Top 5 Best Transmission Fluids

A transmission needs reliable, consistent lubrication in order to function as intended by the manufacturer, just like the majority of your car’s mechanical systems.

Transmission fluid is particularly crucial for automatic transmissions since it not only lubricates the moving parts of the transmission but also supplies the hydraulic pressure required for seamless gear changes.

However, not every transmission fluid is the same. Just for the typical step-type automatic transmission used in the majority of vehicles on the road, there are other variants.

Your vehicle needs a specific kind of fluid if it has a continuously variable gearbox (CVT), a style that is now typical in mainstream vehicles such as cars and SUVs.

If that isn’t enough to keep track of, you may also purchase additives for your transmission fluid that are intended to improve performance and better maintain the complicated mechanical parts of your transmission.

If you are having difficulties in picking a transmission fluid for your vehicle, we came up with a list that you can rely on. Below are the top 5 best transmission fluids available today.

#1 Valvoline Automatic Transmission Fluid

Brand: Valvoline

Given that Valvoline is among the best-known manufacturers of automotive lubricants in the world, you can rely on their automatic transmission fluid to keep your car running smoothly.

The one that we picked for this list is the Valvoline Dex/Merc formulation, which is compatible with many Ford, General Motors, and import vehicles that have automatic transmissions made to work with Dexron or Mercon lubricants.

You shouldn’t worry if this particular fluid is not recommended for your car because Valvoline offers transmission fluids for almost all modern vehicles, even those with manual transmissions.

Starting with a high-quality base lubricant, this friction-modified transmission fluid is strengthened with additives to withstand all conceivable driving circumstances.

According to Valvoline, its Dex/Merc ATF encourages smooth shift performance for consistent shift quality in your vehicle’s automatic transmission. It also has outstanding friction stability.

This transmission fluid also safeguards against high-temperature breakdown, so if you frequently tow a trailer with your car, you can rely on it to offer effective lubrication. This fluid is engineered to flow effectively at low temperatures as well, so even in the chilly winter weather, your transmission will function as it should.

#2 Lucas Transmission Fix

Brand: LUCAS

An automatic transmission will eventually wear out, just like any other mechanical part, and you’ll have to choose whether to have it restored or replaced or buy a newer car.

However, an additive like Lucas Transmission Fix can frequently be used to prolong the life of a transmission that is beginning to show its age.

Use this additive by simply mixing a little amount into the fluid in your automatic transmission rather than draining it and refilling it. It is advised to drain a tiny bit from your transmission if it is already full to the proper level in order to avoid overfilling it before applying Lucas’ solution.

In addition to refreshing an automatic transmission’s clutch bands to prevent slipping while the vehicle is in gear, Lucas claims its Transmission Fix additive will provide assistance to smooth out rough shifting.

Lucas Transmission Fix can also assist if your car’s transmission is leaking fluid by reviving the dried-out rubber seals. Transmission Fix can be used in manual transmissions, according to the manufacturer, to lessen shift effort. It can also help extend gearbox longevity.

#3 Triax Transyn

Brand: Triax

You won’t be shocked to learn that Triax’s Transyn synthetic lubricant is compatible with the DCTs utilized even in the Ferrari 488 GTB and the Bugatti Veyron as the dual-clutch transmission (DCT) is a relatively recent technology used largely in high-end sports cars. In addition to vehicles from Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche, Transyn is also intended to function in the more common Ford Focus economy car.

Triax Transyn is designed to specifically address the lubricating requirements of a DCT. That’s significant because a dual-clutch transmission operates very differently from a conventional automatic transmission.

The low-friction chemistry of Triax’s transmission fluid enables it to handle the rapid, seamless changes that dual-clutch transmissions are renowned for. Additionally, the gear sets in the transmission experience less wear and strain. Transyn maintains its fluidity at minus 60 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the company’s specifications.

Triax’s Transyn should prevent you from having to change your dual-clutch transmission fluid again for at least 300,000 miles, meaning it’s unlikely you’ll need to do so again for as long as you own the car.

