipe the magnet of the bolt with a rag to clean. 

Step 4: Reinstall the drain bolt 

When you find no liquid comes from the transmission, it’s time to reinstall the bolt. You should use a washer before replacing the bolt, as it helps to secure the bolt more perfectly to prevent leaking. 

You can go with the reverse process of how you remove the bolt to replace it. But, be careful not to tighten it forcefully because it may scratch the bolt. 

Step 5: Filling the transmission with fresh fluid

Since the fluid filling plug is located horizontally, pouring oil without an oil filling pump is challenging. So it’s better to insert the oil filling pumper’s one end into the transmission and the other into the fluid container. 

Now, carefully pump the machine to fill the fluid. Frequently check the oil in the container to avoid overfilling the transmission reservoir and making a gigantic mess. 

Step 6: Reinstall the filler bolt

Now, you have to replace the fluid filler bolt after filling the fluid. Use a torque wrench to reinstall the bolt and secure its placement. Before getting out below the car, check the entire transmission area to ensure there are no leaks where the oil can sip.

Step 7: Come out below the car

Slowly come out from the beneath of the car by crawling. Remove the jack stands one by one from the car to set the car on the ground. After that, drive your car for a few minutes to check whether everything is ok. 

Step 8: Manage the dirty transmission fluid

It’s not wise to waste dirty oil, as there is technology to recycle the old oil. By recycling the oil, you can use it as Diesel fuel. So if possible, recycle the fluid. 

Isn’t it better to get a visualization of the process? Yes, and for Thai below we attach a YouTube video for your convenience. 

Benefits Of Changing Transmission Fluid

First, admit it; changing the manual transmission fluid won’t fix any mechanical problem in your car. But, it can offer you many advantages that give you peace of mind and enjoyable driving experiences. 

  • Getting the correct horsepower from your transmission with maximum torque on the pavement will be easier to propel your car forward. 
  • Changing manual transmission fluid will offer you the enjoyment of rowing gear that fits your current conditions. 
  • You’ll get a smoother shifting of your car while accelerating and decelerating. 
  • It helps to keep the engine cooler even in harsh weather conditions. 
  • Increase your transmission life expectancy with potential performance.  

How Long Does It Take To Change Transmission Fluid?

No fixed time is there, as it entirely depends on your skill and the availability of tools. However, a pro mechanic takes around 30 minutes to change the transmission fluid, whereas you may need 60 minutes.

Manual Transmission Fluid Change Cost

There are two types of costs for changing transmission fluid. The first one is the cost of the liquid itself, and the second one is the mechanical cost. If you change the fluid by following our guidelines, you can save the mechanic charge. In that case, the cost will be lower. 

It costs you around $50-$60 for buying the fresh fluid. Here using the best transmission fluid formulated with additional additives and detergents creates the main difference in the cost range. As different fluids come with different prices. 

On the other hand, if you take your car to the garage for a transmission fluid change. Depending on location and mechanic skills, it may cost you approximately $80 to $100.

Is It Worth Changing The DIY Manual Transmission Fluid? 

Absolutely, yes. We can justify our answer from different angles to help you understand performing the task. 

  • First, changing DIY manual transmission fluid saves around your $40-$50 hard-earned cash. 
  • Secondly, changing the fluid won’t require too much time, energy, and logistics support. 
  • Thirdly, it helps you avoid the hassle of looking for the nearest garage that offers manual transmission fluid changing service, taking your car there, negotiating with the mechanic for the cost, and getting your vehicle back home. 
  • Finally, once you complete the process, it boosts up your DIY skill and confidence. So, you can also remove antifreeze and flush milky oil from your engine.  As they require almost the same processes. 


Should I change my transmission fluid if it’s never been changed?

No, changing your transmission fluid is not a good idea if it’s never been changed. The old fluid contains clutch material that helps to shift the transmission gears. 

On the other hand, pouring new transmission fluid may slip the transmission that didn’t slip earlier due to a lack of clutch material that builds over time. This is why you shouldn’t change your transmission fluid if it’s never been changed. 

How many years does transmission fluid last?

You won’t need to change transmission fluid as frequently as regular engine oil. Though the transmission fluid lifespan depends on how often you drive your car. If you drive the car rarely, the transmission will last longer than regular driving. However, the quality transmission fluid will serve you for approximately 10 years. 

Can changing transmission fluid be bad? 

If everything inside the transmission is absolutely alright, changing the transmission fluid won’t be bad. But, replacing the transmission fluid after it is worn out or damaged by the clutch can make the transmission slippery. 

Should I get a transmission flush or change?

Yes, you should get a transmission flush or change as it rejuvenates your transmission system working order with a cheap and DIY job method. 

Does changing transmission fluid improve performance?

Yes, changing transmission fluid improves performance because the new transmission fluid helps to get the maximum torque with good horsepower, which enhances performance level.  

Final Words 

We hope you get the answer to your inquiry on how to change the manual transmission fluid. Since the process is easy, there is no reason to call a professional for this task. Just correctly follow the steps and be your boss, expertly driving your car and taking care of it.

Leave a Comment