When it comes to your transmission, there are various service options available, from a simple fluid change to complete flush and filter replacement. Depending on which service you have done, costs will vary. To get an idea how much you might pay for transmission service, check out this fantastic repair estimator from RepairPal.
ATF Fluid Replacement
An automatic transmission delivers power from the engine to the wheels, automatically shifting to provide the most efficient power for how fast you are driving. Transmission fluid cools and lubricates the gears inside of the tranny, and helps maintain necessary hydraulic pressure. This fluid degrades gradually over time, and its lubrication qualities are reduced. Changing the fluid periodically can help prevent and reduce wear and damage to the transmission. In this service, the fluid is usually “sucked” out of the check valve (where the transmission level dipstick is), and new fluid is inserted through the same valve. This is the simplest fluid procedure.
Drain and Refill
In this procedure, the drain plug is removed and the old transmission fluid is drained. Then the plug in reinstalled, and finally the transmission is filled with new clean fluid. This is slightly more involved than the “sucking” method described above.
The filter in an automatic transmission helps to remove dirt, metal, and other filth from the fluid to keep it as clean as possible. The filter sits in the transmission pan. Some of these pans also contain magnets to capture metal fragments that come off of the gears as they wear. In this procedure, the transmission pan is removed, the filter is taken out and replaced, the gasket seal is removed and replaced, the pan is reinstalled and sealed, and finally new transmission fluid is added.
Complete Flush, Filter and Fluid Replacement
This is the most comprehensive automatic transmission service, short of replacing or rebuilding the whole thing. In this proceedure, the processes described above are performed, and the entire system is flushed out, including the torque converter and transmission cooler.
Manual Transmission Fluid Service
Just because you have a stick shift doesn’t mean you don’t have to worry about changing your transmission fluid! Manual transmissions need care too.