How to Find What Type of Transmission Fluid Do I Need?

It’s not always easy to know what type of transmission fluid do I need for my car engine. Do you know what the best transmission fluid is for your vehicle? If the answer is yes, you need to know that it depends on the transmission fluid type.

There are several types of transmission out there on the market, each made for a particular kind of transmission. The most common transmission fluid types are Multi-Vehicle Synthetic and Dexron/Mercon.

Transmissions are widely acknowledged as being among the vehicle’s most complex components. If the incorrect sort of transmission fluid is used in the car, you may have the risk of causing serious harm over time.

Consequently, utilizing the appropriate kind of transmission fluid is something this piece will assist you in learning more about. Also, here we will discuss transmission fluid compatibility with different engine brands. So, let’s dive in.

Still, Asking- What Type of Transmission Fluid Do I Need to Use Then?

At first, what we will recommend you is to check the owner’s manual that came with your vehicle to determine the exact transmission fluid type that your vehicle requires. It will indicate the transmission fluid used exactly for your vehicle.

If you have low transmission fluid in your car and are just looking to fill it up, this will assist you in purchasing the correct type of transmission fluid.

Still, you can check the guide below if you are not convinced. Check out this chart once-

Transmission Fluid NameCompatible Vehicle Brands Name
Dexron ATFChevy, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Oldsmobile, Saturn, and Pontiac
MerconFord, Lincoln, Mazda, and Mercury
HFM transmission fluidsHonda, Toyota, Saturn, Jeep, Hyundai, and Sterling
Moper ATF +4Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram, Fiat
Mitsubishi ATF SP-IIIMitsubishi, Hyundai, and Kia
Type FFord (before the 1970s models)
Toyota Type-IV (T4) synthetic ATFToyota (Some older) and Lexus
DW-1 ATFHonda( Accord & Civic from 2003-new)  and Acura
Subaru ATF and ATF-HP fluidSubaru and Nissan


Dexron and Mercon, the two automatic transmission fluid specifications most frequently used today, have almost similar standards, which is why they are commonly grouped. These two products are designed and entirely licensed by the two most significant North American automobile manufacturers, GM and Ford.

These automatic transmission fluids are made to work with the latest transmission technologies available today. In addition, you can use both of these same fluids in several imported vehicles. Both Dexron and Mercon come with friction modifiers that decrease the friction in the engine’s lubricated parts. Just make sure to cross-match the model of your car transmission.

Continuously Variable Transmission Fluid

Nearly 20% of all new cars sold today have variable transmissions, a trend among vehicle manufacturers continuously looking for ways to increase fuel efficiency. It’s a more advanced transmission fluid designed to use in more advanced SUVs, cars, and trucks.

Compared to a standard stepped gear transmission, a continuously variable transmission has very different fluid requirements. Each specific continuously variable transmission fluid is made for a particular transmission.

However, oil marketers have shown that a single continuously variable transmission oil performs well with a variety of transmission systems. Synthetic base oils are commonly used in CVT fluids.

Multi-Vehicle Synthetic Transmission Fluid

Multi-vehicle synthetic transmission fluids are growing in popularity in the marketplace, and they closely meet the specifications of Dexron and Mercon. There is a wide variety of automatic transmission types, and oil companies produce fluids for each.

Despite not being licensed by any particular automobile manufacturer, they are made to provide superior protection and performance. Multi-vehicle transmission fluids have improved oxidation resistance, heat, cold, shearing, and friction resistance.

They are made with the newest additive technology. We have also found out that their performance is generally supported by field testing, which is extensive. While they generally cost more, many automobile manufacturers have recently adopted multi-vehicle synthetic transmission fluids as they are better. Most multi-vehicle synthetic transmission fluids use synthetic base oils.

Highly Friction Modified (HFM) Transmission Fluids

HFM transmission fluids provide different friction characteristics compared to Mercon or Dexron III. As the name suggests, they come with friction modifiers for cars that require lots of reduced friction.

