1. Year
2. Make
3. Model
4. Trim
5. Fuel Type

Great news! FIXD is compatible with your vehicle.


Unfortunately, FIXD is not guaranteed to be compatible with your vehicle.


FIXD logo

Automatic Transmission Service: Everything You Need To Know

automatic transmission

Save $1000s on car repairs

Save $1000s on car repairs with FIXD

Translate 7,000+ check engine codes into plain English
Fix your car yourself with help from our certified mechanics
Live OBD2 data
Automated maintenance alerts

Failing to Properly Service An Automatic Transmission Can Be A Costly Mistake.

The automatic transmission is easily one of the most complex mechanical components on a vehicle, and transmission repair is also very expensive. For that reason, you’ll want to be sure to perform an automatic transmission service as recommended by the manufacturer in order to keep your car running properly. You can also read our detailed guide on how to detect signs of a failing automatic transmission here.

That being said, servicing transmissions might be one of the most overlooked preventative maintenance items due to the cost as well as the ambiguity of what actually defines “automatic transmission service,” but here’s everything you need to know about this very crucial service whether you’re looking to do it yourself or take it to a repair shop.

What Is Automatic Transmission Service?

automatic transmission diagram

Just like an engine, the automatic transmission is filled with a fluid that must be changed at specific intervals, and the filter is kept clean with a filter. An automatic transmission service is when the transmission fluid is drained and the filter is replaced, which requires the removal of the transmission pan. 

A separate service called a transmission flush hooks a machine to the transmission lines and flushes out the entire system for a full transmission fluid change. A typical transmission service does not include a flush, but most transmission flush services are performed alongside a standard fluid/filter service.

When Should You Perform This Service?

transmission pan being removed

Servicing the automatic transmission should be part of routine scheduled maintenance, which varies depending on your specific vehicle. The average mileage suggested for this service is around 50,000 to 60,000 miles with some manufacturers recommending such service at 100,000-mile intervals. 

The easiest way to tell whether you need to perform a transmission service on your vehicle is to remove the dipstick and check the condition of the transmission fluid. This fluid should be bright red, but if it is dark red or brownish, you should get the fluid changed. Physical symptoms could include a slipping transmission where the vehicle shutters in between gear shifts.

Get the FIXD Sensor and free app today for a custom maintenance schedule based on your make, model, and mileage. Never miss important maintenance again with automated maintenance alerts!

Is This An Easy DIY Repair?

automatic transmission filter

If you’re just wanting to drain the transmission pan and replace the filter, this service is similar to an oil change, although the average cost is quite a bit more expensive. You can read our detailed pricing estimates here to find out how much a transmission fluid change will cost. A DIY transmission service can be a little trickier than an oil change, though, as it requires more access under the vehicle and is usually a messier job. But if you prefer to do it yourself, we do have a detailed guide to help you change your transmission fluid at home. Flushing the whole system, on the other hand, is best left to the professionals as it’s easiest with the use of specialized machines. If this isn’t a DIY job for you, be sure to take your vehicle to a shop that specializes in automatic transmissions instead of a general repair shop or tire store.

Not All Automatic Transmissions Are The Same

automatic transmission gear selector

Almost everyone knows (or should know) the difference between automatic transmissions and manual transmissions. But did you know that modern vehicles have several different types of transmissions that act as automatic transmissions? While a large number of vehicles still use hydraulic or electric transmissions, a growing number use Continuously Variable Transmissions (CVT) or Dual-Clutch Transmissions (DCT). These advanced transmissions help to maximize fuel efficiency or performance. Know what type of transmission your vehicle has before attempting any DIY service or transmission repair. Read about the different types of car transmissions here


Don’t burn up your transmission by forgetting to have this service performed on your car regularly. Whether you do it yourself or take it to a professional shop, this scheduled maintenance item should be a top priority to keep your vehicle on the road. We’ve also compiled a detailed car maintenance guide here for new drivers and DIY beginners.

Jeffrey N. Ross

Lifelong automotive enthusiast with a soft spot for offroading. Wrencher turned writer, but I still love to tinker on just about anything with an engine. Dream car: tie between a ‘71 Hemi ‘Cuda and a ’91 GMC Syclone. #GirlDad #SaveTheManuals

We’re here to help you simplify car care and save, so this post may contain affiliate links to help you do just that. If you click on a link and take action, we may earn a commission. However, the analysis and opinions expressed are our own.

Want to save money with DIY repairs? We've got you covered.

Get expert-level DIY help from our certified mechanics
Read and clear your check engine yourself
Measure fuel trims, oxygen sensor voltage, and more to make DIY repairs easier
Never miss an oil change with maintenance alerts


About the Author

Jeffrey N. Ross

Jeffrey N. Ross

Lifelong automotive enthusiast with a soft spot for offroading. Wrencher turned writer, but I still love to tinker on just about anything with an engine. Dream car: tie between a ‘71 Hemi ‘Cuda and a '91 GMC Syclone. #GirlDad #SaveTheManuals

You might also like

Explore Car Resources

car insurance icons

Car Insurance

Find the best insurance deals for your car

Car Buying

Everything you need to know about buying a vehicle

FIXD Team logo

Car Care

Car repair costs, how-to guides, and more

car buying icons

Vehicle Search

Search any make/model for reviews, parts and more