FAQs about Transmission Oils

In cars, transmission propels the wheels by making use of the engine’s combustion power by transferring it to drive the wheels of the vehicle. The system consists of the live axle, propeller shaft, clutch, differential and gearbox. Transmission fluids lubricate the car’s transmission system. The function of the transmission oils is vital for the optimal performance of your vehicle. They are used in manual or automatic transmissions and maintain the temperature by keeping it cool. lets learn about some FAQ about Transmission Oils in this blog.

Is engine oil the same as the transmission oil?

No, they aren’t the same. Engine or motor oil is used to lubricate the engine and its internal parts. They function to prevent wear and corrosion and smoothen the performance of the vehicle. On the other hand, transmission oils apply to the transmission system which as we discussed is an entirely different component of your bike or car. 

Engine oils are meant to be replaced in timely intervals as they tend to expire and degree with time. But transmission oils are meant to last for a long duration. Where engine oils do come in contact with the products of combustion but transmission oils are not contaminated by the same.

What is the difference between transmission fluid and transmission oil?

Essentially, there is no difference between transmission fluid and transmission oils.Terms such as oils, fluids and lubricants are used interchangeably and do not vary from each other much. 

When you use the word, ‘oil’ the spectrum becomes smaller whereas fluid consists of a larger circle. However, at times people do refer to the hydraulic oils when they mean transmission fluids. They also use transmission oils while referring to the lubrication of the system and its ability to dissipate heat.

What is the difference between engine oil and transmission oil?

Engine oils and transmission oils are two different lubricants, having different applications. In terms of functionality, engine oils provide efficient lubrication to the engine meanwhile the transmission oils ensure the smooth operation of the steering system. 

Transmission oils are also made of crude oil, the same as engine oils. While there are a few similarities when it comes to what these lubricants are made of, their primary functions are entirely different. The transmission oils smoothness of steering system.

Can I use transmission oil into the engine?

Engine oils and transmission are lubricants that serve two different purposes. Since they aren’t the same, they cannot be used interchangeably especially in modern vehicles. 

Only the recommended engine oil will aid in smooth and efficient performance in your engine. Since transmissions oils are designed to cater for an entirely different component of your vehicle, using them for your engine will be redundant and ineffective.

Combustion is closely linked with engines. So, using transmission oils that are developed for a closed and sealed environment is not the best option. Always use the engine oil recommended by your vehicle’s owner to avoid any harm or damage to the sensitive internal parts of the engine.

Why is automatic transmission fluid thin whereas manual transmission oil is very thick?

In an automatic transmission, the ATF also functions as a hydraulic fluid and the gear in this type of system is smaller. To promote good lubrication, a lubricate of low viscosity is preferred. 

On the other hand, manual transmission oils are thick because they demand high viscosity lubricants for durability and film protection. To put it simply, it is important to use the oils with the viscosity grade your vehicle manual suggests for a hassle-free driving experience. 

How many kilometers before changing the transmission oil?

According to the Automatic Transmission Rebuilders Association (ATRA), you should change your transmission oil every 50,000 km to 100,000 km. For manual transmission, this change happens every 50,000 km to 90,000 km but it depends on your use and driving conditions. 

Under stressed and strained situations, it is recommended to do the change around 25 km. It is roughly estimated to get the oil replaced around 50,000 km to 100,000 km for automatic transmission. 

Why is automatic transmission oil red

Why is automatic transmission oil red?

Brand new and like new transmission oil is translucent and red in colour. 

The purpose behind this specific colour of transmission oil is to help distinguish the contaminants from the fluid. It also helps the oil set itself apart from the other lubricants like motor oil and gear oils. 

However, if you observe that your transmission oil is a deep red/brown or has darkened in colour, it has probably aged and replaced it would be wise to replace it. Otherwise, overheating would cause the oil to burn and damage the transmission system

How to know when to change transmission fluid?

Vehicle manufacturers recommend changing the transmission fluid according to specific kilometres driven. This further depends on whether you have manual or automatic transmission. 

Once you have travelled that distance, you have to get an oil change. Another indication to know when to change the transmission fluid is the look at the colour. New or new-like oils are red or green in colour. 

However, after driving for many kilometres, contamination like dirt and dust can make the oil underperform and restrict it from dispersing heat. 

When your oil has become dirty, darkened in colour and gives inefficient transmission performance, it would be the right time to change the fluid. Other signs are lagged acceleration, weird sounds from your car such as grinding, hard shifts, and difficulty going into gear. 

What does changing the transmission oil do?

The transmission system is connected to the engine in terms of drawing its power to propel the vehicle’s wheels. Changing the oils during the recommended interval makes sure smooth operation of your vehicle. It also maintains the lifespan of the transmission. 

Should I change my transmission fluid if it never changed?

YES. We are aware that contaminated or dirty transmission fluids will not work effectively in lubricating your system. 

Using dirty oils for a long time will corrode and harm the transmission and the clutches. 

This oil should be changed in timely intervals to keep your engine, transmission and the overall vehicle running hassle-free and smooth. Keeping in mind the vehicle model and your driving conditions, the transmission oil will need to be replaced. 

Does changing transmission fluid improve performance?

The answer is yes, Replacing contaminated transmissions oils with clean and new oils during the advised time intervals will count for better, smoother and efficient rides. The oil change is also said to improve fuel economy. However, sticking to the intervals is the best option because taking too long or keeping the interval very short can be harmful and redundant. 

Is it bad to change transmission fluid on high mileage?

It is a bad and risky idea to change the transmission fluid on high mileage if your transmission is operating fine and there aren’t any signs or discolouration/contamination of the oil. 

Because replacing the oil on high mileage can result in damaged transmission or failure. Unless there are many glaring and major signs indicating an oil change, your current oil will work fine, even on high mileage. 

Can the transmission be damaged by changing the transmission fluid?

The answer is no. Doing the recommended timely oil changes is a healthy and effective method to get the most out of your transmission system. When you do get the oil replaced, it does not farm or damage the system. 

In fact, the new oil will provide excellent lubrication to it and provoke a smoother performance. Oppositely, if you go on driving your vehicle without changing the transmission fluid, it will result in poor and ineffective performance of your transmission and the vehicle, as a whole. 

Can you use transmission oil in your power steering?

Power steering fluids and transmission oils are both hydraulic fluids. Many people do end up using the fluid in the power steering pump but it is not advised to do so. 

Always check the vehicle manufacturer recommendations before changing or buying any lubricants for your vehicle. As transmission oils contain a combination of additives such as friction modifiers, dispersants, detergents, etc. 

The detergents act as a filter to pick up any contaminants like grease which may harm the steering system components. 

Can water mix with auto transmission oil damage the gearbox?

If you voluntarily add water to your transmission, it is bound to hurt it to the point of total failure. 

Furthermore, during events of vehicle or engine cleaning, there are possibilities of water droplets or moisture going inside the transmission. If you don’t remove that water by draining it, it will do a lasting blow to your transmission system such as vapour, buildup, rust, etc.


We hope this article about Frequently Asked Questions on Transmission Oils helped you understand how transmission oils are distinguished from engine oils and how different their functionalities are. Both of them are important in their own way and cannot be used interchangeably. Although engine oils need to be changed frequently, transmission fluids usually last for a longer period. But similar to engine oils in composition, they also have specific time intervals because they are prone to contamination as well. In the end, keeping the components of your bike or car effectively lubricated and timely changed will give you the best and smoothest driving experience.  

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