Transmission fluids that are more commonly used tend to have a lower viscosity than HFM fluids. Due to the greater viscosity, heat is dissipated more effectively, improving performance.

The use of HFM transmission fluid comes with several advantages; however, it is essential to keep in mind that this type of fluid is unsuitable for all transmissions. The automobile manufacturers that use HFM transmission fluids are Honda, Toyota, Saturn, Jeep, Hyundai, and Sterling.

Type F

A short glance around your neighborhood automobile parts store will confirm that it is still in use. However, almost no one uses it anymore. Type F was formulated for Fords vehicles that used bronze clutches, and Cruisematic was the last transmission created with bronze clutches. Cruisematic was last used in cars in the early 1970s.

It is designed primarily to keep the gears in an automated transmission nice and smooth. Additionally, it aids in cooling down the gears and prevents them from burning while in operation. The longevity of type F transmission fluid is better than that of other fluid types since it is meant to be both durable and strong to wear.

This fluid type was broadly used in the past and didn’t include friction modifiers. So unless you are driving a car pushing 40, this is not the type of transmission fluid for you. Also, you will not find that many transmissions where you can use this type of transmission fluid around anymore, except for the vintage ones.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What type of transmission fluid for a 2003 Honda Accord?

Depending on the Honda model, you may need to use different kinds of transmission fluid. Honda Accords 2003 should use ATF.

What type of transmission fluid for a 2005 Nissan Altima?

Different transmission fluids are available in the market but depending on the Nissan model such as if we only talk about the 2005 Nissan Altima. You can use Subaru ATF and ATF-HP fluid.

What type of transmission fluid for a 2004 Jeep liberty?

There is a wide variety of transmission fluids on the market, and the one that is suitable for use in your Jeep automobile is going to be determined by the precise model that you drive. Conversely, automatic transmission fluids with the ATF+4 designation are commonly recommended for use in Jeep vehicles.

What type of transmission fluid for a 2010 Dodge Charger?

Depending on the model of your Dodge car, you may have to choose from among a wide variety of transmission fluids to use in it. But the 2010 Dodge Charger is designated to use ATF+4 transmission fluid.

What type of transmission fluid for a 2007 Dodge Nitro?

There is a large selection of transmission fluids available, and which one you use in your Dodge vehicle will depend on the specific model you have. Dodge autos, on the other hand, are often advised to utilize ATF+4-designated automatic transmission fluids.

What type of transmission fluid for my Dodge?

You may need to use many types of transmission fluid for your Dodge vehicle based on the Dodge models. However, ATF+4 automatic transmission fluids are generally recommended for Dodge vehicles. You can use Mopar ATF+4, Chrysler ATF +4, Castrol Transmax ATF+4, and Valvoline ATF +4 Full Synthetic automatic transmission fluids for your Dodge vehicle.

What kind of and how much transmission fluid do you need?

Check your car’s owner’s handbook to determine the type of transmission fluid your vehicle requires. It will provide instructions to utilize transmission fluid that adheres to a particular performance standard. How much transmission fluid you require depends on your car. There is no clear upper or lower limit because smaller transmissions may only require 2 quarts of fluid, while larger ones may need up to 17 quarts.

What happens if you put the wrong type of transmission fluid in your car?

If you fill your vehicle with the incorrect transmission fluid, you are going to run into a lot of issues. You will hear strange engine sounds like grinding and clunking while driving. You will see that your vehicle slips out of gear. Also, the gears will not shift, and you will face rough shifting problems. Engine overheating, poor lubrication, and possible transmission failure can be faced by you as well.


It isn’t uncommon for people to use or mix up the incorrect fluids in their vehicles. However, when they do it, the outcomes can vary from annoying to fatal. According to a senior director of Consumer Reports, David Champion,

“Consumers should check their owner’s manual before they top off any fluids under the hood of their car.”

Still, after checking your owner’s manual, if you are unable to understand what type of transmission fluid do I need, then hopefully, now you know. Or probably a complete transmission fluid compatibility chart can help.  Still, if you have any more confusion, please let us know in the comment box.

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