How To Change Your Manual Transmission Fluid

Posted by on November 11, 2008 - more

Most do not think of this as routine upkeep. The truth is its always good to change your transmission fluid for your manual transmission often. This allows you to check for early wear signs and other issues as well as keep the fluid fresh. I recommend a fluid change every twenty thousand miles. Its very easy and very cheap so its highly recommended.

Level of Difficulty
On a 1-10 this job gets a 1. This is very easy and doesn’t take long to do.

Maintenance Schedule
Ford recommended a change the stock fill fluid at 100,000 miles but I would strongly suggest every 20,000 for a normal daily driven vehicle. If you race your car perhaps more often so you can catch issues before they leave you stranded.

Items Needed

  • Transmission Fluid
    • Check your manual for factory recommendations, This is what I would use. Some like different types. I highly recommend you do your homework here as transmissions vary car type to car type, not just model to model. In my case its Mercon/Dextron III from Ford.
    • The T-5 / T-45 / T-56 Transmissions all use about 3 quarts of fluid. Check the manual for exact specifications. You may wish to buy one extra quart for flushing the transmission and the pump you will use to fill the fluid into the transmission.
  • A fluid pump for refilling the transmission fluid, or you can remove the shifter to add fluid. These are cheap, 10 bucks or so, from your local auto parts store.
  • A container to hold the old fluid
  • A jack and jack stands to raise the car or ramps
  • A socket to remove the bolt to gain access to the oil. Some use just the ratchet, no socket. See images below to see what I mean.

Transmission Side Shots – May vary but this is a general idea

Pump to Put Fluid back in the transmission

Step 1 – Jack up the vehicle / Drive up on some ramps
This is a must to gain access to the transmission. If you can get the car level its best, but not a requirement. I would let the car cool off as well before starting the fluid change. Make sure if you use a jack that you use jack stands and you place them correctly.

Step 2 – Place Item to catch fluid under transmission
The plus is not that long so be ready when you remove it to catch the fluid.

Step 3 – Remove The plugs from the transmission.
Use a ratchet to remove the fill plug and then the drain plug and let the transmission fluid drain. It may be hot if you did not let your car cool down so be careful not to burn yourself.

Transmission Fill Plug and Drain Plug Location

Step 4 – Let it Drain fully
Relax for a few and let all that can drain out, you can pump some extra in to do a final flush if you wish.

Step 5 – Fill the Transmission with Fluid
Put the drain plug back in and snug it down, no need to over tighten. Then take the pump and clean it good. If its new perhaps rinse it out with some extra transmission fluid you have. Either way make sure its clean and wont have anything bad that could get into the transmission inside of it. Take the pump and use that to fill the fluid back into the transmission. Keep track of how much you are putting in and you should see fluid run out of the fill plug once you reach the manufacturer’s recommended fluid levels. Once its full and running out put the fill plug back in. If you don’t have a pump you just poor fluid into the top of the transmission after removing the shifter. You will see the fluid run out of the fill plug once it gets full just like with the pump.

Step 6 – Drive the car off the ramps
Thats about it, just take it for an easy drive and when you get back check for leaks. Might even be a good idea to let it sit for a bit and check for leaks before you drive it. That’s about all there is two it.

Step 7 – First time driving after change
Listen for any odd noises and take it easy on it for a little bit. After a small drive check the bolt to make sure its still tight if you wish (let the engine warm/cool).


  1. Anonymous says:

    With an automatic transmission, there is the fluid pan that collects particulate from transmission wear. The pan is detachable and cleanable. What about with a manual transmission? Can you just pump new fluid through and hope is pushes out the debris?

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  3. LynWebb says:

    My 2006 Mustang GT Trans makes a noise mostly when I’m going uphill.  I though it might be a syncro but it shifts good and it’s been making this weird noise since I bought the car in 2009 ( it had 26,000 miles on it, now has 47,000).

  4. zakarie harding says:

    I have a 91 gt is it still the same as the directions says.

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