Transmissions deliver power from the engine to the wheels. They house gears, synchronizers, clutches and other components to change gears as driving circumstances change. For instance, when you start driving or pulling, a lower gear is used for more torque. As you get up to speed a higher gear slows engine rpm to boost fuel economy. While an automatic transmission shifts on its own, a manual transmission requires the driver to engage the clutch and select the appropriate gear.
Manual transmission fluid is a lubricant designed to protect gears and clutch packs inside a vehicle’s transmission. Without transmission fluid to reduce friction, the gears would rapidly wear out or overheat. Manual transmission fluid also protects the synchronizers which are usually made of brass, a soft metal. Certain lubricant additives are not compatible with brass and can damage components in the transmission.
Everyone realizes they need to change their motor oil from time to time, but transmission fluid is often overlooked. Ignoring it for too long, however, can lead to performance issues and even catastrophic failure. All transmission fluid oxidizes and forms particles and sludge over time. Change the fluid according to the maintenance guidelines in your owner’s manual. Towing or hauling will significantly shorten fluid-change intervals. Theoretically, “filled-for-life” transmissions never require a fluid change. But in truth, it’s best to change fluid at least once during the vehicle’s life and more if you tow or haul. It’s almost always possible, especially with the help of specialized tools and a service manual.
Manual transmissions require a specialized fluid designed to protect gears and clutch packs, fight heat and wear, and protect synchronizers to ensure they operate and last as designed. Consult your owner’s manual or use our product lookup to find the right transmission fluid for your vehicle.