Best Transmission Fluids

Review & Comparison, Last Update October 12, 2020
As independent as automatic transmission units are, they cannot survive without transmission fluids. The best transmission fluids do not just provide long-term friction durability but also improve fuel economy and oil flow. ...Read more ...Read less
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BEST 2020
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Kit Contents
Suitable For
Compatibility
Extras
Warranty
 
PROS
The product features long-life friction modifiers and shear stable viscosity modifiers. The latter work alongside advanced additives, minimizing oil film breakdown and reducing fuel consumption. The fluid protects the CVT unit from shuddering, ensuring great metal-to-metal protection. 
CONS

Not recommended for Hybrid CVT units (Toyota and Ford).

OUR VERDICT

Valvoline CVT Variable Transmission Fluid is compatible with the most advanced belt- and chain-driven CVT units. Using a proprietary base oil blend as well as advanced additives, this product improves the oil flow at low temperatures and film protection at high temperatures.

detailed parameters
Kit Contents

6 x 1-Qt bottles

Suitable For

CVT (Continuously Variable Transmissions)

Compatibility

Select models from Audi, VW, Ford, Subaru, Honda, Nissan, Mitsubishi, BMW Mini Cooper, Hyundai and Kia, Suzuki, Dodge, Jeep, GM Saturn, Mercedes Benz

Extras

Enhanced anti-shudder protection, formulated with premium synthetic base stocks, long-life friction modifiers, special anti-wear additives, and shear stable viscosity modifiers 

Warranty

Amazon's 30-day return policy

PROS

This transmission fluid delivers high-temperature protection, enabling highway driving as much as commuting. Offering unsurpassed oxidation resistance, the product prevents increases in viscosity levels. 

CONS

The bottles are rarely fully filled. 

OUR VERDICT

People driving Ford cars released between 1983 and 1996 as well as those drivers who use General Motors models released before 2005 cannot go wrong with Castrol 03520C TRANSMAX DEX/MERC. Improving friction durability, this product will keep the ride smooth.

detailed parameters
Kit Contents

4-Qt bottle

Suitable For

Automatic Transmissions

Compatibility

Select models from Ford and General Motors 

Extras

Meets both DEXRON®-III and MERCON® requirements 

Warranty

Amazon's 30-day return policy

PROS

The compound's low oxidation rates will let you change the transmission fluid on a less frequent basis. The special ingredients inside the additives that this fluid incorporates will protect the seals and the O-rings. 

CONS

The bottles are a little impractical. 

OUR VERDICT

Honda FBA_08200-9008 is an affordable package that most Honda drivers can benefit from. Meeting the Japanese company's high quality standards, this transmission fluid kit enables equally smooth shifting at low temperatures and high temperatures.

detailed parameters
Kit Contents

4 x 1-Qt bottles

Suitable For

Automatic Transmissions

Compatibility

Select models from Honda

Extras

Protects seals and "O"-rings with special ingredients 

Warranty

Amazon's 30-day return policy

PROS

Painted red, the solution makes leaks a little more noticeable. The mouths and the necks on the bottles are pretty narrow so that you can pour without spilling. Sealed tight, the bottles enable leak-free transportation. 

CONS

12 quarts is seldom necessary. 

OUR VERDICT

Motorcraft MERCON LV Automatic Transmission Fluid provides effective anti-vibration protection, making sure that the transmission unit offers smooth shifting even when the temperature drops below 0 degrees Fahrenheit. 

detailed parameters
Kit Contents

12 x 1-Qt bottles

Suitable For

Automatic Transmissions

Compatibility

Select models from Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury

Extras

Meets MERCON® LV requirements

Warranty

Amazon's 30-day return policy

PROS

The formula brings about excellent friction durability. With this fluid, the viscosity stability of the transmission unit is increased. Elevating its oxidation resistance, the fluid also delivers improved aeration and foam control.

CONS

Sometimes the fluid makes the engine louder. 

OUR VERDICT

ACDelco 10-9395 Dexron VI works not just with new General Motors cars but also with those cars that used previous Dexron transmission fluids. Besides improving fuel economy, this compound will increase the transmission unit's lifespan. 

detailed parameters
Kit Contents

4-Qt bottle

Suitable For

Automatic Transmissions

Compatibility

Select models from General Motors

Extras

Meets both DEXRON®-VI requirements

Warranty

Amazon's 30-day return policy

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Valvoline CVT Full Synthetic Continuously Variable

Reducing Fuel Consumption

Valvoline CVT Variable Transmission Fluid is aimed at the most advanced variable transmissions. Incorporating full-synthetic base stocks as well as advanced additive tech, this product meets CVT transmissions' challenging demands. Aside from premium-base oils, the fluid adopts long-life friction modifiers, anti-wear elements, and shear stable viscosity modifiers, preventing oil film breakdown.

While the additives make decrease the transmission's temperature, reducing the car's fuel consumption, the shear stable viscosity modifiers are helping solve the same problem, making the vehicle more economical in the long run. Likewise, besides protecting the transmission from shuddering, the product offers above-average metal-to-metal protection, aiding long-term heavy-duty use.

Where the compatibility question is concerned, this transmission fluid works with most belt as well as chain-driven CVTs. Plus, it won't void new car warranties. That being said, the product is not great with hybrid CVT units, especially the ones from Toyota and Ford, so we would recommend the people driving these cars to go with a different fluid. Barring these people, Valvoline CVT Variable Transmission Fluid covers 9/10 drivers with belt- and chain-driven continuously variable transmission units.

