The 10 Best Transmission Fluids

Updated May 13, 2018 by Chase Brush

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We spent 28 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. Any sensible vehicle owner knows that keeping their auto topped up with a quality transmission fluid is a must. They will lubricate and control temperatures in this vital mechanical component. But knowing which kind to buy is a task in itself, so we've put together this handy list of the best brands and types out there, from oil-based to synthetics. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best transmission fluid on Amazon.

10. Honda ATF DW1

While aftermarket products may offer added benefits, sometimes it's safer to stick to using the stuff the manufacturer intended, such as this Honda ATF DW1. It's ideal for all automatic transmissions made by the company, including those in popular models, like the CRV.
  • comes in a pack of 6
  • low viscosity formula
  • may not be ideal for other car makes
Brand Honda ATF DW1
Model pending
Weight 11.5 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

9. ACDelco 10-9395 Dexron VI

This ACDelco 10-9395 Dexron VI is recommended for cars and trucks made by General Motors, but should serve any vehicle well that calls for this type of fluid. It comes in a one-gallon jug and, compared to other brands, is pretty affordably priced.
  • genuine oem product
  • best for 2006 gm models or newer
  • doesn't do much for fuel economy
Brand ACDelco
Model 10-9395
Weight 7.5 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

8. Castrol 06812 Transmax High Mileage

Anyone who owns a car with over 75,000 miles should try a few quarts of this Castrol 06812 Transmax High Mileage, which is designed to alleviate the leaks, rough shifts, and other problems experienced by older motors. Added cleaning agents reduce varnish and sludge, too.
  • also comes in quarts
  • exceeds ford and gm requirements
  • not for manual transmissions
Brand Castrol
Model 03518C
Weight 7.7 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

7. Genuine Ford Motorcraft XT-M5-QS

This Genuine Ford Motorcraft XT-M5-QS, from one of the most respected names in American automobiles, is a good choice if you drive any kind of stick shift and are looking to improve performance. Two quarts is all you need to reduce grinding and increase smoothness.
  • popular among mazda miata owners
  • protects syncros and bearings
  • may take a while to soak in
Brand Ford
Model XT-M5-QS
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

6. Mopar ATF+4

Good for Jeeps, Dodges, and anything else factory-filled with this formula, Mopar ATF+4 is a smart replacement choice for when it comes time to change that old fluid. It may not be as cheap as some options, but there's no skimping on quality if you care about your car.
  • over a gallon of liquid
  • measuring window on side of jug
  • cannot be shipped to california
Brand Mopar
Model W0133-1969446-MPR
Weight 9.9 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

5. Red Line 50304 MT-90

Whether you have a manual or transaxle, you should consider Red Line 50304 MT-90 as part of your next fluid replacement plan. Its low sulfur formula is compatible with delicate brass synchronizers, and remains stable at high temperatures for performance applications.
  • good for high and low mileage cars
  • also available in lighter viscosity
  • bottle won't work with screw-on tube
Brand Red Line Oil
Model 50304
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

4. Castrol 03521 Transmax Import

While this Castrol 03521 Transmax Import also exceeds many domestic car makers' performance standards, it's specifically intended to meet those of Japanese automobile manufacturers, such as Honda, Nissan, and Toyota. It's cheaper than what you'd get at the dealership, too.
  • protects against oxidation
  • improves cold weather shifting
  • not for cars that require dexron vi
Brand Castrol
Model 03521
Weight 24.4 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

3. Valvoline MaxLife Multi-Vehicle

If you want to get the absolute most out of your auto, then you're going to need Valvoline MaxLife Multi-Vehicle. It may not be OEM, but this fully-synthetic formula will work just as well -- or better, according to many users -- as the factory-issued stuff.
  • suitable for a wide range of cars
  • reduces wear and tear over time
  • comes in case of 3
Brand Valvoline
Model 773775-3PK
Weight 23.2 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. Royal Purple 06320-6PK Max

High-performing machines require high-performance treatments, and Royal Purple 06320-6PK Max is nothing if not that. It's specially engineered to extend the life of your engine, boasting a low friction coefficient and increased film strength that limits heat and wear.
  • large 5 gallon size available
  • can be mixed with other atfs
  • improves fuel economy
Brand Royal Purple
Model 1320
Weight 11.8 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. Mobil 1 112980 Synthetic

From small and mid-sized cars to big trucks, there are few types of vehicles for which Mobil 1 112980 Synthetic won't noticeably improve performance. It's especially good for cold weather driving, as it provides reliable lubrication down to -54 degrees Celsius.
  • high viscosity index
  • keeps your system clean
  • great for heavy hauling and towing
Brand Mobil 1
Model 112980-UNIT
Weight 1.9 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

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Last updated on May 13, 2018 by Chase Brush

Chase is a freelance journalist with experience working in the areas of politics and public policy. Currently based in Brooklyn, NY, he is also a hopeless itinerant continually awaiting his next Great Escape.

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