The vehicle transmission fluid is used to lubricate the parts of a vehicle’s transmission for optimum performance. In cars with automatic transmissions, this fluid equally acts as a coolant. There are many types of auto transmission fluids, and the type used in individual vehicles and trucks depends on the type of transmission inside. Automatic transmissions make use regular automatic transmission fluid, as the name suggests. Manual transmission fluid can differ, however, using either plain motor oil, a transmission oil known also as heavyweight hypoid gear oil, or automatic transmission fluid. The type of transmission fluid to use in cars with standard transmissions can often be found in the maintenance section of the car owner’s manual.
While the primary job of auto transmission fluid is to lubricate the various components of the transmission, it can equally serve other functions as well:
- Clean and protect metal surfaces from wear
- Condition gaskets
- Enhance cooling function and lower high operating temperatures
- Increase rotational speed and temperature range
Different types of transmission fluid
There are equally a myriad of different types of transmission fluid that go beyond merely dividing between automatic and manual transmissions. To get the best performance under high temperatures and extend the fluid’s life fully, use the transmission oil or fluid variety recommended by your car’s manufacturer, which is often found in the owner’s manual:
- HFM Fluids:Highly Friction Modified (HFM) fluids are that have great and very effective friction modifiers.
- Synthetic Fluids:These class of fluids often cost more than Dexron or Mercon, but they are made to better withstand drastic temperature changes and greatly lower friction, oxidation, and shearing.
- Type-F:This kind of automatic transmission fluid is used almost exclusively in vintage 70s model cars and does not contain friction modifiers.
- Hypoid Gear Oil:Used in some manual transmissions, this type of transmission oil is highly resistant to extreme pressures and temperatures.
- Motor Oil:Although motor oil is often used in a vehicle’s engine, it works in a pinch to lubricate manual transmissions since it has a similar composition and properties to that of gear oil.
Depending on the brand of vehicle you own and the length of ownership, you may never have to worry about the type of transmission fluid you are to use. That’s since it’s not necessary to replace it frequently. In fact, some automatic transmissions may never need the fluid to be changed, although most mechanics recommend replacing it every 60,000 to 100,000 miles. Manual transmissions need more frequent transmission oil replacement, usually every 20,000 to 60,000 miles. If you are in doubt of whether your car needs fresh transmission fluid or oil and what class to use, feel free to contact a certified mechanic.