#4 Castrol Transmax Automatic Transmission Fluid

Brand: Castrol

Here is another lubricant from a popular company that guarantees excellent transmission protection. Castrol’s Transmax line of fluids does not have a formulation for manual transmission cars.

This product was developed to satisfy the needs of automatic transmissions built to use Dexron and Mercon lubricants. That makes it appropriate for a wide range of vehicles, particularly Ford and GM cars for which those two lubricant kinds were developed.

Castrol Transmax fluid is also available for Chrysler vehicles, imports, and vehicles with continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) as opposed to conventional step-type transmissions. Castrol also produces a specific version of Transmax, including additives to assist with rough shifting and leaks common in older vehicles with high mileage.

Castrol claims that Transmax’s low-viscosity formula will improve your car’s fuel economy. While oxidation resistance helps prevent viscosity rises that can impair transmission performance and service life, enhanced friction durability provides smooth shifting performance in your transmission as well as high-temperature protection for both highway and city driving.

#5 Hot Shot’s Secret Shift Restore

Brand: Hot Shot’s Secret

Hot Shot’s Secret Shift Restore is the last item on our list of the top 5 best transmission fluids. Contrary to Lucas’s Transmission Fix, the purpose of this product is to preserve performance and reduce transmission wear and tear rather than to improve a worn-out transmission’s functionality.

Shift Restore, according to Hot Shot’s Secret, will also take care of some of your most frequent transmission performance issues, notably inconsistent shift quality. The main benefit of Hot Shot’s Secret Shift Restore is that it lessens the buildup of gum and varnish deposits, which can accumulate in your transmission over time and result in sluggish shifting.

Additionally, it has the potential to dissolve existing deposits, which are sometimes to blame for issues with driveability like noisy or rough operation, hesitation, and overheating.

The other trick of Shift Restore is its ability to cover the metal parts of your transmission, adding an extra layer of lubrication and defense from metal-on-metal wear. As a result, a predicted drop in operating temperature is produced, which aids in extending the lifespan of frictional components such as the clutch bands that enable the transmission to drive the vehicle.

Essential Information About Transmission Fluids

Our list above consists of high-rated and trusted products from brands that have a proven record in the industry. Whichever you choose, hopefully, you verify if it is compatible with your vehicle. Check all the boxes first before making a final decision.

Now that you have read about the top 5 best transmission fluids available today, it would be best to learn more additional information so you could have a more complete overview of these products. We aim to provide you with a more in-depth look at transmission fluids so you can make the most informed decisions before buying one. 

How frequently should your car’s transmission fluid be changed?

The requirements outlined in your vehicle’s maintenance schedule will determine this. Some automakers advise changing the transmission fluid at predetermined intervals, such as every 12,000 miles. Others will advise you to routinely check the transmission fluid’s condition.

It’s probably fine if you’re able to still see some of the pink tint that new transmission fluid often has. However, it has to be changed if it has turned a dark brown color and/or developed a burnt smell.

The way your transmission performs could give you hints about when to change the fluid. The lubricant in your automatic transmission is pressurized to create hydraulic pressure that is utilized to open valves that instruct the transmission when to shift and into what gear.

You can notice that your transmission no longer operates as it should if the fluid is in bad condition or the fluid level is low due to a leak.

Is synthetic transmission fluid recommended?

Honestly, it’s up to you.  You could go longer between fluid changes with synthetic transmission fluid than with traditional varieties without sacrificing quality lubrication because it is designed to last longer.

However, synthetic oil is more expensive, so we advise you to conduct the numbers to determine which kind of transmission fluid will save you money over the course of owning your car.

Are transmission fluid additives safe to use in your vehicle?

Yes, you should feel confident using them without worrying about damaging your car. However, using a fluid that has not been officially recommended by the manufacturer of your vehicle can void the warranty if the transmission malfunctions.

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