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Transmission Fluid Change Cost Guide (DIY vs. Mechanic Pricing)

How much does a transmission fluid and filter change cost?
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The Average Transmission Fluid Change Cost Is $230 and $475 Depending on Your Car, Your Transmission, and if You Go to the Mechanic or DIY.

This price range is based on national averages for all vehicles and does not factor in taxes, fees, or your particular make and model. Related repairs or maintenance may also be needed. For a more accurate estimate based on your make, model, and location, use the RepairPal Fair Price Estimator.

Get a more accurate estimate for your transmission fluid change using RepairPal’s Fair Price Estimator:

Cost at the Mechanic: $412 to $475

  • Parts: $230 to $290
  • Labor: $182 to $185

A transmission fluid change is a routine maintenance service performed anywhere from 30,000 to 100,000 miles, or longer, depending on what type of transmission and vehicle you have. 

Cost to DIY: $230 to $290

  • DIY Difficulty Level: Intermediate
  • Parts Needed:

ManualTransmission Fluid          Automatic Transmission Fluid

 

You can reduce the cost of your transmission fluid change by doing this job yourself. If you have a manual transmission, swapping out the old fluid at home is pretty easy. To help beginners with DIY repairs, we’ve put together a detailed guide on how to change manual transmission fluid without having to go to a professional.

However, traditional automatics can be more complicated, so it’s usually better to have a shop do it for you. If you plan on replacing your transmission fluid yourself, any parts store should be able to tell you how much fluid and what kind of fluid your specific vehicle requires.

What Is a Transmission Fluid Change?

Automatic transmission

Your transmission delivers power from your engine to your wheels through a series of gears. It contains a fluid that acts as a lubricant and in some cases the drive system itself. This fluid gets old and dirty over time and requires regular replacement. 

Some transmissions have filters for their fluid, which should get replaced as well during your manufacturer’s recommended automatic transmission service. Learn everything you need to know about automatic transmission services by reading our guide on it here

To learn more about changing your transmission fluid, check out our step-by-step guide on it here. If that isn’t what you’re looking for, we also have a guide on how to change manual transmission fluid yourself in a quick and easy way.

What Happens If You Don’t Change Your Transmission Fluid?

Small particles from normal wear and tear get trapped in your transmission fluid. These cause extra wear on components if the fluid doesn’t get changed. Eventually, old fluid can cause your transmission to start slipping, get stuck in gear, or refuse to go into gear. At this point, your entire transmission needs to be rebuilt or replaced, which is far more expensive and complex than the transmission fluid change cost. To avoid the extra costs, we suggest that you read our article on the various symptoms of an automatic transmission failure.

Depending on your vehicle and transmission type, it may be possible to change your transmission fluid on your own. Manual transmissions are particularly easy to do yourself. Traditional automatics require removing the drain pan and making a bit of a mess, so it’s usually better to have a shop do that.

Transmission Fluid Change vs. Flush

Many shops and quick-lube places offer a transmission fluid flush rather than a simple change. Like a brake fluid flush, this service replaces nearly all of the fluid in your transmission, while a simple fluid change only replaces about 70% of the fluid. Read our article to learn everything you need to know about changing your own brake fluid.

Transmissions are very different from brakes, though. While brakes are simple, transmissions are highly complex pieces of equipment. It’s possible to actually damage a transmission by flushing fluid through it with too much pressure. Even more critically, a transmission fluid flush doesn’t replace the filter inside the transmission. You may have fresh fluid afterward, but a dirty filter can still cause problems, as well as make the new fluid dirty very quickly.

So when it comes to transmissions, it’s actually better to simply change the fluid than do a flush. This is how the manufacturer intends the job to be done, including only replacing 70% of the fluid, and including replacing the filter while you’re in there. And you should always replace the filter if your transmission has one, even though it makes the service a bit more expensive.

How Often to Change Your Transmission Fluid?

This depends on a number of factors. Manual transmissions should have their fluid changed every 30,000 to 60,000 miles. Traditional automatic transmissions often have long service intervals, such as 100,000 miles or even never, but would benefit from having it changed more often than that. The CVT type of transmission becoming more common in modern cars requires more frequent intervals, while the dual-clutch type only requires an occasional gear oil change.

As always, check your owner’s manual or use the FIXD Maintenance Timeline to read the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule, and use that as a guideline for your own particular car. You may wish to change it more frequently to avoid transmission damage. It’s much less expensive to change your fluid “too often” than to repair or replace your transmission. If you begin to have problems with your transmission, change your fluid immediately to avoid further damage.

Common Symptoms You Need to Change Your Transmission Fluid

  • Your engine revs up between gear changes
  • Gears do not change smoothly
  • Your transmission gets locked in one gear
  • Your transmission refuses to go into a gear, sometimes reverse

Track Car Maintenance on Autopilot with FIXD

Want to stay on top of routine maintenance so you can save money and keep your car running smoothly longer? Get the FIXD Sensor and free app today for a custom maintenance schedule based on your make, model, and mileage. FIXD tracks important maintenance (like fluid changes) and wear items for you and sends automated alerts so you can maintain your car stress-free.

    • Get a More Accurate Estimate for Your Car

See My Cost

 

Justin-Hughes

Recovering autocross and track day enthusiast. Once turned a VW Jetta into a pickup truck. Lives in a van down by the river. Dream car: 2001 Subaru WRC rally car.

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.

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About the Author

Justin Hughes

Justin Hughes

Recovering autocross and track day enthusiast. Once turned a VW Jetta into a pickup truck. Lives in a van down by the river. Dream car: 2001 Subaru WRC rally car.

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