We tend to hear quite a bit about transmission fluid. And rightfully so; transmission fluid is the lifeblood of your transmission. Your automatic transmission, that is. Manual transmissions are a bit different. Manual transmission fluid is most commonly called “transmission oil”, but different types of manual transmissions require different types of lubricants. Ultimately, the question is, if you drive a vehicle with a manual transmission, do you have to change the oil inside? If so, how often?
Most motorists understand that there are two types of transmissions in an internal combustion engine vehicle. Well, there are actually more if you count the less common types, such as continuously variable transmissions (CVT), but we won’t get into that here. Let’s just stick with the two basic types of transmissions: manual and automatic. What are the key differences between the two?
Manual transmissions require the driver to put in a little more work when driving. A manual transmission allows the driver to physically shift the vehicle into different gears using a clutch pedal and gear shift. In order to move the automobile forward and to increase speed, the driver must manually shift gears. An automatic transmission, however, does the grunt work for the driver, changing gears fluidly as the driver pushes on the accelerator.
Manual transmissions are more labour intensive in terms of actually driving. It’s largely for that reason that automatic transmissions are more common in Canada. But there are benefits to manual transmissions. For one, vehicles with a manual transmission tend to be less expensive than their automatic counterparts. Second, they usually get better fuel economy, too. Lastly, some drivers prefer manual transmissions because they enjoy having more control over their vehicle. However, if you’re not used to manual transmissions, they can be a bit confusing. For example, what do you do with the transmission oil?
Both automatic and manual transmissions require lubrication, but manual transmissions typically don’t use transmission fluid. Manual transmissions can use regular motor oil or heavyweight hypoid gear oil. As ever, you should always check the auto manufacturer’s booklet that came with your vehicle to see which type of transmission oil they recommend for your manual transmission. And to see how often they recommend changing your transmission oil.
So, do you need to change transmission oil? The answer is, yes, you do. Just like automatic transmission fluid, manual transmission oil must be changed periodically to ensure that your transmission runs smoothly. Most manufacturers recommend that manual transmission oil be changed on a slightly more frequent schedule than automatic transmission fluid. Manual transmission oil should be changed, roughly, every 50 000-95 000 kilometers. That’s a big range, so it depends on the age of your transmission and how you use your vehicle, eg: city vs. country driving; is yours a work vehicle that you use for tasks such as towing, etc.
If you would like some insight into how often you should change your transmission oil for your specific vehicle, or if you know you’re due for a transmission oil change now, please contact Mister Transmission. We can let you know if you need a transmission oil change and can do it for you.