Manual Transmission Fluid Change Guide

We are a team of ASE certified mechanics that have created this guide to help you save money while doing the job yourself, or at least see what you are paying for when having the job done at a shop. A manual transmission is easy to service which most people can do in the driveway or garage. You will need to raise the car and use jack stands, also gloves and eye protection is needed.

What Goes Wrong?

A manual transmission contains gears which mesh together during its operation, which produces tiny metal shavings that end up in the transmission oil. This oil must be changed out between 50,000 and 70,000 miles to prolong the life of the transmission.

What Does It Cost?

Having a transmission service done at a shop will cost between .8 and 1.5 hours of labor and depending on the type of fluid used, synthetic or conventional, will run between $25.00 and $90.00 US. If exact times, fluids or procedures are needed you can ask our experts to supply you with the information (free), or consult an online resource such as AllData DIY (pay) but this guide and video will be sufficient in most cases.

Let's Jump In!

First, we must locate the fill and drain plug which are on the side and near the bottom of the transmission. Most of the time you can locate them by doing a simple inspection, but sometimes car manufacturers can get creative so if you have trouble finding the plugs please ask our experts to help, it's free.
transmission fill plug port
transmission drain plug

It is a good idea to break loose both the fill plug and drain plug before you begin to make sure you can refill the transmission without an issue. In this example we use a 8mm Allen wrench, have a fluid catch basin ready.
remove transmission drain plug

Remove the drain plug completely, transmission fluid will start to flow into the catch basin, allowing it to do so until all the fluid has drained out. Also, it helps to remove the fill plug to improve drainage, inspect the fluid for large metal flakes which can be an indication of the transmission having a problem.
transmission fluid draining

Use a shop towel to clean the drain plug and the mating surface where the drain plug meets the transmission to help ensure a proper seal.
wipe clean drain plug hole

Some drain plugs will have a magnet which also needs to be cleaned. Insert the drain plug and tighten to spec, in this case it is 19 foot pounds of torque.
tighten transmission drain plug

Watch the Video!

Please watch this video of the manual transmission service being done, then continue down the guide to glean additional helpful information.

Have the new transmission fluid ready, in this case it is three quarts of Ford Synthetic Fluid for manual transmissions, make sure you have the correct fluid for your car, it matters!
manual transmission fluid

You will need a transmission fluid pump to transfer the fluid from the container into the transmission, these are inexpensive and available on Amazon or the auto parts store.
transmission fluid pump

Remove the fill port plug, this is where the fluid will be added to refill the transmission with fluid.
remove fill port plug

Insert the plastic tube into the fill port, which is attached to the transmission fluid bottle, and begin pumping the fluid into the transmission.
add transmission fluid

Continue pumping fluid until it starts to overflow from the fill port, this means the transmission is full, remove the fill tube.
transmission fill spilling out

Wipe clean the mating surfaces on the transmission and fill plug and reinstall, tighten to factory spec, again 19 foot pounds of torque and you are all set. It's best to recheck the fill and drain plugs for leakage in a few days.
tighten transmission fill plug


Our certified technicians are ready to answer car repair questions for free. We hope you saved money and learned from this guide. We are creating a full set of car repair guides. Please subscribe to our 2CarPros YouTube channel and check back often for new videos which are uploaded regularly.

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