As one of the most complex systems in your vehicle, the transmission demands high-quality fluid to stay in fighting shape. But with so many options on the shelf, which one will work best for your model? When it comes to this critical liquid, several grades exist with differing properties and specifications. Although the owner’s manual provides the most accurate information, there are general tips to help make the process easier.
Transmission Fluid Types
Several additives in transmission fluid deter wear, rust, corrosion and aid lubrication. Other properties help in the following ways:
- Oxidation and foaming prevention
- Cleaning and protection of metal surfaces
- Temperature and speed extension
- Viscosity protection
- Extension of fluid life
- Gasket protection
- Cooling improvement
The various types of transmission fluid include:
- HFM Fluid – Highly Friction Modified, or HFM fluids reduce heavy friction in high-performance vehicles.
- Dextron/Mercon – These types are the most common and are usually grouped together. They both have friction modifiers and other quality grades. Created and licensed by GM, Ford and Chrysler, these ATF transmission fluids complement modern technology in both domestic and imported transmissions.
- CVT Fluid – Continuously variable transmission fluid (CVT), which is formulated for specific transmissions, has grown in popularity due to its performance enhancing qualities.
- Synthetic – Popular for offering greater performance and service, synthetic transmission fluid–like synthetic motor oil–is highly recommended by mechanics because it works with a wide range of transmissions. Proven with extensive field testing and not licensed by any single manufacturer, it uses several additives and state-of-the-art technology.
- Type F – This transmission fluid hasn’t been used in decades and doesn’t include friction modifiers. So, unless you drive a very mature vehicle, this one isn’t your best option.
How to Choose
Like any question regarding the best fluid types, the answer usually depends on your driving habits and the make/model of the vehicle. The quality of transmission fluid can vary, but most modern brands are blended with synthetics for optimal performance, heat resistance, and friction reduction.
For the best results, talk to your trusted auto technician and have a thorough look at your lifestyle and expectations before making an educated decision. For any questions about choosing the right transmission fluid for your car, feel free to call the experts at Doc Motor Works at 815-577-3893 or stop into our Sherwood, Illinois shop today. We’d love to sit down and help you get the most out of your investment.