Review of Valvoline CVT Full Synthetic Continuously Variable Transmission Fluid 1 QT, Case of 6

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    Manufacturer


 

Castrol 03520C TRANSMAX DEX/MERC ATF, 1 Gallon

Reduced Friction

Castrol 03520C TRANSMAX DEX/MERC goes the extra mile that most transmission fluids avoid going. With this one, the best part is improved friction durability, ensuring smooth transmission performance. Adopting the company's Smooth Drive Technology™ that uses active control molecules automatically adjusting the CVT unit's friction level (including changing pressures and speed), the product keeps the ride buttery smooth. Apart from this technology, the fluid brings about high-temperature protection, covering not just commuting but also serious highway driving. Last but not least, this solution provides unsurpassed oxidation resistance, preventing the viscosity levels from increasing.

Of course, the product's not flawless, not quite. First, while the bottles are usually fairly practical, they seldom arrive fully filled, so you don't quite feel like you're getting what you're paying for, not entirely. Also, because the fluid is compatible only with select models from Ford and General Motors (primarily the Ford models that were released between 1983 and 1996 and GM models released before 2005), some people will not be able to use this transmission fluid, which is a shame since it is a lot more advanced than most.

Review of Castrol 03520C TRANSMAX DEX/MERC ATF, 1 Gallon Transmission Fluid

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Honda FBA_08200-9008 08200-9008

Smooth Shifting

Honda FBA_08200-9008 is a genuine Honda transmission fluid that can accommodate most cars from the Japanese company. Needless to say, the product meets the company's quality standards, enabling smooth shifting at low and high temperatures alike. But its most attractive quality is not quite that. No, its most attractive quality is the low oxidation rates that increase the intervals between transmission fluid changes. That being said, the additives that use special ingredients and protect the seals and the O-rings are big-time contributors too, preventing the transmission unit from wearing out before its time.

As you would expect, this automatic transmission fluid fits select models from Honda, so people who drive cars from different companies will have to look elsewhere. But the drivers whose cars are among the ones that are compatible with this product will not regret choosing Honda FBA_08200-9008. Apart from everything we've mentioned above, what separates this kit is how affordable it is. Considering the package, you're paying less than 6$ per bottle, which is pretty good, even though the bottles cap at one quart and are a little impractical, making pouring somewhat inconvenient initially.

Review of Honda FBA_08200-9008 08200-9008 Automatic Transmission Fluid, 4 Pack, 1 US QT

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    Manufacturer


 

Motorcraft MERCON LV

No Leaks

Motorcraft MERCON LV Automatic Transmission Fluid is the least expensive option on this list, packing twelve one-quart bottles. Naturally, 12 quarts is seldom necessary but you can always refill two or even three cars, sharing the kit with a friend or two. Answering the compatibility question, this fluid can accommodate automatic transmission units on select models from Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury. Since this is a genuine product, the compound meets the MERCON® LV requirements.

Setting aside the attractive price, its upsides are limited. Sometimes, the transmission will make shifting between 1st, 2nd, and 3rd gears a little jerky. Sometimes, the unit will feel slippery. Having said that, more often than not, the product delivers smooth shifting, which is more than we can say about generic transmission fluids. What's more, the fluid is painted red, making leaks more noticeable.

But the bottles that arrive with the package are sealed tight, so you don't have to worry about them leaking during transportation. Also, they come equipped with relatively narrow necks and spouts, enabling spill-free pouring and making this kit equally convenient on the road as well as at home where you have more time for careful pouring.

Review of Motorcraft MERCON LV Automatic Transmission Fluid, 12 Quart Case

Additional Info

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ACDelco 10-9395 Dexron VI

Better Oxidation Resistance

Without unnecessary introductions, ACDelco 10-9395 Dexron VI is backward compatible with previous Dexron automatic transmission compounds. As a result, this product can be used with old transmission units that rely upon previous Dexron fluids. Meeting both DEXRON®-VI requirements, the compound offers consistent shifting even when the conditions become extreme. As long as what you're driving lands among the select General Motors cars that this product is compatible with, the benefits that you'll be able to reap are numerous.

First things first, the fluid delivers improved friction durability. Second things second, the product ensures increased viscosity stability. Removing these two from the equation, you'll be offered elevated oxidation resistance, so the transmission fluid change intervals will be stretched out.

Other than that, the compound brings about enhanced aeration and foam control. Owing to these benefits, the fuel economy will be improved and the transmission life will be increased.

The one problem we have with this product is that, sometimes, the transmission unit becomes louder with this fluid, something that most drivers will not even notice but the problem is there nonetheless.

Review of ACDelco 10-9395 Dexron VI Automatic Transmission Fluid, 1 Gallon

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

What Are Transmission Fluids?

As much as some drivers like manual transmission, most stick with automatic transmission units since they're a lot less demanding. That said, from a maintenance perspective, these units require some attention as well. But, when you treat them with the right transmission fluid, they require less maintenance attention. The right fluid can protect the unit from shuddering and guarantee reliable metal-to-metal protection. The most effective products also prevent oil film breakdown at high temperatures and improve the transmission's viscosity stability.

Removing these benefits from the equation, the most important part is the improved oil flow at low temperatures and reduced oil consumption. Protecting the transmission unit from oxidation, the best transmission fluids require less frequent changes. Naturally, the bottles that contain these compounds have to be decent as well, meaning not leaking during transportation and enabling comfortable pouring.

Speaking of fuel economy, these oil filters contribute towards the same cause, so you might want to check them out too, as well as these fuel injector cleaners, fuel stabilizers, and engine degreasers.

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Publish Date: 2020-10-12 12:23:03