Automatic transmission fluid change made easy
March 2016 – Replacing the oil in an automatic transmission is more difficult and poses more possibilities for mistakes than changing the motor oil. To make this work easier for workshops, the German motor oil and additive specialist LIQUI MOLY has developed a high-tech machine, that can do more than just flush and replenish fluid: the Gear Tronic. "Because without the right tools a lot can go wrong, irritating both customers and the workshop itself", emphasized LIQUI MOLY Applications Technician Markus Scherl.
The machine and the additives developed for it make it possible for professional mechanics to offer complete transmission oil service including cleaning, flushing and filling. This machine ensures that the lubricant is replaced completely, which was not possible previously: "One third of the quantity of fluid present in the transmission can be drained from the oil pan and the same quantity replenished, but that’s it", explained Markus Scherl. In this case two thirds of the old fluid and the impurities would remain in the system.
The Gear Tronic from LIQUI MOLY can replace the transmission fluid completely. And it offers versatile connection possibilities, because access is possible at three points: through the dipstick guide tube, through the hose connections on the transmission fluid cooler or directly on the transmission. In contrast to motor oil, transmission fluid cannot simply be drained and then replenished with new fluid. Here a dynamic process is required for replacement: It is necessary for the quantity present in the transmission to remain the same during the entire process. Otherwise the vehicle's electronic system reports an error. This is why you need the Gear Tronic to replace the fluid. The process is monitored by two digital scales, to ensure that the quantity of new fluid added to the transmission is exactly equal to the quantity of old fluid taken out.
And just as there is not one single transmission fluid for all vehicles, not all cars have the same single connection in the fluid circuit. This varies depending on the make and model. This is why workshops need a variety of adapters. LIQUI MOLY offers universal adapters as well as adapters for specific vehicles.
"LIQUI MOLY would not be LIQUI MOLY, if the only thing our machine could do is replace transmission fluid“, continued Markus Scherl. Instead, the Gear Tronic offers a complete range of service features allowing the transmission to be cleaned as well as refilled. The first step is to remove all carbon deposits, water and sludge from the transmission with the new Pro-Line Automatic Transmission Cleaner. Then the transmission oil pan can be removed and cleaned together with the shift valve housing using the new Pro-Line Transmission Case Cleaner. Then the filter can be changed followed by the difficult part: Replacing the transmission fluid.
Simply enter the fluid quantity on the Gear Tronic control panel and the machine then takes care of the rest. Without interruption the transmission fluid pump transfers old fluid into the tank, replenishing it with precisely the same quantity of fresh lubricant. Finally ATF additive is added from a separate tank. This improves shifting and helps maintain the gaskets. "The additive helps the transmission run smoothly and protects it against wear", said Markus Scherl.
Is it really necessary to replace transmission fluid at all; aren't lifetime fillings available? "It certainly is necessary" emphasized Scherl. "After 80,000 to 120,000 kilometers or every four to six years, the lubricant should be changed.“ Transmission manufacturers such as ZF also recommend changing fluid, as do more and more vehicle manufacturers. Because the service life of the fluid varies with the way the vehicle is driven. The number of gears also has an influence: They increase while the size of the transmission remains the same. This leaves less space for the fluid, the quantity decreases, the performance requirements, for example the thermal load, increase even though many transmissions are coupled with the engine's cooling system. This opens up new problem areas: In the event of damage to the cooler, water and ethylene glycol can contaminate the oil circuit. Abrasion and dirt affect the mechanical system. This can lead to delayed shifts or even complete failure of a gear stage. That is why the transmission fluid should be replaced professionally within due time.
About LIQUI MOLY
LIQUI MOLY GmbH from Ulm in South Germany offers a wide range of high-quality products such as motor oils, additives, vehicle care products and service products. The range includes some 4000 items. LIQUI MOLY develops and tests their products in their own laboratories, manufactures exclusively in Germany and markets all of their products themselves. LIQUI MOLY was founded some 50 years ago and is now one of the leading companies in the industry. The products are sold in Germany and in 120 other countries.