Changing your transmission fluid is a quick and easy process that will save you both time and money over taking it to a mechanic. Once you are familiar with the basic process, you should be able to complete the change in 30-45 minutes.
Scroll to the bottom of this post for the Cliff's Notes version.
You will need:
Floor jack and jack stands
I use 4 jack stands in order to keep the car level so that I don't have to lower it and raise it back up to drain. You can use two jack stands to raise only the front, but you'll want to lower the car while it is draining to ensure complete drainage, and again after filling but before replacing the fill bolt to allow the fluid to drain to the proper level.
You will also need the following materials:
and two quarts of your preferred tranny fluid:
Begin by jacking up the front of your car using the central jacking point under the engine compartment. Depending on if you are lowered, whether you have a lip and the profile of your jack, you may need to have your front wheels on 2x4s.
Once your front is jacked up, place jack stands under the front jacking points behind each front tire. While it appears that there are two of these points, use the one furthest from the front wheels as the front points are not meant as jack points and may bend.
Lower the front onto the jack stands and then jack up the rear using the jacking point on the differential. Place jack stands under the jacking points in front of each rear wheel and lower the car onto the jack stands.
Now get under the car on the drivers side and locate the transmission. You should see this (minus the red words! hopefully :D ):
Use a long 17 mm wrench or ratchet with a 17mm socket to remove the fill bolt. Be sure to give the ratchet a sharp tap to loosen the bolt. Slow steady pressure may strip it. If you're using a torque wrench to remove the bolt, be sure to set it to its highest setting.
When you get the fill bolt off be sure the washer came off with it then remove the drain bolt with a ratchet's 3/8" drive. Position the drain pan under the bolt since the transmission will begin draining as soon as the bolt is removed. If you drove your car before starting in order to decrease the viscosity of the fluid, be careful as the fluid will still be hot.
Allow the transmission to drain completely. At this time you can clean off your fill and drain bolts and put the new washers on them. Be sure to position the washers so that the flat side will be towards the transmission.
Once the draining fluid has slowed to a slow drip, I like to put about 5 pumps of the new fluid into the transmission to help rinse out the old fluid. Since you have two quarts of new fluid and the transmission will only hold about 1.6 quarts, don't worry about wasting a little fluid.
After pumping in a little new fluid and allowing it to drain completely, screw the drain plug back in using your torque wrench and tighten to 29 lb-ft. Now pump your new tranny fluid into the case until it begins to run out the hole.
When it starts running out of the hole, use your torque wrench to screw the fill plug in and tighten to 33 lb-ft. Use rags or paper towels to clean up the outside of the case and you're done! Lower your car and hop in. You should be able to feel the transmission shifting more smoothly. Take it for a casual drive to make sure everything works properly. If so, have a cold one and celebrate all the money you saved and rest easy knowing everything was done right.
2 quarts transmission fluid
Fill Bolt -- 17mm, Washer 94109-20000, 33 lb-ft
Drain Bolt -- 3/8" drive, Washer 94109-14000, 29 lb-ft
This post has been edited by kingbriani: 09 February 2008 - 11:26 PM