Transmission fluid is an important component of any truck or SUV’s drivetrain. It helps keep the transmission system lubricated, cools down the transmission components, and ensures smooth gear shifts by picking up gunk and metal shavings from moving parts.
As a truck or SUV owner, you may have probably asked yourself, “How much transmission fluid do I need for my ride?” We will answer that question and guide you on adding transmission fluid to your vehicle.
Why Should I Add or Change Transmission Fluid?
Transmission fluid can get contaminated with debris, dirt, and other particles over time, causing it to lose some of its lubrication properties and cooling capacity. You’ll know that you need to add or change your transmission fluid if you start experiencing hard shifting or hear whining, grinding, or gurgling noises when you shift gears.
You can protect your transmission system from significant wear by keeping the transmission fluid at its proper level. Changing the fluid helps make gear shifts smoother and extends your transmission’s life.
How Often Should I Add or Change Transmission Fluid?
If your truck has a manual transmission, most manufacturers recommend changing the fluid every 30,000 to 60,000 miles. Meanwhile, a fluid change is recommended for automatic-transmission vehicles every 60,000 to 100,000 miles.
You should also take into consideration consider how hard you use your truck. If you put your truck into heavy-duty use, you must change the fluid every 15,000 miles if it’s manual or 30,000 miles if it’s automatic.
Failure to regularly replace the transmission fluid can lead to the fluid losing its cleaning and lubricating properties, leading to excess friction, sludge buildup, and high temperatures, eventually damaging the gears’ internal clutches. This is why replacing your truck’s transmission fluid should be part of your regular maintenance routine.
How Much Transmission Fluid Does a Truck or SUV Need?
The amount of transmission fluid you put into your truck depends on your truck’s make and model, the transmission type, and the pan’s actual capacity. A fully drained car usually needs an average of 4 to 17 U.S. gallons of transmission fluid or about 12 to 16 quarts. By consulting your vehicle’s manual or seeking advice from your trusted mechanic, you can get a better estimate.
Sometimes, it is necessary to drain the old fluid instead of just topping it up. Draining the transmission fluid and replacing it can help improve your car’s performance.
Likewise, it’s important to determine how much fluid is left in the system.
How to Add Transmission Fluid
Things You Need
· Gloves: To protect your hands from the fluid and any dirt, debris, or contaminants.
· Dipstick: To check the current fluid level and monitor it while adding new fluid. Newer trucks have a fluid level sensor to eliminate the need for this tool.
· Clean rags or paper towels: To wipe the spills.
· Transmission fluid: Ensure that you have the correct type and quantity recommended by the manufacturer.
· Funnel: Used to pour the fluid without spills.
Steps for Adding Transmission Fluid
1. Park your vehicle on a level surface and leave the engine running. Open its hood, find the transmission fluid dipstick, and clean it with a rag or paper towel.
2. Reinsert the dipstick fully and check the reading. The fluid level on the dipstick must be between the Full and Add or Hot and Cold marks.
3. Insert a clean funnel into the tube where you removed the dipstick. Pour a small amount of fluid and check the level. Allow the fluid to settle, and then recheck the fluid level with the dipstick.
4. Add more fluid if the fluid level is below the median mark. Continue adding fluid until you reach the suggested level. At the most, you will add about a pint of fluid. There’s no immediate need to add fluid if it’s within the recommended range.
5. Clean up any spills with a rag or paper towel.
6. Turn your engine off and allow it to cool down before checking the fluid level one final time.
Shift Your Gears Smoothly
By understanding the importance of the transmission fluid, knowing how often to add or change it, and following the proper steps for adding fluid to your truck or SUV, you can ensure your vehicle’s transmission operates smoothly.
At the end of the day, it is essential to consult your vehicle’s owner manual or contact the manufacturer to obtain specific guidelines for your particular make and model. Following their recommendations ensures the optimal performance and longevity of your transmission system for years to come.