How To Perform A DIY Transmission Fluid Flush At Home

So you want to learn how to perform a DIY transmission fluid flush? You don’t need a mechanic to perform this simple procedure at home. We’re going to take a look at the tools you need to do it yourself.

transmission fluid flush

Are you ready to level up your DIY car repair skills and tackle a little more of an ambitious project?

The DIY transmission fluid flush is a great way to give your transmission a refresher and upgrade your skills as an at-home gear head.

Let’s take a look at what it takes to get this job done. 

Before We Get Started

There are just a few things we need to go over before we get started with this repair job.

Check your vehicle’s owner manual to understand the specifics of your car or truck’s transmission. Whether it’s a manual or automatic transmission, they all have their own unique quirks. 

The next thing that we need to go over is safety. We’ll be lifting our vehicle up on either jack stands or ramps which means we’re going to need to be more safety-conscious than if we were just refilling the wiper fluid.

How do you tell if your transmission fluid is ready for a flush? 

DIY Transmission Fluid

How to Identify Old Transmission Fluid

One of the first things you need to do is be able to tell the difference between old transmission fluid in fresh transmission fluid.

This can be a little tricky depending on your brand of transmission fluid as well as the condition of your vehicle, but it all comes down to one thing. If your transmission fluid is looking a little darker than fresh fluid right out of the bottle, you’re probably ready for a DIY transmission flush. 

Getting Ready to Flush Your Transmission 

The first thing you’re going to want to do is to get all of your gear ready before you start working. Nothing causes a headache quite like scrambling around trying to find your socket wrenches right in the middle of a DIY repair job.

Speaking of tools, here’s what you’re going to need to get this job done:

  • 9 Quarts of Transmission Fluid 
  • Floor Jack
  • Jack Stands or Ramp
  • Screwdriver
  • Ratchet and Sockets
  • Wheel Chock
  • Drain Pan or Bucket—It Needs to Hold More Than 9 Quarts
  • Long Neck Funnel
  • Regular Funnel with Extension Hose
  • Rags or Paper Towels
  • Latex or Nitrile Gloves

Now, let’s get to work. 

1. Warm Your Vehicle Up

The first step is the easiest. Start your engine and let your vehicle reach operating temperature. Once that’s complete, place your wheel chock beneath one or both rear wheels. 

2. Raise Your Vehicle

Raise your vehicle with a floor jack and proceed to place jack stands underneath the vehicle. The full weight of the vehicle should rest on your jack stands.

Since we’ve raised the vehicle, we need to make sure that it’s stable. Firmly push on one corner of the vehicle to make sure that it does not budge in the jack stands hold. 

Alternatively, if you have ramps you can simply drive your vehicle onto the ramps. 

Transmission Fluid Flush

3. Disconnect Your Fluid Lines

Follow your vehicle’s specifications for disconnecting the transmission fluid line that goes from the transmission to the radiator. You want to disconnect the line carrying fluid into the radiator.

Place the disconnected end of this line in your drain pan or bucket. 

4. Get Under the Hood

Pop your hood and remove the transmission fluid dipstick. Insert your long neck funnel into the transmission fluid intake or use a short funnel with a rubber hose attachment. We’re using funnels with longer necks here because it’s easier to constantly add the transmission fluid with these types of funnels.

Remove the cap from your 9 quarts of transmission fluid and stage them nearby. We want to make sure that the funnel never runs dry and there isn’t a gap in transmission fluid flowing through the vehicle.

5. Begin the Fluid Flush

Start your engine and begin adding all 9 quarts of fluid as it drains out of the vehicle. Some cars need to be put in neutral in order to get the transmission pump moving. Once all 9 quarts have been added, shut off your engine. 

7. Reconnect Fluid Lines

Head back under the vehicle and reconnect the transmission fluid lines. Clear out your transmission drainage pan and any tools you have from underneath the vehicle and set those aside. Reinsert the transmission dipstick and close the hood of your vehicle. 

8. Check for Leaks

Fire up your engine while your vehicle is still on the jack stands or ramp. Let it run for a moment to check for any transmission fluid leaks.

Here’s a good pro-tip. Place some white paper towels underneath your vehicle as the red transmission fluid will show up very clearly if your vehicle is leaking even in small amounts. 

9. Lower Your Vehicle

Lower your vehicle to ground level and let your engine run. Go through each of your gears and allow your vehicle to run for a moment. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, you might need to take your vehicle to a mechanic for an inspection. 

DIY Transmission Fluid Flush At Home

10. Check Your Fluid Levels

Pop the hood of your vehicle again and check your transmission fluid dipstick to make sure that your fluid is within the appropriate range for fullness on your vehicle.

If you’re running a little low on transmission fluid, make sure to only add ⅓ of a quart at a time. Overfilling your transmission fluid is detrimental for your vehicle, and it can be quite the challenge to drain out the right amount to get it back at the appropriate level. 

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Walter Snyder

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