Replace Your Transmission Filter in 7 Easy Steps
A clogged automatic transmission filter can cause all sorts of car trouble. From a slipping clutch to a delay when backing up, the list goes on and on. This is why many experts recommend that you change the transmission filter every 25,000 to 30,000 miles. If it's time to replace the filter, follow the steps below for hassle-free installation:
Difficulty level: Moderate
- Ratchet and socket set
- Drain pan
- Weatherstrip cement
Step 1: Remove all the bolts from the transmission pan. The transmission fluid will now start to pour out, so make sure there's a drain pan underneath to catch it.
Step 2: : Pry off the old gasket from the transmission pan with a scraper. Keep in mind that whenever you change the filter, you also need to change the gasket. If the gasket is stuck, carefully poke it with a drill wire head until it comes off.
Step 3: Completely drain the transmission pan and get rid of metallic debris by using the magnet found at its bottom. Once the pan is cleaned, attach the new gasket and secure it in place by spreading some weatherstrip cement on the bolt holes. Seal the gasket with some grease.
Step 4: After unbolting the transmission pan, you will now see the clogged filter. Remove it by unscrewing the mounting bolts. Take note of the holes from which you removed each bolt for easier installation later on.
Step 5: Let the remaining transmission fluid drain out completely for about an hour. After draining the fluid, install the new filter by attaching each bolt into its respective hole.
Step 6: Bolt back the transmission pan with the new gasket by following the bolt holes. Be sure that the bolts are torqued within 15- to 20-in/lb. A bolt that's too tight can warp the gasket, while a loose one can cause the gasket to move out of place.
Step 7: Once all the parts are bolted in, refill the transmission fluid. You can now test the car and watch out for leaks.
This task is fairly easy since it can be finished within 60 to 90 minutes. To guarantee your safety during installation, make sure you use protective gear such as goggles and gloves.
Automatic Transmission Filter Buyer's Guide
- Your vehicle’s automatic transmission filter keeps contaminants out of your automatic transmission fluid.
- It is usually located above your vehicle’s transmission pan, and just below the pick up tube connected to the oil pan.
- Just like any other filter, your automatic transmission filter can get clogged due to debris, dirt, and metal shavings from other vehicle components.
- Symptoms of a clogged or faulty transmission filter include: rattling noise, leaks, burning smell or smoke, and difficulty changing gears.
- When looking for a replacement, make sure to consider the materials used for the filter, as well as its compatibility with your vehicle.
- Automatic transmission filters are usually priced between $50 to $250.
- To ensure that you are getting the right fit, enter your correct vehicle details into our built-in search function.
Your vehicle’s transmission plays a very important role in how your vehicle operates. Along with your vehicle’s engine, these sets of gears, shafts, and other components make it possible for your wheels to be in sync with your engine.
There are different components included in your vehicle’s transmission. In this particular article, we will discuss what an automatic transmission filter is, when you should have them replaced, and the things to consider when buying one for your vehicle.
What Is an Automatic Transmission Filter and What Does It Do?
As the name suggests, this type of filter is a component of your vehicle’s automatic transmission. Its main function is to keep contaminants out of your automatic transmission fluid. This fluid is very important because it serves as a lubricant and at the same time a form of hydraulic fluid that helps cool your transmission and facilitate gear shifts.
Unlike a manual transmission vehicle that uses a clutch, a vehicle with an automatic transmission uses a torque converter. This device refers to a hydraulic coupling that is responsible for transferring engine power to the transmission. In order for this process to run as smoothly as possible, it is important to ensure that your transmission fluid isn’t contaminated. This is where the role of an automatic transmission filter comes in.
Usually, the transmission filter is located above your vehicle’s transmission pan, and just right below the pickup tube, which is connected to your oil pump.
When Should I Replace My Automatic Transmission Filter?
Your transmission filter is no different from any other type of filter. Eventually, it will get clogged due to debris, dirt, and other contaminants. As your transmission gets old, metal shavings from the different components may get mixed with it. Once this happens, your transmission fluid will not be able to perform its function. To add to that, your transmission gears may even grind, making it very hard for you to shift gears.
There are two main reasons why you would need to change your filter: it is clogged or it is damaged. Thankfully, there are symptoms of clogged automatic transmission filters to help you decide when to bring your vehicle to your trusted mechanic for a filter replacement.
Here are the most common symptoms of a faulty automatic transmission filter:
Generally, any unexplained and disturbing noise in the engine or transmission isn’t a good sign. Once you hear any rattling sound, try to have your vehicle’s transmission checked. Filters that are clogged with too much debris may cause this noise.
You may also opt to check the fluid level. If it is thick and dark, chances are something is preventing the transmission fluid from flowing properly.
Although rattling noise can be a sign of a clogged filter, you also have to check other vehicle components, such as your brake pads and catalytic converter among others. These parts may also produce a rattling noise when faulty.
