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Automatic Transmission Fluid and Filter Change "Transmission Service"

Transmission Fluid and Filter Change - Why it's Crucial
Do-it-yourself versus Repair Shop Cost
Easy Step by Step DIY Procedures



Fluid and Filter Change - Why it's Crucial


Automatic transmission fluid (ATF) is the lifeblood of every automatic transmission.  ATF lubricates, cleans and cools the internal parts of the transmission.  Good clean transmission fluid keeps the seals soft and pliable.  Automatic transmission fluid also provides the hydraulic pressure needed for gear engagement and gear shifts.  It really is a kind of miracle fluid.  When transmission fluid gets old and dirty its effectiveness in performing these requirements is diminished.


So, what exactly happens when transmission fluid gets old and dirty?  Here's one common scenario. 



The possibilities of how the transmission can be damaged from old and dirty fluid are nearly endless.  Here is one common scenario:


The problems begin with poor lubrication.  Inadequate lubrication causes friction and accelerated wear on moving parts, which generates heat.  Excessive heat damages internal seals which causes the seals to leak.  Leaking seals causes hydraulic pressure loss which causes transmission slipping and delayed shifts.  Transmission slipping generates even more heat.  When the transmission overheats, the fluid becomes oxidized.  Once fluid oxidation occurs, serious internal damage occurs quite rapidly.


By keeping the transmission properly serviced (fluid and filter change) at regular service intervals you can avoid fluid breakdown and the problems and costs that normally result.

  According to "ATRA" Automatic Transmission Rebuilders Association, approximately 90% of all automatic transmission failures are caused by an adverse fluid condition, which includes low fluid, old and dirty fluid and burnt/oxidized fluid.  Keeping your fluid and filter changed at regular intervals will reduce your chances of becoming the next transmission casualty.

Transmission Fluid and Filter Change
Repair Shop Cost vs. Do-it-Yourself Cost

  A transmission fluid and filter change is not difficult service item.  Anyone with a floor jack (or car ramps) and a few tools can perform a transmission fluid and filter change.  See DIY Transmission Fluid and Filter Change Procedures.

Below are transmission fluid and filter change costs for a number of different vehicles.  Use this information as a guide to estimate your cost.  We show both the repair shop/dealership cost and do-it-yourself cost.

Transmission Fluid and Filter Change | Repair Shop vs. DIY Cost
Vehicle Year, Make , Model Shop Cost DIY Cost Savings
2004 Chevrolet Impala $175 - $275 $35 to $50 $125 to $240
2002 BMW 330i $400 to $675 $100 to $150 $250 to $575
2006 Ford Fusion $185 to $265 $50 to $70 $115 to $215
2003 Dodge Ram 1500 $240 to $310 $70 to $85 $155 to $240
1999 Mercedes Benz E300 $350 to $590 $75 to $100 $250 to $515
2001 Nissan Altima $149 to $310 $45 to $65 $84 to $265
2000 Toyota Camry $275 to $410 $65 to $95 $180 to $345
2005 Acura TL $150 to $275 $55 to $70 $80 to $220
2007 Hyundai Elantra $180 to $282 $75 to $90 $90 to $207
2008 Jaguar S-Type $285 to $478 $100 to $130 $155 to $378
2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee $210 to $310 $96 to $126 $84 to $214
2006 Mitsubishi Montero $229 to $378 $84 to $105 $124 to $294
2008 Land Rover Range Rover $555 to $840 $165 to $210 $345 to $675
2009 Volkswagen Passat $170 to $250 $65 to $90 $80 to $185
"Shop Cost" means both repair shop and dealership service center prices.  The figures do not include taxes and incidental shop fees.

NEXT: Transmission Fluid and Filter Change
Easy DIY Step by Step Procedures
My Automatic Transmission
ACDelco Professional Automatic Transmission Fluid Filter Kit
List Price $36.44
Price $23.93
Save $12.51 (34%)

Fits Buick, Chevy, GMC
See All Chevrolet Transmission Filter Kits
ATP B-245 Automatic Transmission Filter Kit
List Price $69.92
 Save $41.66 (60%)
Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep
See All Chrysler Transmission Filter Kits 
ATP B-156 Automatic Transmission Filter Kit
List Price $50.16
 Save $30.34 (60%)
Ford, Mazda, Mercury
See All Ford Transmission Filter Kits 
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