Most drivers today are only worried about getting the oil changed in their vehicles when it comes to maintenance. This is important since the oil lubricated the engine. What most drivers do not think of on their own is changing the transmission fluid in their car or truck. Transmission fluid acts as a lubricant in very much the same was that engine oil does, only it lubricates the gears, torque converter, and the rest of the transmissions moving parts.
Changing your own transmission fluid can be done on your own in very much the same way as changing your oil, although can be a little more challenging. All you need are a jack and lifts, a socket set, and container for the old fluid.
The first step is to check your transmission fluid level in the car. You will need to start the engine and warm it up so you can get an accurate reading. Check your transmission fluid dipstick to check the level and color of the fluid. If the fluid looks clean then you are ready to go! Jack the car up, making sure to block the rear tires, and get the car up on stands (location of the stands will vary from car to car, so check your owners manual). Once the car is secure, then it is time to locate the transmission pan. Sometimes they are in a convenient location and will come with a drain plug. If this is the case, then proceed the same way as you would change your oil.
In some cars, the transmission pan will be blocked by either the exhaust system or the oil pan. If so, then you will need to remove some of those components to continue. Another common issue is the lack of drain plug for the transmission pan. If this is the case, then the transmission pan will need to be totally removed to fully drain out the old fluid. Just make sure you know where all the parts that you removed to get to the transmission pan go, or you could be in for a headache. I always suggest labeling the parts in individual containers to help with this.
After the hard work is done, all that is left to do is to check the fluid level and take the car for a test drive. Remember, the temperature of your transmission fluid fluctuates a lot during everyday driving. Stop and go traffic, hauling heavy loads, and long distance driving can easily keep the fluid from the optimum operating temperature. So remember, make sure to check your transmission fluid every 20,000 miles or so to make sure that you are getting the most from your car or truck!