Leaks can be the result of a poorly-fitted filter. Aside from that, defective seals and gaskets may also cause a leak and cause serious damage to your transmission. A clogged filter may also cause transmission fluid to be forced through the vent tube, causing unwanted leaks. If you often notice leaks right where you just parked your vehicle, it is best to bring your vehicle to a trusted professional. If it is not your transmission filter that is causing it, chances are something else is leaking inside your engine. This would normally need immediate attention.
Burning Smell or Smoke
As mentioned above, your transmission fluid plays a role in cooling your transmission. Logic would tell that without a properly flowing transmission fluid, your transmission will start to overheat. In worse cases, you may see actual smoke from your transmission or engine. Once this happens, have your vehicle checked right away.
Difficulty Changing Gears
A clogged transmission may cause you to have problems changing gears. As a result, you may notice hesitation when trying to shift gears. If you also notice your vehicle surge for no reason when changing gears, it is time to bring your vehicle to an auto repair shop.
In some cases, fluid change may solve the issue. However, if your filter is clogged or damaged, it is best to have them replaced right away. You don’t need to worry about finding a filter replacement because there are many high-quality transmission filters for you to choose from. Just make sure to order your filter replacement from legitimate sources like CarParts.com.
What to Consider When Looking for an Automatic Transmission Filter
Here are two major things to consider when buying an automatic transmission filter:
The transmission filters sold in the market today can be made of different materials such as polyester, mesh, and paper-based variants. Consider the advantages and disadvantages of each type of material before choosing your filter. It is best to read up on different filter materials and decide which one best compliments your transmission components. Also, make sure that your transmission filters are made from high-quality materials. Buying a substandard filter will only cause damage to your transmission components.
Aside from ensuring that your automatic transmission filters are made of high-quality materials, you also have to make sure that the filter you are buying is compatible with your vehicle. For example, if you own a truck, it is best to opt for a heavy-duty filter. It is also important to consider the type of transmission assembly you have installed in your vehicle. Make sure to read your vehicle’s manual or consult your trusted mechanic before buying any vehicle component.
How Much Does an Automatic Transmission Filter Cost?
Automatic transmission filters are usually priced between $50 to $250. Some are priced higher, depending on the brand and materials used. It can be sold individually, in kits, or as part of a whole assembly. Make sure to check the product specification before buying one for your vehicle.
Finding the Right Fit
To ensure that you are getting the right fit, enter the correct details of your vehicle into our built-in search function. You may also filter your search according to the brand and price range you prefer. Click search and browse through our wide selection of high-quality filters.
There are self-help videos on how to clean automatic transmission filters, but it is best to replace a clogged filter instead of cleaning it. If you’re not well-versed with automotive repair, it is best to leave the job to a trusted professional.
What to Consider When Buying an Automatic Transmission Filter
Engine shavings, dust, and grime can all cause havoc once they contaminate your car's transmission fluid. Good thing your car's transmission assembly comes with a filter that prevents the fluid from turning into a contaminant-filled sludge.
However, as time goes by, the filter will eventually clog up, making it inefficient. Experts recommend that you change the transmission filter every 25,000 to 30,000 miles to ensure long-lasting performance. To help you find the right filter for your ride, consider the following factors:
Most of today's cars use either felt, screen, or paper for their transmission filters. Each material has advantages and disadvantages:
The most common type is the felt filter. Usually made of polyester, it functions as a depth filter that traps contaminants within various layers instead of just on the surface. The felt filter can efficiently sift out small and large particles and won't easily get clogged.
Another commonly used material type is wire mesh. This filter’s openings are relatively large and only trap bigger particles. Its fluid flow gradually decreases because debris and dirt clog its opening. Asian car manufacturers typically use this filter.
Some cars use paper-based materials for their filters. These are basically made from Dacron fabric or cellulose. Compared to a screen filter that uses a wire mesh, a paper filter is more effective because it can prevent smaller particles from going through. However, this filter type can easily clog, greatly reducing fluid flow.
The right kind of transmission also depends on whether you use your car for daily commutes, hauling heavy cargo, or racing. Keep in mind that when you push your vehicle to its limits, you're also pushing the entire transmission assembly to work harder. For trucks or racing cars, opt for a transmission filter that's specially designed for heavy-duty performance.
If your vehicle uses an automatic transmission that's built with a deep oil sump for more efficient cooling, you need a special type of filter that's designed to reach the transmission pan's bottom. You can check your car manual to confirm the type of transmission assembly you have.
Don't forget to check the brand since not all filters sold today are of the same quality. Go for more established labels since they usually offer reliable warranties for their products. Your ride's automatic transmission assembly relies on the filter for a smooth performance, so be sure to equip it with a high-quality filter.