When it comes to vehicles, they consist of various essential components necessary to operate correctly. One such component is the transmission system, which consists of gears responsible for providing power from the engine to the wheels. Additionally, there are other components like clutches in manual transmission cars and torque converters in automatic transmission cars. It is in your best interest that these components are maintained and provided for to have a smooth driving experience. The transmission fluid is essential for its operation when it comes to the transmission system. But what does the transmission fluid do? What type of transmission fluid should you put in your car? We will discuss all this in the following article.
Let’s dive in.
What is transmission fluid, and what does it do?
Transmission fluid is used for various purposes in your car and is one of the essential fluids for your vehicle. For starters, it provides lubrication for the metal gears, parts, and bearings within the transmission system. These parts are constantly moving, creating friction that the transmission fluid helps minimize. Otherwise, the components in the gearbox would gradually wear down and even get hot enough to melt. This ensures that the transmission systems in, both manual and automatic ones, are kept cool and at their ideal operating temperature.
Additionally, transmission fluid provides other uses in automatic transmissions specifically. The transmission fluid is added to the torque converter, which creates the hydraulic pressure necessary for the transmission to work. In this way, there are different transmission fluid types for both automatic and manual vehicles. They differ in various qualities, which include their color and viscosity.
What kind of transmission fluid should you use?
The type of transmission fluid you should use will depend on your car. This includes factors like the transmission type, model, and fluid quality you want.
Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF)
ATF is a transmission fluid type designed for automatic transmission vehicles but is also used in modern manual ones. They provide various functions, including cooling the transmission system, lubricating the bearings and gears, and hydraulic pressure generation in the torque converter. Various ATF transmission fluids options are available for you. We will go through some of them.
Dexron and Mercon Transmission Fluids
Dexron and Mercon transmission fluids are among the most common types of transmission fluid available. They were designed specifically for use in cars made by the most popular North American vehicle manufacturers. These are GM, Ford and Chrysler. Typically, these transmission fluids are designed to be used in the latest transmission technologies. These transmission fluids are also suitable for use in imported vehicles. However, you should check your new car’s manual just in case to ensure that you can use these transmission fluids.
HFM fluids are similar to Dexron and Mercon transmission fluids but with varying friction properties. This makes them suitable for different other types of transmissions. It is ideal for various car imports, but we recommend checking your new car’s manual just to be sure. This is the perfect way to check the best transmission fluid for new cars.
Multi-Vehicle Synthetic Transmission Fluid
Multi-Vehicle Synthetic transmission fluid is one of the synthetic transmission fluid types that is becoming extensively popular in the market. They are designed to provide better protection and performance than traditional transmission fluids. Therefore, if your new car is a modern one, it will benefit from this transmission fluid.
Manual Transmission Fluid
Manual transmission fluids are mostly used in older vehicles that use manual transmission systems alongside clutches. These transmission fluids are more viscous, making them suitable for manual gearboxes. There are various types of manual transmission fluids that you can use.
Type F Transmission Fluid
Type F transmission fluids were designed for manual Ford vehicles back in the 1970s but are no longer suitable for modern manual cars. This is because they do not contain friction modifiers which many modern transmission fluids include. However, if the new vehicle you bought is a vintage one, Type F transmission fluid may be appropriate for its transmission system.
Continuously Variable Transmission Fluid (CVT)
CVT transmissions fluids are incredibly popular for modern car options as they provide various benefits. They significantly improve performance while improving your car’s fuel economy. However, they are only suitable for vehicles equipped with modern transmission technology. Each CVT fluid option is specialized for particular transmission systems, allowing optimum performance. CVT fluids fall under the category of synthetic transmission fluids.
What is the best type of transmission fluid between synthetic and natural options?Transmission fluids are available in both synthetic and natural options. Synthetic options are newer to the market and are more appropriate for modern vehicles. Natural transmission fluids are used in older manual transmission types as their designs are much simpler. Synthetic transmission fluids are ideal for newer cars as they provide a range of benefits. This includes higher resistance to extreme temperatures, oxidations and friction. They also last longer, so various manufacturers recommend using synthetic transmission fluids. Therefore, synthetic transmission fluid types are likely better for your new vehicle. However, we still recommend consulting a transmission specialist about which fluid you should use for your new car.
Factors to consider when choosing transmission fluid
Car AgeIn the past, vehicles used to use natural transmission fluids. This means that their transmission systems are designed for these fluids. Therefore, if you use synthetic transmission fluids, you might be risking damage to it. We recommend you opt for a natural option if your new vehicle is a vintage one.
CapacityYou will need to purchase transmission fluid according to your vehicle’s capacity. If you are doing a transmission fluid flush, you will likely require 6 quarts or more, but this can vary according to your car. Therefore, you should consider costs and think about buying fluid at a discount or in the form of multipacks.
Presence of AdditivesSome transmission fluids can contain additives that help increase their overall quality. However, others can damage the transmission system and affect the fluid’s quality, leading to long-term damage. Therefore, research any additives added to the transmission fluid before purchasing one.
BrandThe brand making the transmission fluid can be a factor in its quality. Generally speaking, you want to stick with brands that you trust to know you are getting a quality product. This means you want to go with more prominent brands or smaller ones that you know are reliable. It is better to avoid unknown, and knock-off brands as this may mean the transmission fluid lacks quality. This can cause damage to your transmission system in the long term, which can lead to more considerable costs. Some trustable brands include Castrol, Valvoline and Pennzoil.
There are various components in your car necessary for its proper operation. One such component is the transmission system connected to the clutch in manual vehicles and the torque converter in automatic ones. The transmission fluid is necessary for the transmission system to operate correctly as it protects from temperature extremes and friction while providing hydraulic pressure. Various kinds of transmission fluid are available that vary depending on the vehicle’s transmission, make, and model. Additionally, there are natural and synthetic transmission fluid types available. We recommend talking to a transmission expert or referring to your manual so that you know which transmission fluid you should use.
We hope this article proves insightful and allows you to choose a transmission fluid suitable for your new vehicle. Thank you for reading!