How Much Transmission Fluid Changes Cost

How Much Does It Cost to Change Transmission Fluid

Many drivers are big on maintenance routines: oil changes, spark plug replacement, air filters, or even brake replacement but ignore the need to change their transmission fluid. But do you need to change your transmission fluid? Yes, you do.

Although not regularly, you need to change your transmission fluid between intervals, for at least 30,000 to 50,000 miles for manual transmissions and 50,000 to 100,000 miles for automatic transmissions.

Now that you understand the need to change your transmission fluid, the question remains: how much does it cost to change the transmission fluid? The cost of changing a transmission fluid ranges between $300 to $500. A few factors will determine how much you spend changing your transmission fluid.

Read on to find out all you need to know about transmission fluid change costs.

Transmission Fluid Change Cost: How Much Does It Cost?

It costs between $300 and $500 to change your transmission fluid. This greatly depends on whether you are changing the manual or automatic transmission fluid. The type of vehicle, its age and condition, and the labor cost in your region also determine the cost of changing its transmission fluid.

It is cheaper to change the transmission fluid of a manual transmission than it is to change that of an automatic transmission. This is because manual transmissions hold a lesser amount of transmission fluid than automatic transmissions.

For instance, a manual transmission fluid change will need close to a 3- to 4-quart transmission fluid, whereas an automatic transmission fluid change will need roughly 12 quarts of transmission fluid.

This is four times the amount of fluid needed on a manual transmission. The reason why it looks like it is expensive to change automatic transmission fluid is that synthetic automatic transmission fluids are costly. It costs between $54 to $90 to get a 6- to a 12-quart modern automatic transmission.

With a manual transmission, you will spend less because it takes a lesser amount of transmission fluid to change the fluid in a manual transmission system. However, with an automatic transmission, you don’t need to drain and fill up the system completely. You only need to fill up half the fluid, leaving a good amount of fluid in the transmission system.

Is It Worth Doing a Transmission Fluid Change?

Yes. Nobody has ever regretted changing their transmission fluid. Although a transmission fluid change might not fix all the mechanical problems in your car, it is worth it because it will handle issues like shifts and ensure the smooth operation of your engine.

Transmission fluid change ensures the smooth operation of your engine. This greatly impacts your gas mileage, driving dynamics, and overall engine performance.

There are many misconceptions about Transmission fluid change. Many drivers believe they don’t need to change their transmission fluid because it was tagged “lifetime transmission fluid.” It is beneficial that you change your transmission fluid after 50,000 miles.

You must understand that your transmission fluid acts as a hydraulic and lubrication substance. This makes it an important component in facilitating gear shifts and transmission cooling.

For optimal engine performance, it is important that you always check and change your transmission fluid, especially if you are subjecting your car to heavy-duty tasks.

Why Is It Expensive To Change Your Transmission Fluid?

There are no arguments that changing an automatic transmission is more expensive than a manual one. The high cost of changing automatic transmission fluid is due to the processes involved.

The processes of an automatic transmission fluid change require more materials and labor. Unlike the manual transmission fluid change, on automatic transmissions, you will need to remove your transmission oil pan, change the gasket, and probably get a new filter.

This includes the labor cost, which adds to the overall cost of changing your transmission fluid.

In some cases, some cars like Hyundai make it easier and cheaper to change your transmission fluid. These cars don’t need to change the filters because they are permanent, and you don’t need to remove the pan because there is a drain.

Coupled with the cost of getting a good modern synthetic transmission fluid, it is understandable why it is expensive to change your transmission fluid.

These additional costs can make transmission fluid change extremely pricy. The beautiful thing about it is that you can save costs by changing the transmission fluid yourself.

Can I Change the Transmission Fluid Myself?

Yes, you can. The process might be tricky, but you can change your transmission fluid. To change your transmission fluid yourself, you must learn the required quantity that is allowed on your car. You will also need to know how to choose the best transmission fluid for your car.

The process of changing your transmission fluid depends greatly on if you will need to remove the transmission pan or replace filters. It is easy if you don’t have to do any of those.

To change your transmission fluid yourself, jack up the car, and lose the wheels to grant you easier access under your car. Locate the drain plug, connect your ratchet with your hex and loosen the plug. When you drain the fluid from the pan, you must understand that not all your transmission fluid comes out.

There will be a good amount of transmission fluid in the torque converter and most of your lines. You don’t need to worry about those. The remaining fluid won’t do any harm to your car. You’ll need a dipstick to accurately measure the amount of transmission fluid for your car.

Is It Better To Flush or Change Transmission Fluid?

One of the most common questions people ask on the internet is, “Will a transmission flush hurt my car?” There is an unending argument about the benefits of flushing your transmission fluid.

It completely drains out the dirty fluid from your transmission system. However, the truth is, it is better to change your transmission fluid than to expose your car to great danger by deciding to flush it.

Although some car users recommend a total transmission flush in some cases, we don’t recommend that for the safety of your car.

Transmission fluid flushing is usually done with a machine, and these machines can hurt your seals, which can lead to leaks or loss of hydraulic pressure. We advise that you stick to changing your transmission fluid. Flushing it will do more harm than good.

What Happens If You Never Change Transmission Fluid?

Your transmission will start slipping if you never change your transmission fluid. This can also compound into a lack of lubrication or poor fluid circulation.

Like your engine oil, old transmission fluids break down when they are used over time. This causes them to lose their lubricating and cleaning properties.

In this event, not changing your transmission fluid will cause sludge build-ups in your transmission system, excess friction due to low lubrication, and an increase in temperature. This might cause much damage to your internal clutches, thereby affecting gear shifts.

Is It Ok To Change the Transmission Fluid without Changing the Filter?

Yes. You can change your transmission fluid without changing the filter. Some newer car models come with transmissions that have irreplaceable/permanent filters. You can’t change the filter even if you want to.

However, if there are provisions for you to change your filter after changing your transmission fluid, why shouldn’t you do so? It doesn’t make sense to take all the stress of removing the transmission pan and draining the fluid, and you can’t change the filter.

Leaving an old filter with a new one exposes the transmission to great chances of getting contaminated with debris and particles trapped by the filter, which will recirculate into the fluid.

Are All Transmission Fluids the Same?

No. All transmission fluids are not the same. Transmission fluids are designed for compatibility with different cars.

It would be best to choose the transmission fluid that works well with your car. You can check your car manual or manufacturer’s guide to decide the best transmission fluid for your car.

What Happens If You Overfill Transmission Fluid?

We understand that you would love to change your transmission fluid yourself, but you must understand that you should not make the mistake of overfilling the transmission fluid. Overfilling your transmission fluid will cause foams and also prevent proper lubrication.

There will be hitches in the fluid circulation, slowing the crankshaft's rotation. Overfilling your transmission can cause gear slippage, hard shifts, or overheating.


Changing your transmission fluid is an important car routine. Unfortunately, the cost of doing so might be discouraging.

We understand that you might try to cut costs by doing it yourself. You need professional guidance or knowledge to ensure you fill it up correctly to avoid complicating issues for your transmission system.