Automatic transmission fluid (ATF) is a critical component in ensuring the smooth operation of your vehicle’s automatic transmission system. Selecting the right ATF is essential for maintaining the health and longevity of your transmission. With various types of automatic transmission fluid available, understanding the differences and choosing the one that best suits your vehicle’s needs is crucial.
Dexron and Mercon are common automatic transmission fluid specifications developed by General Motors and Ford, respectively. These specifications have evolved over the years, with Dexron now typically labeled as Dexron III or Dexron VI, and Mercon as Mercon V. Both types of ATF are highly versatile and compatible with a wide range of vehicles. They offer good lubrication, friction control, and oxidation resistance.
ATF+4 is a specialized automatic transmission fluid formulated by Mopar for Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep vehicles. It is designed to meet the unique requirements of these brands’ automatic transmissions. ATF+4 provide excellent lubrication and oxidation resistance, making it a suitable choice for these vehicles.
Continuously Variable Transmissions (CVTs) require a specific type of ATF known as CVT fluid. CVTs operate differently from traditional automatic transmissions, using a belt and pulley system instead of gears. CVT fluid is formulated to provide the required friction properties and maintain constant belt tension for smooth operation. Using the wrong type of ATF in a CVT can lead to transmission issues, so it’s vital to use CVT-specific fluid for these vehicles.
Dual-clutch transmission fluid:
Vehicles equipped with dual-clutch transmissions (DCTs) require a specialized dual-clutch transmission fluid. DCTs are unique in that they have two separate clutches for odd and even gears, allowing for quicker and smoother gear changes. DCT fluid is engineered to meet the specific friction and heat control requirements of these transmissions.
Specialty transmission fluids:
Some vehicles, such as those from European manufacturers like BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz, may require specialty transmission fluids. These fluids are designed to meet the precise specifications of these brands and may come with unique additives for enhanced performance. It’s crucial to consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual or contact the manufacturer to determine the correct ATF type.